It's been weeks now, and I am more than weary of winter. Winter, you say? But it's the end of March, spring is official, and the fine pastel hazes of early blossoms are as soft on the eyes as fuzz feels on a peach. So there it is: I want a peach. The peaches, however, are wanting, too. Their recent debut from South America can only be described as ragtag. It's a remarkable feat of nurture versus nature that a fruit can be at once hard and bruised at the same time. The bramble berries, though admirable enough, are at a price which reminds one of extortion. And that tatty storage apple in my crisper can only be salvaged by sticking clove pins in it like a voodoo doll to fashion a pomander. Calling me cranky would be very diplomatic of you. Calling me sour would be complimentary.
I'll accept sour, thank you. You can make that oranges and limes, if you please, although nearly any juicy sacs of citrus will do for this recipe, a gentle and simple pudding of ancient provenance from across the pond, as old as that pomander. At its most modern adaptation, a posset crosses the fragility of panna cotta with the dense creaminess of classic curd, achieved with neither gelatin nor eggs. I've used Minneola orange (actually a tangelo of tangerine-grapefruit breeding) with its spirited undercurrent of unusual and elusive lime essence, topped with a spoonful of real-lime cream. It's just the sort of sweet and easy dessert that can put a sweet and easy smile on even the most stubborn of sour pusses.
Minneola Orange Posset with Lime Whipped Cream - Adapted from the Lime and Lemon Posset recipe by Jill Dupleix on EpicuriousCinzia of Cindystar, hosting Weekend Herb Blogging #276, an event created by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen, now presided over by Haalo of Cook Almost Anything at Least Once.
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cups superfine sugar
6 tablespoons fresh Minneola orange juice, strained of pulp and pits
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir the cream and sugar together with a whisk. (Sugar will dissolve almost instantly.) While continuously stirring, bring mixture to a boil of moderate bubbling. Regulate heat carefully for next 3 minutes, maintain a constant bubbling. Remove from heat. Stir in juice. Cool for 10 minutes. Stir again to dissolve any skin that may have formed on top. Pour into 4 1/2-cup custard cups, champagne glasses, or other serving vessels. Cover loosely with plastic wrapped, avoiding the surface of the mixture. Chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Serve plain or with dollops of lime whipped cream.
Lime Whipped Cream (Generic recipe)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons piping gel (optional, to stabilize and facilitate piping; I used a product with agar gum rather than gelatin, which can be found in the cake-decorating aisle of craft stores)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, strained of pulp
1 fractional drop of green food coloring, enough to coat the end of a toothpick (optional)
With an electric hand or stand mixer, beat cream until thickened, adding the sugar incrementally. Continue beating until cream is stiff. Beat in lime juice and food coloring. Adjust for sweet/sour balance by beating in tiny amounts of extra lime juice or superfine sugar. Dollop or pipe cream onto posset servings.
Been There, Done That ~
Lemon Curd Shortbread
Cardamom Apple Custards
Other People's Eats ~
Mineola Marmalade from An Endless Banquet
Frosted Orange Rolls from Food for a Hungry Soul
Lime and Ginger Posset from The English Kitchen