Wednesday 21 April 2010

Elizabeth Moxon's Lemon Posset, but with Hanepoot & Glitter

A generous glug of South African Hanepoot adds sweetness and sunshine to this delicate lemony cream. Hanepoot (pronouned 'ha-nah-poort') is a much-loved sweet wine made from the ancient Muscat d'Alexandrie grape, believed by wine experts to be the one of the oldest genetically unmodified vines still in existence.  You can, of course, use any sweet dessert wine in its place, as long as it's not so old and noble that its perfume overpowers the lemon.

Elizabeth Moxon's Lemon Posset, but with Hanepoot and edible glitter.

I came across this recipe while browsing a cookbook that's become one of my favourites in recent years: Robert Carrier's Entertaining, published in 1977. It's not really old enough to be called a vintage cookbook, but enough years have gone by to make the book seem rather quaint, at least in comparison to the lavishly illustrated, self-congratulatory extravaganzas of the Nigella-Nigel-Jamie era (I'm not knocking these icons, but don't you loathe the way they drool, in print, over their own recipes?).

Still, this is a book worth hunting down, as are all of Carrier's books: it's packed with excellent recipes that deserve to be revisited.

'He was as influential as Elizabeth David or Delia Smith, and some argued that he was the link between them,' was what The Times had to say in his obituary. 'He became the leading populariser of the appeal of good cooking and helped to bring about a domestic revolution in imaginative, adventurous cooking.'

Until I saw this recipe, I hadn't heard of  Elizabeth Moxon - and found no trace online of a biography of this English cookery writer.  I was very pleased, then, to find that her 1764 cookbook, English Housewifry: Exemplified in Above Four Hundred and Fifty Receipts, has been digitised and is available in plain text format at Project Gutenberg, or in its original form at Google Books.

Elizabeth Moxon's Lemon Posset, with Hanepoot
From English Housewifry by Elizabeth Moxen.

Elizabeth's Georgian recipe (which is not, strictly speaking, a posset; it's more like a syllabub) calls for 'a jack' of white wine, and advises that you sweeten the cream with sugar, 'to your taste'.  Robert Carrier calls for dry white wine, and an unspecified amount of icing sugar. I compromised by using half a cup each of hanepoot and  icing sugar. Feel free to adjust these quantities, but take care not to add too much wine - your dessert will become too runny and won't set to a perfect, fluffy cream.

I have frivolously decorated the tops of these creams with edible pink cake glitter, in keeping with the Elizabethan taste for bedecking food with comfits, fruit-paste shapes, spun sugar and all manner of fancies.

Serve this dessert within an hour of making it, or it will separate.

Please note that this recipe contains raw egg white.

Elizabeth Moxon's Lemon Posset, but with Hanepoot & Glitter

300 ml cream
the finely grated zest of a lemon
the juice of a lemon
½ cup (125 ml) icing sugar
½ cup (125 ml) Hanepoot, or any similar sweet white dessert wine
the white of a large egg
finely grated orange zest
edible glitter

Put the cream and lemon zest into a bowl and, using a whisk or an electric beater, whip until the cream is thick and fluffy. Sift the icing sugar over the top of the cream, and then pour in the dessert wine and lemon juice.

Using a spatula or wooden spoon, gently fold the mixture until well combined.  In a separate bowl, whisk the egg white to a soft peak and fold into the lemon cream.

Pile the posset into stemmed glasses (a piping bag is the only way to do this without messing the edges) and top with a little orange zest.  Place in the fridge. Just before serving, sprinkle with glitter. Serve within an hour.

Serves 4

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Adele @ WillworkforBiltong said...

How beautiful. I'm really a sucker for lemon, it's the perfect finish to a rich meal. I'm with you on the Nigel/Nigella/Jamie front. Poor chefs today can't focus on cooking delicious things only, they have to include either sex appeal or rudeness. The joys of appealing to the masses.

Nina Timm said...

Very interesting...I have made a lemon posset before. but my version is just cream sugar and lemon. The cream is brought to boiling point and then the lemon is added and by what my family calls "kitchen chemistry", this puds sets to a delicious lemon-like meringue mousse!

Maryon said...

I love this.....I too have the aforementioned Robert Carrier book, now well thumbed and splotched! I still use some of his recipes to this day....must be an age thing as I was just joining the culinary ranks when it was first published.
I also make one of his Pate or Terrine in the days when FAT was not a dirty word in cookery circles. It still elicits compliments and everyone who tastes it asks for the recipe.

Jacky and Mick said...

Great recipe but I had some left over and put it in the freezer. Can I still use it? Should I rewhip it or addanything. Can you suggest how to reserve this? Thanks