I am totally smitten with these Pomegranate Possets. Incredibly elegant, they use only 4 ingredients and take just minutes to prepare.
Hard to believe until you try it, but these custards require only heavy cream, sugar, and flavoring.
Posset originated in England in the Middle Ages as a thickened drink to cure colds and fever. Featured in at least three Shakespearean plays (Hamlet, The Merry Wives of Windsor and Macbeth), the posset evolved into custard, traditionally flavored with lemon.
Possets have become all the rage among British chefs in recent days, and they are making their way across the pond too. Most of the versions I found on both sides of the Atlantic, including those on Food52, Cooks Illustrated, and Bon Appetit, stick to traditional citrus flavoring. I can’t remember when I first learned of possets, but I remember being intrigued.
When Susan of The Wimpy Vegetarian announced that our Progressive Eats theme for December would be a Middle Eastern/Moroccan menu, I immediately decided to make single serving possets featuring Middle Eastern flavors. I chose pomegranates and pistachios because they have Middle Eastern roots and go well together.
Pomegranates have a long history in the Middle East. The fruit originated in Persia (now Iran) and the Bible and the Quran both mention pomegranates. Pistachios are also native to the Middle East. The Queen of Sheba supposedly declared pistachios as royal food. If that’s true, I can understand why. They have an exotic taste that elevates Middle Eastern desserts such as baklava and knafeh.
For Pomegranate Possets, pomegranate juice is the flavoring in the silky custard, with pomegranate seeds and chopped, lightly roasted pistachios as a topping. Most possets are only a smooth custard, with a garnish just for color contrast. By contrast, my possets feature the toppings.
My taste testers and I agreed that the concentrated tang of the pomegranate seeds and the crunch of the pistachios truly took these Pomegranate Possets up a notch. The marriage of creamy and crunchy is enchanting.
Pomegranate Possets - Easiest Elegant Custard
- 1 large pomegranate
- 2 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- handful chopped, lightly toasted pistachios
Juicing the pomegranate
See note below for video on how to juice the pomegranate by hand. (No blender or juicer required - just the pomegranate, a fork, and a bowl.) Measure out 1/2 cup and set that juice aside. After you have juiced the pomegranate, open it and reserve a handful of the best looking seeds. Refrigerate them in a closed container to use as topping for the possets just before serving.
Making the possets
Gently bring the heavy cream and sugar to a boil in a heavy, medium-sized pot. Start at a medium low heat, stirring frequently, and raise the stove heat to medium-high, being careful not to let the cream boil over.
Boil the cream and sugar for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. If necessary to prevent the mixture from boiling over, lower the heat. Immediately remove the pot from the heat.
Add the pomegranate juice, stirring until the mixture is just about a uniform color. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
Pour the mixture into six 1/2 cup ramekins and refrigerate them for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Just before serving, add the topping (reserved pomegranate seeds and chopped, lightly toasted pistachios.)
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month we’re sharing a Middle Eastern/Moroccan Menu, and our event is hosted by Susan, who blogs at The Wimpy Vegetarian. We have a full menu of ideas to tempt you into the kitchen and release your inner-Ottolenghi. If you’re looking for something new to try, check out these wonderfully creative dishes!
Progressive Eats Middle Eastern/Moroccan Menu
- Pomegranate Green Tea Mojito from The Redhead Baker
- Hummus Tehina from Food Hunters Guide to Cuisine
- Lamb Chelo Kebab from Spice Roots
- Prawns, Feta, and Tomatoes over Couscous from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Homemade Pita Bread from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Jeweled Persian-Style Rice (Gluten-Free) from The Heritage Cook
- Pomegranate Posset from Mother Would Know
- Moroccan Shortbread Cookies with Cracked Tops (Ghoriba Bahla) from Pastry Chef Online
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, each month the host choses a theme. Members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.
We have a core group of 12 bloggers. However, we always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.
PS – A lovely reader (Juli) just commented that she made the possets with bottled pomegranate juice and used raspberries instead of pomegranate seeds because it was easier to find raspberries. Look how beautiful her dessert turned out. Thanks for the pic Juli.