Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lemon and cherry posset


Serves 6

Lemon posset is a terrific old classic pudding, delightfully tangy and quite rich. It's usually served on its own with some biscuits for scooping and dipping. For a contrast, I've added a cherry layer on the bottom that contrasts well with the tang of the lemon. You could of course use a pre-prepared cherry compote, but try to do this fresh if you can. Layer this up in a large bowl, but they also look great miniaturised in shot glasses.

500g cherries, halved and stones removed
170g caster sugar
2 tblsp Amaretto
500ml double cream
Juice of 2-3 lemons
Grated zest of 2 lemons
100g of dark bitter chocolate
Almond biscuits, or some rosemary shortbread to serve

Set aside a few of the better looking cherries you can find. Halve and stone the rest then tip them into a saucepan. Sprinkle with 25g of the sugar then heat until the sugar begins to dissolve and the cherries start to release their juices. Add the Amaretto and cook for a few minutes more until the liquid has reduced and turned to syrup. Tip into a bowl and leave to cool.

Pour the cream into a small saucepan and add the remaining sugar. Slowly bring to the boil, stirring constantly, to dissolve the sugar. Once it comes to the boil, let the cream simmer for a further 3 minutes, stirring all the time.

Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the juice and zest of 2 lemons, stirring the mixture as you do so. It should start to thicken instantly. Taste the mixture and add a little more lemon juice if it's not tart enough. The posset should be sweet, tangy and creamy. Allow to cool then chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Remove the posset and cherry mixtures from the fridge 15 minutes before you are ready to serve. Divide the cherries between glasses, spooning over any juices that have collected in the bottom of the bowl. Now spoon the posset mixture on top. Finely grate over some chocolate, then balance the reserved cherries on top of each one. Serve with the biscuits on the side.