Last weekend, at ‘The Montpelier Basement’ (the Bristol supper club I run with ‘E’), we served one of the best desserts we’ve produced so far, a lemon and rosemary posset with meringue. Not to blow our own trumpet but it really was absolutely frigging phenomenal. The dining room falling totally silent except for contented ummmms and ahhhhhs confirmed it.
We got the overall idea from a dessert we ate recently at a The Chequers pub in Bath. So massive thanks to the chef there for the inspiration.
The dessert is comprised of three elements, a nutty crumble base, creamy rosemary infused lemon posset, all topped off with browned Italian Meringue. We pinched the idea of using rosemary in the posset from Jason Atherton’s ‘Gourmet Food For a Fiver’; the herb works amazingly well with lemon. The hazelnut crumble base recipe is pilfered from ‘The British Larder’.
Rosemary & Lemon Posset – Serves 4-6
The crumble base
100g plain flour
75g unsalted butter at room temperature
25g golden syrup
Pinch of salt
50g dark brown sugar
50g Jumbo or porridge oats
20g chopped hazelnuts
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Place the flour, sugar, golden syrup, salt and soft butter into a mixing bowl, use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture forms coarse breadcrumbs.
Add the oats and chopped hazelnuts, mix and transfer the crumble mixture to the lined baking tray, even out and bake the crumble mixture for 20 minutes, stir it once during the cooking time.
Once cool – break up any extra large chunks and spoon a tablespoon or so into the bottom of each serving glass.
Rosemary infused Posset
400ml Double Cream
100g Caster Sugar
1 Rosemary Sprig, leaves picked and chopped.
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon.
Put the cream, sugar and rosemary into a large saucepan, over a low heat, and slowly bring to the boil. Boil for 3 minutes, then take off the heat and allow to cool.
Add the lemon zest and juice. Whisk well.
Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a jug.
Pour into the serving glasses containing the crumble, and refrigerate for 3 hours until set.
250g Caster Sugar
4 egg whites
In a saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the water over a low heat. Heat to 121c.
Meanwhile, as soon as the temperature reaches 115c start whisking the egg whites with an electric whisk (or in your stand mixer – if you have one) until it forms soft peaks.
Still whisking, pour the sugar syrup heated to 121c onto the egg whites in a thin stream. Continue to whisk until it’s cold. The end result should be very stiff, smooth and satiny.
Pipe some Italian meringue on top of your now set lemon posset. Decorate with whatever fetching meringue shape you feel is appropriate. We went for a ‘freshly pinched’ turd shape in a misguided homage to white dog poo. I’m sure you can do better.
Using a blowtorch, lightly brown the meringue.
And then eat it.
I’d just like to point out two things; that Italian meringue seems to be a bit of a pain in the arse to make without a stand mixer and blowtorching as opposed to grilling meringue is muchos fun.
(Massive thanks to Andrew at ‘Tart’ for digging us out of a meringue shaped hole when we were under the cosh on Friday)