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Have you ever heard of a posset? Don’t worry, I hadn’t either until I tried one at a recent dinner party. I immediately fell in love with this chilled, British clotted cream and knew that I had to recreate it!
There is a huge Indian community in Britain, so I wanted to add a little South Asian flair to this classic sweet by infusing the cream with fragrant curry leaves. Traditionally, curry leaves are reserved for savory dishes, but the earthy notes of this spectacular herb find perfect balance with sweetness of the cream and sugar in the posset. But why stop there? Since the posset takes such little effort, I top it with a peanut crumble and fried curry leaves to reinforce the coastal flavor.
Now, let’s talk a little science to understand how you can get this consistency without flour, cornstarch or eggs. Heating the cream agitates the liquid and helps the whey protein and casein to stabilize, forming a smooth, creamy consistency. And because cream has a greater fat content than milk, it won’t curdle when introduced to acidic lime juice.
As for the curry leaves, they’re an ingredient you’re going to want to search out at your local Indian grocery store or online. Native to southern India, they have a distinct earthy citrus-like aroma, used to flavor dals, rasams and curries, like pepper chicken and coconut shrimp. For infusing them into this recipe, the best way to bruise them, which refers to simply rubbing them between your palms to release the essential oils. Then, when you fry the leaves, I like to use a slotted spoon and dry the leaves really well which helps to minimize oil splatter. If you can’t get your hands on some, no need to worry, you can swap out any aromatic herb like kaffir lime leaves, fresh bay leaves, rosemary or basil—just don’t try to substitute with curry powder!
- 2 1/ 4 cups heavy cream
- 3/ 4 cup granulated sugar
- 8 fresh curry leaves, bruised
- 5 tablespoons lime juice
- Peanut crumble, recipe below
- Curry leaves, fried, for garnish (optional)
In a medium saucepan, bring cream and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add bruised curry leaves. Steep for 12 minutes.
Remove the curry leaves with a slotted spoon, then return to pot to a boil, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, adjusting heat as needed to prevent boiling over.
Remove from heat, then stir in lime juice and cool for 10 minutes.
Stir again and divide mixture between 4 (8-ounce) small glasses or ramekins. Cover and chill until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.
To serve, scoop 2 tablespoons of crumble onto the posset and garnish with fried curry leaves.
- 1/ 2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
- 1/ 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/ 4 cup light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/ 2 kosher salt
In a food processor, pulse peanuts until coarse. Add to a bowl with the flour, sugar, butter and salt, then rub until all the butter is coated with flour. (It should feel like a streusel topping!)
Add the mixture to a skillet over medium heat and cook without stirring for 4 minutes to begin browning the crumble. Stir, then keep cooking, stirring occasionally until golden brown, about 4 minutes more. Transfer to a sheet pan to cool completely. (It will not be crunchy until it cools.) Make about 1½ cups.