Lemon Passionfruit Posset

Possets date back to at least the 17th century when they were spiced, milky drinks.  Nowadays the possets we know are a sweetened, set and flavoured cream, served as a dessert.

Lemon posset is one of the easiest and most delicious desserts ever.  It involves nothing more challenging than boiling up double cream and adding lemon juice which miraculously makes the whole thing set.  I first made it on a Betty’s cookery course, but this one by our mate Matthew Benson-Smith, director of the Cooking School at Dean Clough in Halifax (where Mandy and I judge the annual Yorkshire Pudding Challenge)  adds passionfruit puree for a new twist.

So when you are pushed for time and need a quick and easy pudding to impress, give this one a try.

635ml double cream
80ml passion fruit puree
100ml lemon juice
5g lemon zest
100g caster sugar.

Bring the double cream to the boil with the sugar and let it simmer for 4-5 minutes to reduce slightly, then remove from the heat

Stir in the lemon and passion fruit juices and keep stirring until it starts to thicken.

Pour the posset mixture into glasses. it should fil about five, three quarters full. Leave to set in the fridge for at least three hours or overnight.

Yorkshire Pudding

L-R Stephanie Moon, Ben Cox (winner) & Tim Bilton in the 2011 Yorkshire Pudding Challenge

A quart of milk, five eggs and a pinch of salt, beaten into the flour to make a smooth batter. This is Hannah Glasse’s Yorkshire pudding recipe written in 1747.

Remarkable to think that in 265 years of cooking, virtually nothing about the recipe for Yorkshire pudding has changed.

Not that recipe compilers have been deterred from devoting whole collections to the the subject, using up every celebrity variation and inserting such aberrational items as haggis and daffodils.

Hannah Glasse’s recipe in  The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy , published in 1747 is one of the earliest recipes for we have for Yorkshire pudding. A native of Northumberland, she refers to it with such an easy familiarity,  it can only mean Yorkshire pudding was already a standard dish in the kitchens of the north of England. It was probably less well known in the south which is probably why she included it in her book.

In Hannah’s day, the meat would have been roasted on a spit before an open fire, the dripping juices caught in a pan beneath the meat and used to baste the joint. The pudding batter would have been placed in a separate tin beneath the meat and, as it cooked, the mixture would become infused with the rich flavours of the roasting meat as it dripped onto the pudding. It would then have been turned and cooked until the underside was brown and, after being drained of fat, sent hot to the table. Sounds delicious.

Down the years, the spit was replaced by a succession of ranges and ovens, but Yorkshire pudding retained its place on the nation’s dinner table, served not just with roast beef but mutton, rabbit and even game. In many a Yorkshire household where meat was a luxury and nothing could be wasted, Yorkshire pudding was – and still is – served before the meat; the idea being to fill the family up on ‘Yorkshire’ so they would want less of the more costly meat. Leftover batter could be cooked and served as a pudding with raspberry jam, golden syrup or black treacle.

Mutton roasting on one of Ivan Day’s Historic Food Courses

For a taste of Yorkshire pudding with onion gravy, served before the mains, try the King’s Arms at Heath, near Wakefield or  Walmgate Ale House  in York

If you want to learn about historic recipes and Yorkshire pudding cooked beneath the meat as in Hannah Glasse’s day, then you might enrol on one of Ivan Day’s terrific Historic Food Courses. Although they are on hold at the moment we look forward to them returning soon.

In 2011 the Cooking School at Dean Clough in Halifax held the first pro-am Yorkshire Pudding Challenge . Stephanie Moon from Rudding Park, Ben Cox from the Star at Sancton and Tim Bilton of the Spiced Pear at Hepworth took part in the professional class. Ben was declared the winner.  From the amateurs Christopher Blackburn from Copley, near Halifax won for his Yorkshire puds that had bags of taste and texture.

Ben and Mandy were then approached by BBC’s Countryfile to judge a cook-off between Matt Baker and a chap from the Royal College of Chemistry versus Yorkshire farmer’s wife Mary Rook, and presenter Ellie Harrison. The farmer’s wife won of course but you can follow the chemical formula for Yorkshire pudding here along with Ben’s prize winning Yorkshire pudding recipe.



Royal Society of Chemistry Yorkshire Pudding

Matt Baker and Jonathan Edwards with the chemical formula for Yorkshire puddiing

When Mandy and chef Ben Cox were invited to judge a Yorkshire Pudding contest for BBC1’s  Countryfile,   Yorkshire cook Mary Rook and presenter Ellie Harrison were pitched against Matt Baker and Jonathan Edwards of the Royal Society of Chemistry who had worked out the chemical formula for the perfect Yorkshire pudding.

Jonathan’s rose dramatically and Mandy said it tasted  good too, but in the end the judges voted Mary Rook’s the winner, but it was a close call.

If you want the scientifically perfect Yorkshire pudding Jonathan has supplied this recipe.

This has been scaled up to nicely fit a 10″x 8″ tin.


100 g polysaccharide powder, kitchen grade (flour)

1 g sodium chloride, NaCl, table grade (salt)

2 medium eggs

Solution of 100 cm3 reduced-lipid bovine lactate (milk)

50 cm3 H2O (water)


Put flour in a bowl, make a well in the middle, add the egg, stir until the two are combined then start gradually adding the milk and water combining as you go.

Add the liquid until the batter is a smooth and thin consistency.

Stir in half teaspoon of salt and leave to stand for 10 minutes.

Put beef dripping into Yorkshire pudding tins or into one large tin but don’t use too much fat.

Put into hot oven until the fat starts to smoke.

Give the batter a final stir and pour into the tin or tins.

Place in hot oven until well risen – should take 10 to 15 minutes.


Always serve as a separate course before the main meal and use the best gravy made from the juices of the roast joint. Yorkshire housewives served Yorkshire pudding before the meal so that they would eat less of the more expensive main course.
NB: When the batter is made it must not be placed in the fridge but be kept at room temperature.

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