…I have drugg’d their possets
That death and nature do contend about them
Whether they live or die.

-Lady MacBeth, in the Scottish play (fitting, no?)


Dark shortbread cookie and rich eating-posset

Posset is an old British drink of cream curdled with sack (fortified wine) or ale.  Nowadays the term usually refers to sweetened cream curdled so that it sets like a custard.

During the years in which the liquid version was declining in popularity and the solid version was rising, the term “posset” on its own was ambiguous.  Qualifiers were added for clarity, resulting in terms like “rich eating posset.”

Anyways, this is one of the simplest desserts to make.  I often serve it at Burns Suppers with shortbread cookies. The idea is to dip the cookies in the smooth, set cream à la Dunkaroos.

Lemon Posset
from Bon Appétit Magazine, May 2007


  • 2 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice


  1. Combine the sugar and cream in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Simmer for three minutes.
  2. Stir in the lemon and lime juice, then pour the mixture in the serving vessels. Leave to set in the fridge overnight.
  3. Though it is in no way traditional, the surface can be torched in the style of burnt cream or crème brûlée, to make what I call a burnt posset.

Burnt posset and shortbread
Leftovers: Whip It!

Posset is a bit like crème fraîche: it sets up in a custard-like network, but once stirred it reverts to a viscous fluid.

You can whip this viscous fluid as if it were heavy cream.  And it’s amazing: Cool Whip on steroids.  It makes the best berries and cream.

Berries and Cream: saskatoons, raspberries, whipped posset, basil and thyme tips.

"Berries and Cream": saskatoons, raspberries, whipped posset, basil, thyme