Creamy Lemon Posset

Silky smooth and light as a cloud, Lemon Posset is a fabulous dinner party dessert. Made with just three ingredients, this old-fashioned British sweet and sour treat is sure to please.

Lemon Posset is the perfect dinner party dessert. Light and airy but still deliciously decadent, this old-fashioned British pudding is made with just three ingredients: cream, sugar, and lemon juice.

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity though; this creamy treat is guaranteed to impress.

Lemon Posset in a glass with fresh berries, mint and lemon slices.

What is a posset?

Posset is a classic British dessert that originated in the 15th century as a hot milk drink curdled with ale or wine—sort of like an early version of egg nog.

Fast-forward to the 19th century, and it had been reinvented as a delicious creamy citrus dessert, a little like a softer, lighter panna cotta. According to royal chef Darren McGrady, this creamy delight was a great favourite of the late Queen Elizabeth—a dessert fit for royalty!

Lemons, sugar and cream seen from above on a table.

Ingredients

I adore recipes like Lemon Posset with simple ingredients. To make this dessert, you’ll only need:

  • Cream: There is much discussion about what type of cream is needed for a posset. I use German whipping cream (heavy whipping cream), which has a fat content of around 30%, and it works perfectly. Any cream with 30% or more fat is suitable for posset. Cream with a higher fat content, like British double cream, will set more firmly.
  • Sugar: You’ll need white sugar for this dessert. You can replace 50g of sugar with honey for a flavour twist.
  • Lemon Juice: Lemon juice is the thickening agent that sets the cream’s curds. You’ll need 100ml of fresh lemon juice (approximately three juicy lemons). Don’t use Meyer lemons; they are not acidic enough. Plain supermarket Eureka variety is fine. You can add a little lemon zest from unwaxed, organic lemons if you like, though I don’t find this dessert needs it.
Jay Wadams pouring cream into a saucepan.

Instructions

Lemon Posset couldn’t be easier to make!

  1. First, stir together the cream and sugar over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved (a silicone spatula is ideal for this, as you can be sure the cream won’t catch). Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, then simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove the cream mixture from the heat, stir through the lemon juice, then set aside for 15 minutes to cool.
  3. Strain into a jug, then divide between six serving glasses or small cups. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 48 hours, covering loosely with clingfilm or plastic wrap once the mixture is completely cold.
  4. Serve directly from the fridge, garnished with fresh berries, mint sprigs, or other fresh fruit.
Lemon Posset seen from above.

The complete ingredient list and detailed instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make posset with other juices?

I am so interested in this! The short answer is yes; the long answer is that you have to correct the pH level of the juice to match lemon juice. Otherwise, the cream won’t set. This is possible with citric acid but needs a pH meter. Watch this space! I am experimenting with different citrus as we speak!

Can I freeze lemon posset?

It is possible to freeze lemon posset, but it will likely split when defrosts. Because it is so simple to make, I recommend making it the day or two before you need it.

Can I make dairy-free lemon posset?

I’m going to have to say no here. The way acid reacts with the milk solids in dairy cream forms the creamy texture and the entire basis of this dessert. I am sure there is some solution with silken tofu, but I haven’t experimented yet. If you have, let me know!

Lemon Posset in a wine glass.
A scoop of lemon posset on a plate.
Lemon Posset in a wine glass.

Creamy Lemon Posset

Silky smooth and light as a cloud, Lemon Posset is a fabulous dinner party dessert. Made with just three ingredients, this old-fashioned British sweet and sour treat is sure to please.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Chill Time 4 hours
Serves 6

Ingredients
 

  • 600 ml heavy cream
  • 175 g white sugar
  • 100 ml fresh lemon juice

to serve:

  • fresh raspberries
  • mint sprigs

Instructions
 

  • HEAT CREAM: Combine the cream and the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer, then simmer, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the pan, as the cream can scorch or boil over very quickly. Remove from the heat.
  • ADD LEMON; Pour the lemon juice into the cream and sugar mixture and stir until it is well combined. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool.
  • DIVIDE AND CHILL: Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a jug. Then, divide it between 6 small glasses or small bowls, transfer it to the fridge, and allow it to chill for at least 4 hours.
  • SERVE: Remove from the refrigerator just before serving. Garnish with fresh raspberries and mint leaves.

Notes

Serving suggestions: Posset is a wonderfully elegant dessert that looks beautiful in small glasses. I like collecting old glassware for this, but be mindful that your guests may be rough with their spoons, so don’t use anything too precious or delicate.
Presenting a posset in hollowed-out lemon halves is quite popular, but I prefer how it looks in glass.
Queen Elizabeth II enjoyed posset with amaretti cookies, which is a delicious combination.

Recommended Equipment

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Nutrition

Serving: 1glass | Calories: 458kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 114mg | Sodium: 28mg | Potassium: 114mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 1.48IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Tried this recipe?Leave a review or a star rating and let me know how it was! Use the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram so I can see your delicious creations.
Course | Dessert
Cuisine | British
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Jay Wadams
Jay Wadams

Jay Wadams is a cookbook author, food photographer and Le Cordon Bleu Gastronomy and Nutrition graduate. Based in Italy 🇮🇹 Germany 🇩🇪 and Australia 🇦🇺.

Articles: 340

2 Comments

    • Hi Leslie, oh I am delighted! They are wonderful, aren’t they? So easy and such a lovely texture. I’m so happy you enjoyed them! J.

5 from 1 vote

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