Scones, baked fresh and then split open like we would an American-style biscuit, then topped with clotted cream and jam are the quintessence of Afternoon Tea heaven. Yet, there is some discord out there among aficionados about which to plop on that scone first: the clotted cream or the jam! A real dilemma.
The operative word is “plop,” for spreading on either the jam or the clotted cream is quite unacceptable, it seems. Both sides of the debate appear to agree. No, this is not the root of the discord. It is strictly an issue of order, not method.
To me this seems to be a total no brainer. I always put the clotted cream on first since to me it is the equivalent of butter and has a comparable fat content. It therefore acts as a barrier and keeps the jam from sinking into the scone. This avoids “mushy scone syndrome.” That means that the folks who like to put their jam on first, a tradition with its roots in the Cornwall area of the U.K., like mushy scones, while the clotted cream on first folks, who trace their origins to the Devonshire area of the U.K., like firmer scones.
Just how serious is this whole issue of order? Well almost two and a half years ago a sort of battle broke out over it, with the folks at Langage farm starting a campaign to promote Cornwall order (jam first) in response to folks in Devon petitioning the U.K. government about protecting the status of the Devonshire Cream Tea as a very particular thing (and definitely including the stipulation that the clotted cream goes on the scone first and then the jam). It was all in good fun but still showed that folks in both areas took the matter seriously enough to post comments about their favorite scone enjoyment method.
Speaking of fat content, here’s the breakdown between butter and clotted cream (and yes, some folks put both on their scones in this order: butter, jam, clotted cream):
- Clotted cream — 55-60% butterfat (the fatty portion of milk); one source says 15g of total fat per 1-oz. serving, with 10g of that being saturated fat and 0.5g being trans fat.
- Butter — 80% butterfat.
Sounds like a lot of fat, but unless you eat several ounces of each every day, along with a lot of other high fat content foods, you should be okay. Remember, moderation is the key in many things. Plus, you’ll be drinking tea with those scones, so that will help a lot in keep that nasty old fat at bay (at least, that’s the theory).
Whether you plop on the jam first or the clotted cream first, enjoy that mouthful of heaven — a great break in an otherwise stressful day. Enjoy!
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