When catering high-end events in Scotland, a lemon posset with shortbread was often a menu option for events. Clearly people find it delicious, but just as important for catering, it’s effortless to make. It requires minimal preparation for any size party – it can be made ahead of time and it is set in its serving vessel, a lemon posset is quick and easy to prepare, whether for a dinner party for 6 or an event for hundreds. My take on this British classic is dairy free, but remains creamy and luxurious.
If you have never had a lemon posset, think of a rich and creamy lightly set custard, with a zesty lemon flavour which makes it taste feel bright and summery.
Garnished prior to serving, you can choose from variety of toppings to suit your occasion. Fresh fruit (strawberries were always popular in Scotland), for another level of luxury, dot with mini meringues. Topping off with a layer of fruit jelly or edible flowers always adds a festive flourish.
As with so many traditional recipes it’s hard to say which is the best shortbread recipe, the ‘best’ shortbread may simply be the one you grew up with. Although I’m Scottish, I didn’t have my own family recipe, so below is my dairy-free adaptation based on a simple recipe I have used multiple times. I cut it into different shapes – fingers, flowers or rounds – to suit the serving dish. To make your favourite family shortbread recipe vegan, just use a plant-based butter, or if using a margarine, chill in the freezer for 15 minutes before using.
Lemon Posset with Shortbread
Serves 6 – 8 approximately 120 – 150ml per serve
- 600ml soy milk – I use a creamy organic one
- 150g caster sugar
- 90 ml lemon juice and zest
- 1/4 cup cornflour
- 1/2 tsp agar
- 225g plain flour, sifted
- 225g plant-based butter
- 80g caster sugar
- 15g cornflour
Put the cornflour into a pot, add a small amount of the soy milk and mix into a smooth paste. Put on a medium heat, stir as you slowly add the remainder of the soy milk, then add rest of the ingredients. Keep stirring as the mixture thickens. Increase the heat and bring to a boil for a minute, this is to activate the agar.
Remove from the heat and strain into a jug to remove the zest and any lumps. Pour into six glasses or small dessert dishes.
Refrigerate until set, served chilled. The posset can be prepared up to 2 days before serving.
Pre-heat the oven to 140ºC fan forced or 160ºC non-fan forced.
In a food processor, blitz ingredients together until it begins to ball together. Or rub the mixture together to form a crumb texture and form into a ball.
Between two sheets of greaseproof paper or reusable non-stick baking mats, roll or press the mixture until 5mm for cookies or a 1cm slab for fingers or wedges. These can be cut before or after baking, it’s up to you.
Sprinkle lightly with caster sugar and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge or 10 minutes in the freezer before baking.
Baking – some recipes may say “bake till golden”, however I was taught shortbread should be an evenly coloured blonde bake – it’s your choice. Bake for 10 minutes , check and rotate tray if needed and bake a further 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving. Shortbread will store in an airtight container for 5 days.