Watch How to Cook Well with Rory O'Connell at 8:30pm on Tuesday evenings on RTÉ One.
A classic lemon posset or set cream is a simple and lovely thing and my version here with blackberries and sweet geranium leaves is I believe a good and delicious variation on the theme. It is remarkable how easy this is and how without the aid of egg or gelatine, the mixture sets into a tender chilled pudding. I like the possets served straight from the fridge, so nice and chilly.
I often make this during the winter months using wild blackberries that I have frozen in the late summer or early autumn. If you are using frozen berries, use them straight from the freezer. I never cease to be amazed by the value one gets from a few bags of frozen fruit when fresh local fruit is simply not an option due to the seasons.
A little softly whipped cream is the perfect accompaniment along with a fresh organic or crystallised rose petal. The combination of rose and blackberry is a marriage made in heaven and I might be tempted to add a few drops of rose water to the cream when whipping. Be careful though as too much rose water will yield a flavour that is too strong and overpowering. The flavour of the rosewater cream should be akin to catching the scent of a rose while walking about the garden - there but almost illusive.
If you do not have the lemon or rose-scented geranium, you can just leave it out. The fragrant leaves do however bring a magical element to the dish. The plants are easily found at good garden centres and can be treated as a house plant living on a bright window-sill or if the weather is mild where you live, they can spend spring, summer and autumn out of doors in a sheltered sunny spot. I can't imagine not having one of these plants for the ravishing flavour to bring to certain dishes. In fact, it is the sort of magic that one receives from this rather innocuous looking leaf that humbles and mesmerises me and reminds me every time I use it, how astonishing nature is and how fortunate that my career has brought me down this path where I handle these treasures all of the time. Oh, joy.
The possets can be served in little cups or glasses or the prettiest receptacle you like to use. The portions are quite small as this is quite a rich little dish but I always think it is better to be longing for one more spoonful rather than being faced with too much food.
A thin lacy biscuit such as the Nougatine biscuits would also be good here and I might be tempted to add a few drops of rose water to the cream when whipping.
- 400ml cream
- 90g caster sugar
- 5 leaves of rose or lemon scented geranium
- 100g blackberries
- 50ml lemon juice.
- Place the cream, sugar, geranium leaves and blackberries in a small saucepan and bring to a bare simmer.
- Stir the saucepan occasionally to encourage the sugar to dissolve. Maintain that bare simmer for 5 minutes. If the cream boils hard the texture and consistency of the posset will be spoiled.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. You will notice the colour of the cream improving dramatically as soon as the lemon juice goes in.
- Now strain the cream through a sieve to remove the geranium leaves and at the same time push as much of the blackberries through as possible.
- Pour the strained cream into 8 little cups or glasses and allow to cool before placing in the fridge for 3 hours to set.
- The posset will keep perfectly in your fridge for several days. I like to cover them to protect the delicate flavour.
- Serve with a little softly whipped cream and if you have them, a fresh or crystallised rose petal and a nougatine biscuit.