Thursday, February 26, 2015

Midweek Roundup: Posset Kingdom

Photograph by Peggy (Faithy)
The Amateur Baker

First of all, let me apologize to everyone who was looking forward to a Quick and Easy recipe.  My only complaint about the recipe was that it wasn't quick.  Then several people, who apparently can read better than I can, pointed out that Rose never said the shortcake was quick and easy--just the variation where you make the posset itself without the shortcake.  And even though the posset takes a bit of time to firm up, who can argue with its simplicity:  a mixture of 3 ingredients, which must be some kind of a record for a RLB recipe.  If I led any of you astray by calling the whole shortcake shebang (like you, Lois, who came home from work and started baking at 5-ish, expecting a dessert at 7-ish), I'm sorry. 

Most people liked the shortcake well enough, but honestly, it was the posset itself that, in Tony's words, was the "star of our show."  Or, as Glori said, "this one tops them all."

Monica, who has been on the opposite of a roll lately, called it a "near perfect dessert," and her husband, for whom it was an anniversary present, loved it too.  Faithy also considered it nearly perfect, with its "bit of sweetness and bit of tartness."  In perhaps the most enthusiastic praise of the week, Kim averred that "lemon posset makes you realize how happy you are to be alive."  Maybe we should start thinking of a perfect day as a lemon posset kind of day.

It reminded Alice of oobleck (but in a good way).  Jen said it was "bright and creamy."  Even Kristina, who magnanimously gave her shortcakes away, managed to scrape out a few bites of leftover posset and pronounced it "delicious."

To Orin, it was a "creamy surprise" and "truly delicious"--"you'll wish you'd doubled the recipe." Which some clever people did.

Patricia, for one, who made just the posset--the Lemon Posset Alma variation (the one that really is quick and easy) and called it "lemon heaven."  Mendy also doubled the recipe (he has a large and happy family to feed, you know), and would have added just a "tad more sugar."  In fact, Joan went one step farther and said "it would be more sensible next time to make a triple recipe of these fantasticated cakes." To my knowledge, no one has yet suggested that we quintuple the recipe, but that could happen.

And not only was the posset delicious to eat, there's something about a posset (maybe just the word itself) that makes it seem special.  First, as Catherine says, it's from "Olde Englande."  Why does the simple act of adding e's to words make them seem prehistoric?  Maybe we should call it "possete," and we'd like it even more.

As Katya says, "Posset is fun."  She actually says more than that:  "Posset is fun.  Posset is all of the medieval children's books I used to read.  Posset is nursery sponge and jam and mysterious things people in books eat that I never really knew were things....   Posset posset posset.  Drink your posset. Posset is fun."  On the other hand, Nicola has always thought of posset as "easily digested food for the elderly and infirm," but ended up thinking the posset was "the best yet."

Most people liked the shortcake (although Nancy and Katya refused to call the sponge cake a shortcake) almost as much as the posset itself.  Michele described it as a "perfect marriage of sponge cake filled with creamy tart lemon filling."  For one thing, it has beurre noisette, which Jen described as "more awesome than butter."  And Katya thinks that brown butter makes everything better.  Vicki described the shortcake as an "upscale Twinkie," and I think she meant that as a compliment.  That's how I took it anyway.

 Even those who loved the cake grumbled a bit about the time-consuming steps.  Raymond thought the "cake base [was] just delightful," but added that "all the glazing and waiting and resting really began to try my patience after a while."  Or, as Nicola said, "I was completely overwhelmed by the faff factor."  That girl has a way with words, doesn't she?  Even if I don't know what half of them mean.  I had to look up "faff," and found out that "all life involves a degree of faff," which is somewhat circuitously described as "the amount of faffing around involved in doing something. Going out to the shops.  Having a shower.  Vacuuming.  Whatever."  Apparently making sponge cakes involves more than the average amount of daily faff.

Although Jenn loved the posset (and the lemon buttercream she made to decorate the shortcakes),  she just wasn't a fan of the shortcakes, and Alice thought the final result wasn't worth the effort. Nancy probably summarized this feeling best:  "While I enjoyed the results, I wish for a less involved route to get there."  Nancy, meet Hanaa, who, at least for this week, was all about shortcuts to shortcake.  She found some leftover lemon muffins in her freezer, and soaked them in still-liquid posset, tres leches style.  Or as she said, "If England and South America got married, and had a baby...."

Let's end this roundup on a celebratory note.  As Kim suggested, a toast to Rose is in order.  "So everyone!  Please!  Raise your glasses to Rose, for without you and your good work, I would never have known such delight."  Cheers!

Next week is a traditional Purim delight:  Hamantaschen.  I had already decided I'd take Rose's suggested easy route and buy already made poppyseed filling.  So far, I can't find it, so I may either use a fruit filling or give up and make my own poppyseeds.  Rose has devised a cookie that's better than any hamantaschen I've eaten from a bakery, and I'm looking forward to these little filled goodies.


  1. Really fun! You're a good writer Marie.

  2. Great write up Marie! I'm looking forward to the hamantaschen. I have never had or heard of it. And really curious how to pronounce it. Is it just as it's written?

    Congrats Faithy for being the featured photo! Your not-short-shortcake is beautiful!

  3. Loved the write-up, Marie. I'm glad most Alpha Bakers enjoyed these. I certainly enjoyed my shortcut dessert :) Peggy's photo is a great pick. I just love the basket weave print and the golden paper cake boards.

  4. Kim,
    There's a good story behind it, and, yes, I think it's pronounced just as it looks.
    Every week I look forward to seeing which picture Jim picks. And I try not to give him any suggestions.

  5. I'm with Jenn - not sure how to pronounce it, but can't wait to try it. Great write up, yet again.

  6. Thank you Jim for featuring my photo. :) I also love reading your summary, Marie. I had to read 10 books yearly and do a review summary for each book during school holidays..and I hated it...and the books had to be from the list given to us (classic books only!). It's really not easy to summarise. That's why every time I read your summary, I always admire how you can summarise so beautifully and effortlessly.

  7. Actually I was wondering since none of Mendy's family featured in the post this week, did he share the cakes? :-)

  8. Beautiful photograph of a perfect Posset on a gorgeous plate, Faithy. Marie, since Twinkies were based on a golden spongecake, I suppose it was inevitable the Posset would seem faintly familiar to someone like me who was only allowed them once in a blue moon as a child. Not so sure the Posset could stand being skewered and deep fat fried at the County Fair, although since I've never had one can't be too sure.

  9. Vicki,
    They were a special treat for me too! I hope the day never comes when one of Rose's sophisticated desserts gets deep-fried and served on a stick.

    1. Marie, if Rose ever come up with a recipe involving deep fried dessert, it will probably be deep fried in beurre noisette!

  10. Hi Marie: Great roundup! Love Faithy's photo too! I am hoping that we will have a lesson on Purim and hamantaschen next week (Mendy, are you reading this?).

  11. A friend of one has made a lemon posset. (although she didn't know it by that name) ice cream.