Thursday, January 27, 2011

Lime Posset with Lime Confit - Cookbook Challenge 2

The doors are open, and the surfeited grooms
Do mock their charge with snores. I have drugg'd their possets
That death and nature do contend about them,
Whether they live or die.

Macbeth, Act II, Scene ii

Lady Macbeth may have used poisoned possets to drug the guards guarding Duncan's door but this version is only going to win you friends, not do away with them!

'What is a posset?' I hear you ask. In the time of Shakespeare it was a milk drink soured with wine. What we know as posset today is a dessert more akin to syllabub then a curdled or soured milk drink. It is a pudding made of cream and citrus juice, which to acts on the proteins in the cream, causing it to set.

Again this fortnight's theme, citrus, offered endless possibilities and I struggled to settle on a single recipe. I scoured many recipe books until I spied this one for a lime posset with lime confit from
Maggie's Harvest, which in and of itself is a beautiful book to hold and read because of the gorgeous embroidered cover, superb photography and text. I was intrigued - what was a posset? It looked relatively simple and didn't use too many ingredients and it contained lime. Well, anything with lime in it has got to be good in my book, so I enthusiastically decided on the posset!

Recipe: Lime posset with lime confit
Cookbook: Maggie's Harvest (2007)
Author: Maggie Beer

550ml cream (I used whipping cream)
150g castor sugar
Finely chopped rind of 2 limes
1/2 cup (125ml) lime juice, strained

Lime confit:
660g castor sugar
4 ripe limes, scrubbed and thinly sliced

Combine the cream, sugar and lime rind in a saucepan, then bring to the boil over high heat and boil, stirring, for 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool.

Once the cream mixture is cool, whisk in the lime juice to aerate the mixture as much as possible. Continue whipping until the mixture begins to thicken. Pour into six 100ml capacity cups or moulds, then chill in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours or overnight.

Now I have to confess, I made the recipe twice because the first time I over-beat the cream mixture and curdled it! I'm not a fan of whisking, so I decided to beat the mixture using a hand-held beater. Being a little uncertain about how long I should beat the mixture for, and expecting it to whip up to the same consistency as cream, I decided to look for some guidance on the web. As I was beating away at the mixture and tapping away at my iPad trying to get a video to work, I averted my eyes from the cream mixture for 30 seconds...only to look back and see that it had started to curdle. Lesson learnt. I did a bit more research and here are my tips to ensure success:
  • Chill the mixture properly. Once cream has been heated it needs to be completely chilled if it is to whipped successfully.
  • Don't over-beat the mixture. It only needs to be aerated and not whipped! The second time I beat it using the hand-held beaters only until very soft waves could be seen forming behind the beaters. Some recipes don't even whisk or beat the mixture.
  • Plan to make this recipe a day ahead. The you will get a much firmer set by leaving it overnight.
To make the lime confit, preheat the over to 150 degrees celsius. Combine the sugar and 750ml of water in a saucepan to make a sugar syrup, stirring over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the liquid reduces to a syrupy consistency.

You can make the confit with with limes or lemons, just make sure that the lemons are thin skinned (such as Meyer lemons). Maggie Beer recommends using limes that are really ripe with skins that have turned yellow.

Lay the lime slices in a baking dish so they are just overlapping. Pour over the sugar syrup and cover with baking paper, cover with foil. Bake for 1 hour.

Remove the the foil and baking paper and return to the oven until the syrup is reduced and the limes are caramelised; this will take another 30 minutes to 1 hour. Cool and refrigerate.

Serve the lime posset topped with a little of the lime confit. Any leftover lime confit will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 1 month...if it lasts that long! I have to say that I found the lime confit to be absolutely delicious and have been frequently dipping into it. It has the most amazing tang and intensity of flavour that I find absolutely addictive. It's wonderful for drizzling over vanilla ice-cream, a topping just for adults!

You can find out what everyone else is up to this fortnight here .


  1. I love posset. The lime confit looks gorgeous with it too!

  2. I'm a big fan of posset too and often make it with a mixture of citrus (can't been lime though), and yours looks very inviting!