Recipe: Rosé strawberry possets (2024)

Recipe: Rosé strawberry possets (1)

I consider it a tremendous oversight that possets are not more well-known, as they are decidedly simple and undeniably suited to the summer season. A posset is a set cream, pudding-like and similar to panna cotta, but without the gelatin. Instead, as with syllabub, the cream is firmed by controlled curdling; the result is a dessert that is luxuriously smooth, weighty yet ethereal. It has an ambrosial delicacy and succumbs easily to a spoon.

A posset takes very little effort to make. Heat a citrus sugar syrup in one pot, cream in another, combine the two, and refrigerate. That's it, done and dusted. It can be left unadorned and served with a crisp biscuit for contrast, or as it is here, used as a canvas for summertime fruit. The fruit could be, and should be, whatever is the most tempting and beautiful at the market. It might be a stewed rhubarb, or blueberries cooked with chia into a loose jam. Maybe maple-glazed peaches with toasted pecans. Or, fresh fruit, as it is, gloriously ripe.

For June, I want strawberries, warmed enough to coax their sun-kissed essence to the fore. Roasting strawberries in the oven requires heating up the kitchen, which is rarely my aim these days. Instead, I heat the fruit slowly over the fading coals after the main dish is off the grill, or rustle a low fire for the express purpose of these rousing these beauties. I allow the strawberries to cook as low and slow as possible; this way they are imbued with smoke from the embers, but do not wholly lose their structure. Most days, that takes about 20 minutes. Once the berries are lush, a soaking of rosé syrup glosses them for their presentation atop the possets, and we're ready. Strawberries, wine and cream in sublime partnership.

Two last things to keep in mind. You will need about ¼ cup of lemon juice for the possets to set properly; its acid is essential in thickening the cream. If you're concerned about the juiciness of your fruit, buy an extra lemon and measure the lemon juice before adding to the sugar. And, a word to the wise for planning – the possets will need a good amount of time to set, preferably overnight.

Servings: 4-6


2 lemons

Half an orange

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar

Pinch fine-grained sea salt

2 cups heavy cream

Rosé syrup

¹⁄³ cup superfine sugar, divided

1 vanilla bean

2 cups rosé wine


Zest of half an orange, cut into strips

1 pound strawberries, hulled and cut in halves or quarters, depending on size

A pinch of fine-grained sea salt

To serve

Amaretti biscuits or crushed meringues


Using a rasp or zester, finely zest the rind of the lemons and orange into a bowl. Set aside. In a small, nonreactive saucepan, combine the superfine sugar with the salt, along with the juice of the lemons and orange, making sure to remove any seeds. Stir, then bring the mixture to a boil over low heat, continuing to stir regularly. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and set the syrup aside. Pour the cream into a heavy-bottom saucepan. Scatter in the citrus zest and cook over low heat. Whisk often, bring to a boil, then whisk in the sugar syrup. Remove from the heat and set a sieve over a large bowl or pot. Strain the cream, then divide it between 4 to 6 glasses or ramekins (6 to 8 ounce vessels work well). Cool at room temperature, then cover and transfer to the fridge to set completely for 6 hours or overnight.

While the possets set, make the rosé syrup by pouring half the sugar into a small saucepan, and stir in the rosé. Split the vanilla bean down its length. Use the back of the knife to scrape the seeds into the remaining sugar. Use the back of a spoon to press the sticky seeds into the sugar, so they disperse a little. Cover and set aside. Drop the split pod into the wine mixture. Set the pot over medium heat and simmer, stirring, until syrupy, about 20 minutes. You should have about a ½ cup. Let the syrup cool, then transfer to a container and chill until needed, leaving the pod in the liquid.

To make the strawberries, preheat a barbecue to medium-low heat (around 300 F to 325 F) or preheat the oven to 325 F. In a roasting tin that will fit the strawberries relatively snugly, toss the fruit into the reserved vanilla sugar, then place on the grill (or place in oven, cooking for about 15 minutes depending on the ripeness of the fruit). Cover the grill with its lid and roast the berries until softened. Depending on taste and the berries, this can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. During the last few minutes of cooking, rewarm the rosé syrup in a saucepan.

To serve, pour the warm syrup over the berries, then top the possets with the soused fruit. Serve with amaretti, encouraging guests to crumble them on top of the fruit.

Recipe: Rosé strawberry possets (2024)


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