This honey posset recipe is my go to entertaining dessert because they require no special ingredients, can be made ahead and they look so fancy! We won’t tell anyone how insanely simple they are.
Up until about a year ago I had never heard of a posset before. A sweet friend shared her recipe with me as her most made dessert and I was immediately so intrigued…just 4 ingredients and no tempering eggs or messing with gelatin?!
My interest had been thoroughly peaked and I made it that week for a dinner party. I now consider this one of my greatest entertaining skill sets too!
Today I’m sharing with you my favorite version of this dish….lavender honey posset. My guests are always a little thrown off by lavender showing up in their dessert but as soon as they taste it, all things are right again in the world.
The flavors here are delicate, creamy, intricate, refreshingly different to the palate. The dish is thick and custardy but not in the way an egg custard is and nothing like a gelatin based dessert. It’s simplicity is a thing of beauty.
After my mind was blown by this new concept I got curious…why had no one ever heard of this? And I had to geek out on the history. Let’s jump in…
Possets while relatively unheard of in modern history have a long and rich story spanning back generations. Shakespeare spoke of them poetically in several of his stories. But the posset of his day was quite different than what we now associate with this phrase.
That posset was a warm drink….a simple mixture of cream with sugar that was cooked with spices and then had an ample portion of wine added. The wine of choice was called sack which is our modern day sherry wine…a fortified white wine.
Throughout the years the posset recipes have adapted greatly with the times and income levels of it’s creators….being thickened with bread or biscuits, almonds, and some recipes call for eggs to end up with a much more custardy end result. Some of them used ale and bread for a more pudding type consistency.
The drink was both a cure all…a remedy to be taken when a nasty cold affected you, and a celebratory drink most common at weddings.
The mixture was served in posset pots, small cups that look rather like a modern day teapot. From what I can gather from my studies the tradition was that after cooking, the drink was allowed to setup in a warm location to allow 3 distinct layers to form.
An alcoholic base at the bottom, a custardy layer, and a frothy layer on the very top. You would use a spoon to eat the top layers and then drink the wine through the spout in the cup. Read more about the classic posset recipe and check out a picture of the posset pots here.
I don’t know about you but it seems like a perfect thing to make into a christmas tradition! Oh and don’t worry I have been working on tracking down some of these posset pots for a post on this soon!
Today’s modern posset like these honey possets, are a chilled dessert that carries similar qualities. Cream and sugar (honey in this case) are boiled together and then an acid (lemon and lime juice today) is added to slightly curdle the mixture. Pour it into cups and chill overnight.
That is literally it!
You can add spices in the boil or steep flavors in it as it cools. Quite possibly the most versatile recipe ever.
I love having this trick up my sleeve to keep entertaining easy and since Christmas is just a week away now it seems like something we all could use a bit more help with!
Have you ever heard of a posset before? Do you have a family recipe that you can share or story? I would love to hear it!
- 1 quart (4 cups) cream (heavy or regular whipping cream both work)
- ½ cup honey
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- Juice of ½ lime (about 1 tablespoon juice)
- 4-5 lavender sprigs (be sure they are not sprayed with pesticides)
- In a medium saucepan bring cream and honey to boil over medium-high heat. Stir continually until honey is fully combined. Boil for 3 full minutes stirring continually. You may need to lower heat to prevent boiling over. Remove from stovetop.
- All lemon and lime juice and stir.
- Mix in lavender sprigs so they are fully submerged and allow to steep for 10-20 minutes (to intensity of lavender flavor desired).
- Remove sprigs and pour into ramekins. Top with a few tiny flowers.
- Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill, minimum of 2 hours. You can also pop them in the freezer for 30-40 minutes if you are running late and they will be decently set, but I prefer overnight to let the flavors meld.