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Grapefruit Posset For One

A light and fresh-tasting grapefruit posset made with cream and grapefruit juice is a wonderfully refreshing dessert that is very easy to make.

a pudding topped with a grapefruit segment in a clear dessert bowl

A posset is a dessert similar to a custard and made without any eggs. It is an English dessert dating back to the medieval times. It comes together as if by magic without the use of eggs, gelatin, flour, or cornstarch.

It's incredible to see how a posset can thicken so easily. When you add an acid (citrus juice) to milk it causes the milk to sour or curdle (as it would when making paneer), but when you add an acid to cream, the effect is entirely different. Because cream has more fat and less water than milk, the texture becomes smooth and creamy.

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In the case of this grapefruit posset, the cream and sugar are heated together then combined with grapefruit juice, a touch of vanilla, and a little grapefruit zest. This is when the magic happens and the sweetened liquid mysteriously turns into a soft, creamy, delicate custard.

Why This Recipe Works

  • A posset is a the easiest pudding to make. You just need to simmer cream and sugar, add citrus juice, then chill. That's it!
  • The sweet flavor in this grapefruit posset is perfectly balanced by the tart grapefruit. It's so incredibly delicious!
  • This single serving dessert recipe yields one perfect posset.

Ingredients

cream, half of a grapefruit, vanilla, and sugar on a white tray sitting on a brown granite kitchen counter.

Ingredient Notes

See recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  • Heavy cream: Use heavy cream (double cream) or heavy whipping cream in this grapefruit posset recipe. Lower fat milks will not work.
  • Sugar: A small amount of granulated sugar adds the perfect amount of sweetness.
  • Grapefruit juice: Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice is best, but you can use bottled juice if necessary. See below for ways to use leftover juice and other ingredients.
  • Grapefruit zest: A small amount of grapefruit zest intensifies the grapefruit flavor. This ingredient is optional but recommended.
  • Vanilla: For flavor.

How To Make This Recipe

  • Heat the cream and the sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Slowly bring to a vigorous simmer, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Continue to simmer 8-12 minutes.
cream being stirred with a green spoon in a small silver pot
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grapefruit juice, vanilla, and the grapefruit zest. Let the mixture steep for 5 minutes. 
stirring a custard in a small silver saucepan next to a jar of vanilla extract.
  • Pour into a an 8-ounce ramekin or other dessert dish. Cover and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 3-4 hours.
a citrus posset in a small glass dessert bowl resting on a counter next to a silver saucepan

Expert Tips

  • Even though a posset requires just a few simple ingredients and is very easy to make, it is important that you follow the instructions carefully. The cream and sugar needs to simmer vigorously but be extra careful that the mixture does not boil. At a vigorous and rapid simmer, you will see a lot of movement in the cream. You will notice wisps of steam and quite a few bubbles but the bubbles will be small. Make sure the posset simmers like I have described. You do not want the cream to come up to a rolling boil which will look like bigger bubbles and lots of activity in the pot.
  • You can make a posset ahead of time. In fact, it should be refrigerated for 3 hours to set before eating. The posset will keep well for 2 days in the refrigerator.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use A Lower Fat Cream Or Milk?

No, you can't. They don't have enough fat to react with the acid to thicken this dessert.

Can I Reduce The Amount Of Sugar Used?

I do not recommend reducing the sugar. Sugar does more than sweeten this dessert. It also helps to create a lovely silky texture and balances the tart flavor from the grapefruit juice.

Why Didn't My Posset Set?

If you follow the directions in the recipe, your posset should set up perfectly. If if doesn't, the mixture probably didn't simmer long enough. You will notice as the cream and sugar simmer, the mixture slowly thickens and reduces slightly. After pouring the posset into a dessert dish, refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

What Is The Difference Between A Posset and A Panna Cotta?

The difference between a panna cotta and a posset is that a panna cotta uses gelatin, and a posset relies on the acid found in the citrus to help it set. You might like to try our panna cotta recipe.

Can I Use A Different Citrus?

Absolutely! You might like to try our Lemon Posset or our Lime Posset recipes.

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients left over from this grapefruit posset recipe, you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

a spoonful of posset next to an orange napkin and a yellow sunflower.

If you’ve tried this grapefruit posset or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

If you take a picture please tag us on Instagram (@onedishkitchen) we’d love to see!

a pudding in a small clear glass topped with a grapefruit segment

Grapefruit Posset For One

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Chill: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keywords: custard, grapefruit, posset, pudding
Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 918kcal
Author: Joanie Zisk

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons grapefruit juice
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon grapefruit zest (optional)

Instructions

  • Heat the cream and the sugar in a small 1-quart saucepan over medium heat. Slowly bring to a vigorous simmer, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Continue to simmer 8-12 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grapefruit juice, vanilla, and the zest (if using).
  • Let the mixture steep for 5 minutes. 
  • Pour into a small ramekin or dessert dish. Cover and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 3-4 hours.

Notes

Expert Tips
  • Even though a posset requires just a few simple ingredients and is very easy to make, it is important that you follow the instructions carefully. The cream and sugar needs to simmer vigorously but be extra careful that the mixture does not boil. At a vigorous and rapid simmer, you will see a lot of movement in the cream. You will notice wisps of steam and quite a few bubbles but the bubbles will be small. Make sure the posset simmers like I have described. You do not want the cream to come up to a rolling boil which will look like bigger bubbles and lots of activity in the pot.
  • You can make a posset ahead of time. In fact, it should be refrigerated for 3 hours to set before eating. The posset will keep well for 2 days in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 918kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 88g | Saturated Fat: 55g | Cholesterol: 326mg | Sodium: 92mg | Potassium: 252mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 3502IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 159mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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