Adaremanorteastand scaled

Little Sweets, Big Treats!

Adare Manor tea stand

Recipes | By Margaret M. Johnson

As afternoon tea evolves, so do the offerings, especially in the sweets course, generally served from the top tier of a three-tier tea stand. Some of my new-found favorites are pudding-like sweets: a verrine, named for the glass container in which it’s served, and a posset, the name for an old-fashioned drink thickened with gelatin. Very posh, indeed, like this from luxurious Adare Manor in County Limerick. You can find other delicious tiny treats in my new cookbook Teatime in Ireland. For signed copies, visit…SUMMER SPECIAL, Buy One Get One Free

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Makes 8

A “posset” is a creamy old-fashioned drink that’s become quite fashionable as part of a formal afternoon tea service. Pudding-like in texture, it adapts well to any number of flavorings — most often citrus — and chefs generally top it with a fruity jelly or compote and present it in 2-ounce cordial glasses. At Adare Manor, afternoon tea is served in The Gallery, a room with soaring arches and ancient woodwork. Here the lemon posset comes with an exotic topping of sea buckthorn jelly, but a more accessible flavoring is made with orange purée, a delicious condiment made with a whole orange.

For the orange purée

1 large seedless orange

3 cups sugar

3 cups water

For the posset

2 cups heavy (whipping) cream

1/4 cup sugar

Zest and juice from 2 lemons

For the jelly

1 cup orange purée

1/3 cup sugar

1/4-ounce gelatin

1. Make purée. With the tip of a sharp knife, cut 5 to 6 slits in orange skin. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring sugar and water to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to medium-low, add orange, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 hour, or until orange is very tender.

2. Remove from heat and let cool for about 20 minutes. Cut orange in half and then cut into large pieces. Transfer to a food processor or blender with 1 cup of syrup; process for 1 to 2 minutes, or until smooth. Press through a fine mesh strainer, cover, and refrigerate (freeze unused purée).

3. Make posset. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, slowly bring sugar and cream to boil; cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Add juice and zest; return to a medium heat and cook for 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat and fill eight 2-ounce glasses two-thirds full. Let cool for 15 minutes; refrigerate for 8 to 10 hours, or until set.

4. Make jelly. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring orange purée and sugar to a boil; remove from heat and stir in gelatin until dissolved. Spoon a thin layer over possets; return to refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours, or until set.

Margaret Johnson’s “Recipes” page also includes “Ireland Hopping: Adventures in Food, Drink, and Travel.” For further details on her work, or to order a signed copy of her new cookbook “Teatime in Ireland” (Buy One Get One Free SUMMER SPECIAL), visit