So, back in Canadia, eh?
How’s it feel? Boring. I mean, I when I order train tickets, I won’t get a drop-down menu like this on this side of the pond:
The low after the adventure is always tough, which is why adventurers, once they’ve tasted the excitement of moving around and meeting new people and not knowing where they will be sleeping, continue on, moaning when faced with the reality of having to get a job and an apartment and do laundry instead of wandering the streets clutching a coffee and checking out what happened the night before.
As my apartment is still being fully appreciated by my dear friend C, I am crashing at the parents abode in suburbia before venturing on to the West for the summer.
How’s the job situation looking? DIRE. I’m stressed. I hate not working. I’ve only had a handful of weeks in the past ten years when I haven’t had a job, but always had a job lined up. This is not my cup of tea.
So of course, aside from freaking out a lot, all I can think about is what I COULD be doing, if I had a job.
I learned a bit about English food, I’ll admit. I tried to experience enough of their culinary scene as I could given the circumstances. That often involved taking risks later regretted, but in the grand scheme of things, I’m happy with my decisions.
The Canadian and I were having dinner with our Head Chef the night before he left at the “rival” brasserie in the amazing Plymouth Gin Distillery. The food there is always so-so to good, the service nothing to bark about, but their desserts, though simple and often a bit weird, have always been extremely satisfactory.
That night they had…Lemon Posset. Lemon posset is, essentially, a sweetened cream thickened with the acid in lemon juice. When I first read a recipe for posset (without having seen or eaten it) I gagged a bit. Cheese making is the only area where the idea of curdling cream with an acid doesn’t revolt me. Every time posset came up over the first 8 months of my stay, I wanted to throw up.
So, as is the way things tend to go, I strongly suggested he order the posset and I the creme brulee, since the brulee seemed like a safe bet, but I really wanted to try the posset. He agreed, gave me a bite, I fell in love, and frowned at my overbaked brulee while he gleefully finished the posset. I deserved that.
I put it on the menu a couple months later, but did the lime version I’ve posted here. I had to use up the pistachio biscotti in the freezer left over from Valentine’s day, so I tried a different method of drying it because thin flat biscotti bores me. I served it with homemade limonoceiello granita, sea salt, and pistachios. I would have liked to sprinkle with black sesame, but we didn’t have any.
But there’s more. I did some research into Possets and tried out a more traditional recipe. It used to be a warm, boozy drink akin to Egg Nog, but it tended to separate, the booze on the bottom, then the custard, then the foam, so it was served in a special pot that was just like a tea pot but with handles on either side. You drank the booze from the spout, then ate the rest with a spoon. And obviously, they fed this to children to get them to sleep.
I googled this recipe then proceeded to fuck it up? Yessss…..
400ml cream (I’d say half milk, half cream or 18%, this turned out too fatty it broke)
60g Brown sugar
3 egg yolks
Alright, so I didn’t have Sherry, or Cider which is often used to replace sherry, nor did I have ale or a dry white wine from the Canary Islands (to make a proper Sack Posset), so perhaps I just used all brandy and added a teensy bit of apple cider vinegar to provide the acid to coagulate everything.
Pour the sugar over the eggs from a great height to cause the two to mix well and froth. Let set for 2-3 min before drinking. I have it here pictured in two vessels, a wine glass and a mug designed to protect a man’s moustache when he drinks tea. It seemed like a good alternative. The verdict?
Riiiiiiiight. Maybe I didn’t hold it high enough? Maybe the cream should have cooled a touch before frolicking with the eggs? I don’t know, but both parts were smooth and creamy before they got together, now they are just a boozy, lumpy mess. I will say though, that for the times, I could see this being very popular.
My Tastier, Smoother Lime Posset (I think I adapted this from either Roux or White, can’t remember) – makes 4-6 depending on the serving dish
I used creme brulee ramekins to serve this.
4 limes, zest and juice
.5 gelatine leaf (bloomed — this is not necessary if you have double cream, but it’s not common in Canada so the gelatine will help thicken it without taking the time to reduce it)
Heat the cream and sugar to a boil, add lime juice and zest and continue to simmer 3 minutes. Remove from heat, add gelatine, whisk well, then pass through a sieve. Skim off any bubbles. Pour carefully into serving dishes and chill for 3 hours. Serve cold.
Personally, I would have maybe like a raspberry granita, but that suggestion was shot down. This is awesomely simple and refreshing on it’s own, but could be dressed up with a mango-ginger granita, or raspberries, coconut sorbet with caramelized pineapple and a paper umbrella, an alternative lemon tart, a more natural key-lime pie…..