As I write today’s article, the rain is hammering down from a leaden sky, and Pennine Yorkshire is grey and deflated.

I can’t get out into the garden, and it seems another sofa day beckons. I am, I will admit, in a somewhat gloomy mood.

As spring hits our part of the world, I like to be outside watching everything burst into life. Of late, we’ve had some delightful weather, and I’ve enjoyed sauntering around the herb patch, planning what to cook and write about using my own produce. Everything’s bursting forth, shoots and stems accelerating towards the sunlight.

But today the herbs are almost cringing beneath the deluge of water, and I need to make my own amusement indoors.

So, then, a recipe to bring a little sunshine and magic into the kitchen, and one that requires only a few simple ingredients and very little in the way of preparation. The perfect recipe for cheering oneself up; quick and satisfying. I’ve not made lemon posset in ages, so I think I’ll have a crack at that. And we’ll top it with a few little extras to make each mouthful sparkle and pop with flavour and texture.

I love making honeycomb, so we’ll add a few shards of it to our dish, along with some quick lemon fridge jam and a few tart raspberries. Perfect comfort food, and ideal for rounding off a rich meal, or a nice light salad-y lunch.

Posset is a very old recipe, originating in the 15th century as a cure for all manner of ailments. It started out as a drink.

Milk would be simmered with wine or ale until it curdled slightly, then sipped in the hope it would chase off a cold or settle a bilious belly. I remember that, decades ago, on my first trip to my favourite restaurant in the world, Maison Bras in southern France, we were served little glasses of ‘posset’ with our coffee. Instantly I knew I had to make my own version for the restaurant.

In France, ‘liqueur de lait’ is a similar recipe, involving the slow reducing of rich unpasteurised milk (the skin is skimmed off and used in other dishes chez Bras) which is then whisked with eau-de-vie or Cognac, making a very tasty tipple. It’s very similar to the texture and taste of Bailey’s, without all the junky additives and preservatives.

Clearly, posset soon became popular just as a drink rather than a remedy, and when the importing of citrus fruit began, the setting properties of acidic lemons came to the fore.

Posset, when made with lemon, becomes much more of a dessert than a drink. The citric acid and sugar work on the protein in the cream, emulsifying and strengthening, resulting in a smooth, silky custard-like texture, which is heavenly to taste and feel.

It can be made in a matter of minutes, yet it feels and tastes like a dish you’d spent hours perfecting and testing. Sometimes cooking deals you these great hands!

Once set, your little pots of creamy lemony goodness are ready to garnish as you wish. The world’s your oyster; try adding crunchy granola or smashed biscuits, shaved white chocolate curls, or a dusting of lavender-infused sugar. A hint of basil works beautifully, especially with fresh ripe strawberries, and perhaps even a decadent grind of black pepper.

Perhaps you could bake yourself some langue-de-chat biscuits for dipping and scooping? Up to you – it’s such a versatile and ridiculously easy dish.

Definitely one for the ‘firm favourites’ folder.


850ml double cream

250g unrefined golden caster sugar

The juice of 4 unwaxed lemons

The zest of 2 unwaxed lemons


100g unrefined golden caster sugar

60ml golden syrup

Small splash of white wine vinegar

1 ½tsp bicarbonate of soda

A pinch of Maldon salt


2 lemons

225g unrefined golden caster sugar


2 punnets raspberries

A little caster sugar

Lemon juice


Mint or dessert herbs

A high-sided baking tray or cake tin

Baking parchment


First, make the honeycomb; line the cake tin with the parchment, overlapping two sheets if necessary. You need to have a few inches clearance all round, as the caramel inflates quite dramatically.

Gently heat the sugar, vinegar, salt and golden syrup in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, until the mixture is smooth and melted. Do not stir, just roll the pan gently around the heat to mix the sugar into the liquid as it warms up.

At this point, you should have your waxed paper tin handy, as it all gets a bit quick from now on.

Turn up the heat and allow the mixture to boil for about five minutes until large, glossy bubbles show. Take a wooden spoon and quickly tip in the bicarb. Stir to mix quickly and take the pan off the heat. It will start to inflate rapidly.

Tip it into the tin in one go, using the spoon to swiftly get any excess from the pan, and watch as the caramel continues to rise, then slowly settle and start to set. Allow the honeycomb to cool completely before breaking it up into small pieces.

Store in a dry place, such as a plastic container.

Now to make the lemon fridge jam. Halve and slice the lemons, removing all the pips. Put the slices into a small pan, and add enough boiling water to just cover, then simmer for five minutes. This removes any unwanted bitterness from the pith of the lemon.

Drain the water off, and chop the lemon slices into small pieces. Return to the pan and add the same amount of water, along with the sugar. Bring to a gentle bubble and simmer until the lemon is completely soft.

Transfer to small jar or tub until you’re ready to serve the dish.

To make the lemon posset, bring the cream and caster sugar to a rolling boil in a non-reactive saucepan. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the lemon juice and zest, and mix thoroughly. Pass through a fine sieve into a jug and set aside to cool for five minutes.

Skim off any air bubbles from the surface and pour into four-six serving glasses or ramekins. Transfer to the fridge for at least two hours, or until set.

To prepare the raspberries, place them in a small bowl, reserving just under a quarter. Press these through a fine, non-reactive sieve and gently stir the purée, plus a splash of lemon juice, around the whole berries. Add a little sugar, if the mixture’s too tart for you.

To assemble the dish, spoon a few dabs of the lemon jam on the surface of the posset, along with a few raspberries, some shards of honeycomb and a few small mint leaves.