Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Lemon Posset & Blueberry Compote with Shortbread Fingers

This has to be one of the simplest desserts to make and the combination of lemon and blueberry is sublime! Other soft fruits could be used for the compote and even though I haven’t tried it yet, I think raspberries might be particularly good. The deep pink of a raspberry compote against the pale lemon of the posset would look so elegant.

I have come across recipes for possets which use other citrus fruits. Personally, I think that you need to use a fruit that is quite tart and bitter so in my own mind I have ruled out the use of sweet oranges. However, when available in January and February, Seville oranges could work very well. I have yet to do more experimenting with other citrus fruits, but will report back when I do.

This is the type of dessert that looks like it should be quite complicated to make, but truthfully, it is incredibly simple and it has worked, without fail, every time that I have made it. I love it!

Despite being so simple to make and using very few ingredients, this is a very rich dessert. I caution you to serve small portions. The first time that I made it, I presented it in tumbler-sized glasses. Although delectable, it was too much. Since then I have served it in large shot glasses or have only one-third filled the tumbler-sized glasses.
 
I like to serve this posset with a couple of shortbread biscuits on the side. I really like the marriage of the rich and creamy posset with the crumbly, buttery crunch that the shortbread provides.
 
Possets are desserts steeped in tradition and history. Originally a posset was a beverage made from hot milk and honey to which wine or ale was added. It was very popular in the Middle Ages throughout the British Isles. The dessert evolved over time into the chilled, thickened cream - based dessert that we are familiar with today.
 
Lady Macbeth used a poisoned posset to knock out the guards keeping watch outside Duncan’s quarters in Macbeth but I promise you, if you like lemons and blueberries you will love this dessert.
 

Ingredients:

500ml double cream
150g caster sugar
75ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest of three lemons
Blueberry compote:
250g fresh blueberries
100g caster sugar

Method:

1. Put the cream into a medium sized saucepan. Bring the cream to the boil and then stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar. Bring back to the boil, stirring constantly and allow simmer for two minutes.
2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and pass the cream and lemon mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl and allow to cool for about twenty minutes. Pour evenly into 8-10 small glasses and leave to cool completely.
3. When completely cool, cover and refrigerate until chilled.
Blueberry compote:
4. Place the sugar in a small, heavy based saucepan and heat over a high heat until the sugar begins to melt. Do not allow the sugar to caramelise too much, but once all the sugar has melted add the all the blueberries and mix with a wooden spoon.
5. Reduce the heat under the saucepan and keep stirring. Some of the sugar may seize but as the blueberries release their juices everything will become liquid again. Just keep stirring. After a couple of minutes you will have a lovely rich blueberry compote. Set aside to cool completely. Once cooled, cover and refrigerate.
To serve:
6. Spoon a layer of blueberry compote on top of each lemon posset to cover completely in an even layer.
7. Serve with shortbread biscuits. I made shortbread finger using my basic shortbread recipe rolling out the dough to about half a centimetre thick and cutting into fingers before baking in a preheated oven for approximately 15 minutes.

Serves 8-10.