Quintessentially British is Clotted Cream
Clotted cream is something I think of that is so part of the High Tea tradition, so British, that I always assume it will be provided with the scones. You know, as in “here are your scones with clotted cream and jam.” It just rolls off the tongue. However, in the US clotted cream is quite expensive (if you can find it at all), and many times through the years of going to High Tea for my daughters’ birthdays (so elegantly written about in Time for Tea) there was no clotted cream to be had. Mostly we were served whipped cream, or sometimes butter. How disappointing. As I’m writing this Tea Time and Finger Food series*, I got to thinking…how hard can it be to make homemade clotted cream? Hmmm…..
Turns out, not that hard at all! In fact, it’s surprisingly easy…little actual hands on work is needed, just time. Who knew? Well, Stephanie Stiavetti, who writes the Fearless Fresh blog, knew, and more importantly was willing to share not just one, but several methods for making homemade clotted cream. I chose the oven method, but you can also make clotted cream on the stove top with a pan or a double boiler, or even your slow cooker. I would have liked to use my slow cooker, but I couldn’t trust that the LOW setting wasn’t too hot (I have an old crockpot, well loved).[* Side note: see I’ll Have That On The Side… (Part I) for an explainer about the Tea Time and Finger Food series]
Clotted cream controversy
On her blog, Stephanie states that “Clotted Cream, also known as Devonshire cream, is a part of the traditional English “cream tea,” during which the cream is served alongside scones, jam, and tea”. One of the commenters on Stephanie’s blog post said, “Just an FYI…Clotted Cream is NOT also known as Devonshire Cream. Two totally different types of cream. Devonshire Cream is a thick, double cream. Clotted Cream is very thick, like slightly softened butter.” Another said, “High tea is blue collar workers eating meat pies standing at high counters or tables. The tea with charming pastries and clotted cream is low tea, cream tea, or afternoon tea.” Who knew this topic would be so controversial?
Homemade Clotted Cream
Adapted from Stephanie Stiavetti How to make clotted cream (oven method)
Makes 2 cups
- 4 cups heavy cream NOT ultra-pasteurized (use the best cream you can find)
- Preheat your oven to 180°F (82°C). For many ovens, this is the lowest temperature.
- Pour heavy cream into a shallow glass pan that allows for a lot of surface area. You want it roughly 2-inches deep. Place in the oven for 12 hours, which works best overnight. Do not stir!
- After 12 hours has elapsed, carefully remove the pan from oven. Be very careful not to agitate the cream or it will start to mix back into the liquid layer underneath. Allow to cool. Cover the pan and refrigerate overnight.
- With a slotted spoon, gently skim the thick layer of clotted cream from the surface, leaving the thin milk liquids behind. You can use the liquid much like you can reuse whey, in bread, soup, rice.
- Gently stir the clotted cream to create a smooth, creamy texture. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, in a tightly sealed container so that it doesn’t pick up strange flavors. (I use a mason jar.) For best flavor, bring to room temperature before serving.
Here’s how the recipe worked for me: I used 2 pints of Heavy Cream (one from Trader Joes, the other from Whole Foods…don’t ask). The recipe said to use a wide, non-reactive pan so that the depth of the liquid was 2”…using my math skills (yay, math!) and measuring the pans I had available to me, I chose a 9” square non-stick cake pan. I looked up whether non-stick meant non-reactive, and the Internet said yes (thanks, Internet!). I set my oven to 180°F, put the pan in at 8pm, and took it out at 8am the next morning. After letting the pan cool to room temperature, I covered it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to chill for 24 hrs. Then I skimmed the now-hardened cream into a bowl.
The resulting clotted cream was delicious, like sweet butter, with a creamy texture that could hold a spoon upright. The yellow crust that formed after the clotted cream came out of the oven was said to be prized in the UK (according to another of Stephanie’s commenters), and so I didn’t bother to stir it in. I used the leftover whey to make chocolate chip cream scones (the best kind, of course, at least in my family). The header picture above shows the result…a rich cream scone with luxurious lemon curd and clotted cream on the side. Perfect…just add tea!
There was one downer to this whole process…after I washed my cake pan, I noticed that the non-stick finish was starting to bubble up a little. I guess it’s not non-reactive after all (thanks a lot, Internet!). To be fair, I don’t know if making the clotted cream caused this problem or if I just hadn’t noticed before. Luckily, the pan is under warranty. I might still get a glass pan for next time to be sure (if anyone wants to make a donation to this cause, I wouldn’t say no!).
Anyway, I hope you’ll try to make homemade clotted cream (using a proper pan, of course). It’s super easy and the results are wonderful. If you do, let me know how it goes for you. I’m jealous of Stephanie and all her commenters…don’t let me down!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!