January 7, 2015 by Smock Alley
Working in an historic building such as Smock Alley allows you the opportunity to feel connected to the past life of Dublin. We are lucky enough to have a very rich archival and anecdotal evidence of the past life of Smock Alley to draw upon. Among the physical material found during excavations were many oyster shells, a popular theatre snack in days gone by, and stories of Orange sellers are to be found in the history also. Food has always been linked to our theatre and continues to be.
A dessert that we now serve during summer, a lemon posset, has its roots all the way back to the 14th Century when it was used as a medicinal cure. This original mix of cream, spices and wine became more refined in the 17th century to resemble the modern posset dessert.
A recipe from 1654 uses spices, eggs, cream and lemons to produce something that is very little unchanged in contemporary recipes, essentially the same but omitting the eggs. Cream is lightly boiled with sugar, spices and lemon and left to cool and set.
We simplify it even further in Smock by lightly whipping 500 ml of cream, 200g of caster sugar until slightly thickened, then add the juice and zest of 2-3 lemons (depending on how lemony you want the posset) and continue to whip until soft peaks are formed. Transfer the cream mixture to serving glasses and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. These possets are delicious served with gingerstem biscuits, amaretti cookies or raspberries! Perfect for a simple modern summer dessert, while having its roots in the mid sixteenth century when our theatre was first opening.