In Merry Olde English days of yore, a posset was a drink made from hot milk laced with ale or wine and spiced. It was popular in the Middle Ages as a remedy for colds and minor ailments and a sleep-aid. In the early 17th century, a drug-laced posset was employed in Shakespeare's Macbeth to knock out the guards outside Duncan's quarters.
Using just three ingredients, it seems almost magical, and sets up almost immediately. The wonder of food science in front of your very eyes makes this a quickest, easiest dessert, like ever. Curdled cream becomes a thickened, creamy dessert; similar to lemon curd or key lime pie.
1 cup heavy cream (whipping cream will work too)
1/3 cup sugar
Juice and zest of one medium lemon
In a small saucepan, heat the cream and add sugar, stirring to dissolve. Bring the cream to a low boil and continue to boil for 5 minutes (give or take). Watch the heat very carefully and don’t let the cream boil over.
Remove the cream mixture from the heat and stir in lemon juice and zest. Let the posset cool for about 10 minutes before pouring into ramekins. This custard is very rich, so I recommend using smaller dishes. I used these proportions (which makes two nice servings) because I only had 1 cup of cream leftover from another recipe, but this formula can be very easily doubled, tripled, etc.
Refrigerate until set. Depending on how thick you want the pudding, it may take up to 2 hours. Top with a sparse grating of nutmeg (sounds a bit odd, but it’s quite a good match). It is traditional to serve with shortbread cookies, but sadly there were none in the pantry.