Happy Independence Day! I hope you had a wonderful celebration! I really had full intention of making a Red White & Blue 4th of July dessert (I usually make these Mixed Berry Shortcakes every year) but in typical ADD fashion, I appropriated the strawberries for something else! These No Bake Lemon Custard “Possets”. I’m so glad I did because these truly are one of the best things I’ve ever tasted!
They were well worth the “sacrifice” of those gorgeous strawberries. Think about this ridiculously quick and easy recipe anytime you have berries, of any sort, throughout the summer. I can’t think of a berry that wouldn’t be wonderful with this lemony pudding-like concoction. For that matter, this would be good with just about any type of summer fruit.
About No Bake Lemon Custard “Possets”:
This is really an English dessert, a posset, and the terms custard and pudding come close to describing it but as fabulous as they are, neither can be compared to this dessert. Think of something cold and silky, smooth. Something light and ethereal, the fresh taste as fleeting as a first kiss. And then, transpose a creamy, lemony taste over the top and finish off that taste sensation with the floral loveliness of lightly sugared strawberries.
When you look up the word “posset” you really don’t get an indication of the true deliciousness – posset is described as curdled cream and a “cold set” dessert. When I think of posset, I think of stone cottages with thatched roofs, a tangle of a garden. White curtains gently blowing in the window, and on a tray, on the old scrubbed table, are the little stoneware bowls of posset. And maybe old Bessie, tied out back, gives a gentle moo now and then! And then the fairies (hey, it’s my daydream) are dancing in the glen beyond, in the sun-dappled depths.
After I made the possets, I read several reviews on posset recipes (including the one on the New York Times site that I’ve used) and suggestions that it be served in a fancy glass, maybe a martini glass. So whether you make No Bake Lemon Curd Possets as a casual dessert or the spectacular ending for a dinner party, you can’t go wrong.
In Other News:
After posting about my ongoing garden work, despite the rain we’ve had and the hot hot humid weather, I did manage to plant my herb garden and even put in a couple of tomato plants. I think I shamed myself with the photos of my work in progress I put on my Knorr’s Spinach Dip post!
I know I’ve complained about my perennial garden that was decimated by the hoards of squirrels, rabbits, and chipmunks. My neighbor, Karen, has given me several plants and towards the back of the garden, I’ve “helped along” some volunteer phlox, so the garden isn’t completely barren.
Here are some plants doing well (only a few plants survived) a brand new Asian pear given away by the city during Arbor Day. Check out the little baby pears! The pink rose had to be cut to the ground but it seems no permanent harm done. The last lily hold out; one remains of 17. And look, there’s one of the culprits!
Making No Bake Lemon Custard “Possets”:
This is an incredibly simple recipe with a short ingredient list and takes only minutes to make.
I recommend using a pan quite a bit bigger than needed anytime you’re simmering cream, just in case of a boilover. Watch it carefully and aim for a good simmer, not an out and out boil. Stir often and watch the time to help determine how thick it should be. I removed mine when a finger drawn across the back of a spoon dipped in the mixture left a very distinct line and it seemed to be about the texture of cooked pudding when it’s warm.
It’s best to refrigerate for a good three hours, even though it might look like the set is good before then.
Saving Money on No Bake Lemon Custard “Possets”:
It’s gotten to the point where I never buy cream at the grocery store any longer unless it’s on a deep sale, usually around holidays. Aldi always has a great price on a pint package and Costco has great prices on quarts.
In my area, the sales price of strawberries is usually half the regular price, so my use of them revolves around the sales. Again, Aldi has great prices on strawberries. Strawberries will never ripen more once they’re picked. What you see is what you get. Make sure to turn the package upside down and look at the bottom to make sure there are no strawberries crushed or molding.
Lemons have been getting pricier. Aldi carries them in the bag, usually, about five or six and their prices are reasonable. Make sure they’re sound. When choosing lemons, color variations don’t matter; choose the heaviest for their size and they’ll be the juiciest.
No Bake Lemon Custard Possets
Note:: The servings are small. Six ounce ramekins will give room at the top for the strawberries.
FOR THE CUSTARDS:
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from 1 to 2 lemons)
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 to 3 lemons)
In a medium saucepan, combine cream, sugar, lemon zest and salt over medium-high heat. Bring to simmer, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar. Simmer vigorously until mixture thickens slightly, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Let sit until mixture has cooled slightly and a skin forms on top, about 20 minutes.
Stir mixture, then strain through fine-mesh strainer into a measuring cup with a spout; discard zest. Pour mixture evenly into four 6-ounce ramekins, small bowls or glasses.
Refrigerate, uncovered, until set, at least 3 hours.
FOR THE STRAWBERRIES:
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 1 to 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- Freshly ground black pepper, for serving (optional)
As the custards chill, prepare the strawberry topping: Toss strawberries and sugar in a small mixing bowl. Let fruit macerate at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until the sugar is dissolved.
To serve, top each lemon custard with some strawberry topping and grind black pepper on top.