The Great Clotted Cream Debate Rages On

Clotted cream is tasty stuff. If you’re never tried it, you might want to do so…no joke…stop what you’re doing, go buy some, bake some scones, and plop on some clotted cream. And jam. But wait…which goes first on that scone: the clotted cream or the jam? The great clotted cream debate rages on. But first a bit of background information…

(From Pinterest, Twitter)
(From Pinterest, Twitter)

Devon vs. Cornwall Style Cream Tea

The cream tea is where you have tea (naturally) and scones and clotted cream and jam (often raspberry or strawberry). It originated in either Devon or Cornwall, two areas of England and is enjoyed about the same time of day that an Afternoon Tea is held (around 4 to 5pm). In fact, it is in essence an Afternoon Tea, but the standard food served is a nice batch of scones instead of buttered toast, little cakes, and those little finger sandwiches. And ever since the debate over which goes on the scone first has been carrying on.

The Joys of Clotted Cream

To some of us, British food names are a bit of a turn-off. Things like “toad in the hole,” “bubble and squeak,” and “blood sausage” (which is pretty accurate, actually, and rightfully off-putting). Small wonder that they call this stuff “clotted” cream. No marketing sense whatsoever. I mean, what comes to your mind when you hear something is clotted? That’s called “association,” and a lot of folks don’t associate something positive with the word. At least not until they try clotted cream. (In all fairness, we have a few such food names, too – “hash” for instance brings to mind some big mess). But clotted cream is heavenly – thicker than cream, thinner than butter, a touch of sweetness, spreadable but better plopped on with a spoon.

What’s All the Fuss About?

The folks in Devon find that clotted cream plopped on the scone first and then the jam on top of it is quite tasty and keeps the jam from soaking into the scone (which is split in half). The folks in Cornwall do it the other way around, spreading on jam and then putting a nice plop of clotted cream on top of it – apparently of bit of jam soaked into the scone appeals to them. There aren’t strict boundaries here, though. Devonites can plop that jam on first if they want, and the Cornish scone lovers can plop on that clotted cream first. Folks around them might gasp in horror, though. I, for one, will proudly keep a strict clotted-cream-then-jam order whether dining in the local tea room or in the privacy of home.

Time to get baking…and plopping that clotted cream and jam! Oh, and don’t forget the tea!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

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2 thoughts on “The Great Clotted Cream Debate Rages On

  1. bebe croteau

    Clotted cream is an essential condiment if you are planning to host a traditional English style afternoon tea or “cream tea” this holiday season.

    This recipe for clotted cream calls for unpasteurized heavy (whipping) cream or “old style” heavy cream, which is lightly pasteurized. (I buy Meadowgold old style heavy whipping cream at Walmart.) It is an interesting recipe if you have a slow cooker (crock pot.) Ultra pasteurized heavy whipping cream will not work for this recipe as
    it won’t separate.

    First step: put about an inch to two inches of heavy cream into the slow cooker, and set it on the WARM setting for about 12 hours, without disturbing it at all (no stirring.) The curds and whey will separate, and a yellowish crust will form on the top of the cream.

    Second step: after about 12 hours, switch off the slow cooker, and let the cream cool down to room temperature.Third step: put the cream (still in the crockery) into the fridge for about 12 more hours. The crust will solidify.

    Fourth step: spoon off the solidified crust, and stir the clotted cream thoroughly, for a smooth creamy texture. Then store your clotted cream in a lidded glass jar in the fridge. (I usually use an empty jam jar.)

    This is “clotted cream” which is expensive to buy, but so easy to make. The slow cooker does all of the work. Use the clotted cream like butter. It’s very sticky, gluey, thick and gloppy. Spread on scones, biscuits, muffins, ginger bread, banana bread.. Best to use within three days. Clotted cream is okay to freeze.

    The left over cream in the slow cooker is like half and half, or butter milk, and can be used for oatmeal, or for baking scones, muffins, or pancakes.


    Seen Aug 13

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