Lemon Posset Shortcakes

Reading this recipe I was completely overwhelmed by the faff factor.  Five pages of instructions for six cakes - are you freaking kidding me?  Six teeny tiny cakes with four component parts - seriously?  Beurre noisette - as well?  Life is too short.  Especially on a Sunday morning.

But I took a deep breath and decided that Sunday lunch needed *something* lemony to cut through the aftermath of roasted pork belly.  And I also wanted to test if my oft moved Wondra flour really was best before 27 January 2011.  Ha.  My flour is older than my youngest boys.  By a comfortable margin.

So come Sunday morning I set out on the marathon of the Lemon Posset Shortcakes.  But it wasn't a marathon.  Even with the beurre noisette, it was a no more than a shortish jog around the block.  The individual shortcakes are essentially a genoise sponge.  This just means that there is no chemical leavening from baking powder or bicarbonate of soda.  The fluffy texture comes from beating the warmed eggs for five minutes or so until they quadruple in volume.  I went with time because I am not good at measuring increases in volume in an graduated bowl.

Browned Butter - beurre noisette for the fancy amongst us
Quadrupled slightly warmed whipped eggs
A portion of the egg emulsified with the browned butter

The final mix delicately folded by a grown up

Then so long as you gently fold everything in, and you let the ages old Wondra flour work its magic you and you cook it for the right length of time and you have sufficiently greased the texas muffin tin, you will most likely end up with a delicate mouthful of browned butter amazingness.  This is definitely for the light of touch - I had to keep telling the ever keen and ever helpful Patrick that this was a cake that could only be made by grown ups.  Patrick was quite pleased that he was too strong and powerful to mix these delicate little cakes.

Rose warns not to open the oven before the minimum time lest the cakes sink.  Mine were cooked at the 15 minute mark - not pulling away from the sides, but most definitely cooked.  I think I will try 13 minutes next time.

I baked these in a texas muffin pan.  There were a few tense moments trying to set them free.  Line pan with paper!  Once released they were brushed with a lemon syrup.  Because I didn't have the fancy shortcake pan, I had to carve out an indentation to hold the lemon posset.  The carving resulted in three tiny sponge sandwiches which Patrick happily had me share these two with his brothers.  He is a clever little cookie, because when I returned to the kitchen he had moved his chair in front of the cakes and was sampling the full article.  As well he is cute.
Patrick with the mini victoria sponges - genoise indentations

Patrick's further sampling
Wondra can safely extend their recommended shelf life

Lemon posset - in my mind, posset was filed under easily digestible food for the elderly and infirm.  I think this was completely misfiled - and my mind is usually a steel trap of efficiency!  And it should definitely not just be the preserve of the elderly and infirm.  Actually it probably shouldn't be eaten by the infirm - all that cream?  Rose's lemon posset is three ingredients: cream, sugar and meyer lemon juice.  Meyer lemons are clearly stocked beside the unblanched sliced almonds, so hence I just used the juice of a lemon and a half and a clementine/satsuma/mandarin - that is, an indeterminable easily peeled citrus.  Perfect - but I would highly recommend straining it (just as I now reread the recipe and Rose is way ahead of me and recommended the same - huh, the things you learn when reading the recipe).

Rose's posset recipe was to melt the sugar and lemon juice together until near boiling point and then in another saucepan to scald the cream.  Then the cream is stirred into the sugar/lemon juice.  Which is fine.  Except I was busy faffing about trying to work out if I was making a double batch or a single batch.  And before I knew it my subconscious had measured a double amount of sugar into a single batch of cream.  And right when I reread the recipe to work out what double the cream was I worked out I had invented a new posset method.  So the new tested method is as follows:
  1. Bring the cream and the sugar to scalding point (small bubbles around the edges, faint steam)
  2. Stir until the sugar dissolves whilst keeping it at scalding point
  3. Step away to have a Skype conversation with your Mum for about ten minutes before remembering about it.  
  4. Swear and run back into the kitchen
  5. Sieve it
  6. Stir in the lemon/citrus juice (but remember to sieve that too).
  7. Pour into a shallow pie dish
  8. Put it into the fridge for about four hours
  9. Hope for the best
  10. Catalogue stuff up as an another Um moment for future defence if required.

The posset was perfect.  Mine had the same consistency all the way through.  Which was great as I had plenty left over...

No Um defence was required because these little cakes were absolutely perfect.  From last weeks "not one of your better cakes" to this weeks "the best yet", you are clearly only as good as your last bake.  We did have different taste testers this week, ones who haven't eaten nearly so much cake, and they were probably both on their best behaviour.  But Chris ate one as well as Isaac and Patrick finished off his partly consumed cake and all three gave it the double thumbs up and they were most definitely not on their best behaviour.  Thomas was on a hunger strike because lunch wasn't sausage/chips/broccoli so he missed out completely.
Isaac couldn't get the cake in his mouth fast enough
The saddest thing about these cakes is that I didn't make a double batch. They were amazing.  And definitely worth the faff (albeit not that much faff was actually undertaken).  The Lemon Posset is amazing and it can be served without the cake in a little pot with a little spoon (or in a massive pie dish with a huge spoon - the latter option is my preferred serving recommendation) and you don't need to be elderly or infirm.  Given it is two thirds cream, I would definitely recommend you have full gall bladder function.

No idea what is up next week.  I know it is Hamantaschen but I have no idea what these are.  No pictures, so I know my interpretation of these will be perfect!


  1. I just love The Faff Factor! Your young Patrick's sampling cracked me up. All's well that ends well by the look of your Possets. Turned out quite nice. If I'm reading the Hamantaschen correctly, and that's a BIG if, they are mixed in with the picture on page 380, the triangle ones. This should be an adventure.

  2. Vicki,yep your right the hamentaschen are the triangle shaped cookies...

    nicola, It took me two days to make these delicious cakes, and mountain of dishes later on but, after all that done, sitting and having my first bite to it, made it all worth it:-)

  3. I was kicking myself as well for not making a double batch... but I made some extra posset tonight to eat tomorrow. for an extra special anniversary present to my husband. *win*... and I have to fess up, I also did the posset like you.. cream, sugar first then added the lemon.. YIKES! but apparently it worked out just as well. Hamantaschen.. Cookies!

  4. Isaac is so cute! LOL! Your kids have sophisticated tastebuds! Usually I would have thought children' won't like lemons..but maybe I'm wrong. :) The weather over there must be cooling most of the time to be able to extend the shelf life of wondra flour! :D

  5. Maybe Rose should add 'grownup' to the cake specifications. I love Patrick's opportunism and Isaac's protest - it's all happening at your house!

  6. your boys are hilarious! i also love the faff factor. i think you should devise a rating system for faff per recipe. so glad we don't need to be aged or infirm to enjoy this posset.

  7. Nicola, I appreciate your humour. Your post was fun to read. "Hoping for the best," is an integral part baking process. This is what we all do a lot of--hope for the best! PS: I really liked your son Patrick's Skeletor shirt.

  8. I have no gall bladder and happily lapped up the posset, so I can report that the elderly and infirm, even those missing a gall bladder, can eat these without ill effect.

  9. Faff! It's such a great word. I agree with ECL - :).

    Patricia @ ButterYum

  10. After you mentioned about my pear jelly having quince..I went to google "Coing" french and it is Quince!!! Not Pear as I thought..since I only looked at the photos which resembled pears..LOL! So what i used was quince jelly.

  11. ב''ה

    Great post. Good looking cakes. "Too strong to mix the delicate cakes." I've got to remember that one...


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