Years ago, when I lived in St. Louis, I belonged to a mom's group of women who'd had babies at roughly the same time. In that group I met a woman who remains a close friend today and who turned me on to the best cookbooks I've ever read: The Best American Series.
Readers, they're fabulous.
After years of searching for and using recipes online, I've been going back to these books and exploring them again. I'd say 90% of my tried-and-true recipes come from these books, and I've used one in particular so often, the pages are falling out. My kids always reach for these books (and Dorie Greenspan's baking bible) when they want to prepare something from our family repertoire.
To that end, we've been eating a mess of posset over here for the past few weeks.
I wasn't sure what that was when I first saw the recipe for Lemon Posset in The 150 Best American Recipes. I thought, however, that it sounded charming somehow, and since the ingredient list was short and the directions straight-forward, I purchased the heavy whipping cream and lemons and gave it a try.
My kids were around 5 and 3 years old, and they loved it. Loved it. My husband loved it, too. I gave the recipe to a few friends, and everyone raved. Then, as it tends to happen, I sort of forgot posset. We moved a few more times, and in those moves we discovered ice cream parlors as favored local haunts, and then Smitten Kitchen's Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats came into our existence, and we had officially moved on from our beloved posset.
Then, a few weeks ago, I saw posset show up on Food 52, a lime version. I quickly clicked on that and was inspired but cautious. Cautious? Yes, cautious. I'd just tried (and spent good money on ingredients) Food 52s Maria Speck's Greek Yogurt Chocolate Mousse.
Not one person in my house would eat it, including myself, and we all love dark chocolate. I even bought the marmalade to put on top. In the end, the texture was off and it was hardly sweet at all. At all. We like some sweetness to our dessert around here. Perhaps our palates simply aren't refined enough for greek yogurt infused with dark chocolate, but it was a complete fail.
So, it was with hesitation that I tried the Lime Posset with Graham Cracker Streusel.
Thank goodness I did. We now love lime posset even more than lemon posset. We've had it twice now, and I'll say this: it's light and fresh without being cloying. The lime juice cuts the sweetness of the posset, which would otherwise be too sweet, and the citrus somehow makes it feel crisp without being tart. It's basically a key lime pie in a little cup with streusel crumbled on top (I didn't follow the recipe on this), and it's been our post-dinner treat for a week now.
I'll post the recipe as I use it, which is a mix of the recipe from 150 Best American Recipes and Food 52's recipe.
Lime Posset with Graham Cracker Streusel (adapted from Food 52's recipe)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
5 tbsp. lime juice (about 3 large limes)
7 graham crackers (I used plain honey ones)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 1/2 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed
Directions (mine are different than either recipe):
Put the heavy cream and sugar into a pot on the stove and bring to a boil, turn down and simmer until it coats the back of a wooden spoon, stirring constantly. This takes a while. The recipes both say about 5 minutes. I'm not sure where that comes from. Mine takes about 30 minutes. I tried it once with the 5 minute approach and the posset was drippy. So, just simmer away until you can run your finger down the back of the wooden spoon and the cream is thick enough to make a mark where your finger was. Precise, I know.
Then, turn off the heat and add the lime juice. Stir that in and let it sit for a minute.
During all that simmer, you should have assembled the streusel. Just bung all that together in a food processor and pulse until it looks like key lime pie crust. Then put some foil on a baking sheet and crumble the streusel on top of that and bake it at 325 for about 20 minutes. Remove and let it cool. You'll have a crumble that I use as a topping rather than pressing into the bottom of the ramekins.
Speaking of ramekins, pour your lime posset into 6 ramekins and put those all on another cookie sheet and pop them into the fridge.
When it's time to serve (at least 4 hours later for setting purposes), crumble the streusel on top or serve it with freshly cut berries. I go for the berries, as I don't eat gluten. The family goes for the streusel.
I know you're wondering if I've turned down scads of jobs as a recipe writer.
I have not.
Check out the real recipe for things like a pinch of salt and lime zest, both of which I forgot.
But whatever you do, try posset. It's the loveliest summer treat we've had in years.
Here are a few other recipes you might peruse if you consider making some posset:
Lime/Lemon Posset at Epicurious, which gets 4/4 stars and 100% of people would make it again
Lemon Posset from America's Test Kitchen is almost exactly the same recipe as the one I found in 150 Best American Recipes. Classic.
Introducing Lemon Posset from Cook's Illustrated gives you all the details and in-depth knowledge I've omitted here. I loved this article.
Here is an image from that article, which I love - a sketch, so charming:
That's it for me today. Both kids are at all-day camps, so I'm meeting a friend for lunch. Other than that, I've got the usual: chores, writing and a workout.