Is there a simpler pudding in the lexicon than posset? Just three ingredients – lemon, sugar and double cream. Just one short cooking process – bringing the cream to boil. Then all you do is add the sugar – 150g to every 500ml of double cream – and the citrus juice – from three lemons – plus their grated rind, if you have a mind to and if you like the oily ring citrus essence brings to anything, decant into individual serving pots or a bowl, and leave in the fridge to set. And that’s it. And what you get is a pudding that drifts over the tongue, soothing, velvety, a duvet of sensation, carrying the clean, clear, frosty sharpness of lemon.
I had forgotten just how delicious a well-made posset could be until the other day. It came up as the final glory of a very fine dinner celebrating my mother’s 96th birthday. While her movements may be constrained, her mind is as acute as ever, and she has always cast and exceptionally clear eye on the world, and on the shortcomings of her children in particular. Her grandchildren she treats with genial tolerance. Age does not seem to have diminished her appreciation of food and drink, either. She downed a couple of pieces of toast spread liberally with pate de foie, a decent helping of venison stew and a small lemon posset. Oh, and two or three glasses of wine. An example to us all. Heaven knows what they made them of 90 odd years ago, but it should be patented.