Before I get to the homemade clotted cream, would you mind if I went off on a bit of a rant about a totally unrelated matter? I didn't think so!
This has been brewing for a while. The daughter of an avid reader and magazine aficionado, I've been reading magazines since I was four years old. I love magazines. You might have read about my magazine addiction. I even write for magazines.
But, more and more, I find my enjoyment of magazines being interrupted by annoyances. And then, of course, I annoy my husband and interrupt his reading with my outbursts. "Ha, listen to this!" Followed by my reading the offending phrase, sentence or paragraph aloud in a derisive tone.
As a writer, one must adapt one's style to that of the publication. So I've written magazine articles that made me chuckle at my own high-flown turn of phrase. I understand that. But there are a couple of overused, misused terms that have no place in the food world.
Last night I was happily reading along in a popular food mag when I came upon "creating a rule-breaking food scene all their own." When I stopped gagging, I sneeringly read the complete sentence aloud to my husband and proceeded to tell him more than he wanted to know about just why the sentence was ridiculous.
I kept reading but never found out what rules were being broken by these food producers who harvested and cooked local ingredients. Called "mavericks" by the author, they seemed to be doing what farmers, fishermen and chefs everywhere are doing, working on new ways to make use of local ingredients.
Yes, do tell me about a place and its food, about those who grow, harvest and cook that food. That's interesting enough in itself without embellishing it with nonsense.
Second only to "rule-breaking" on my list of food writing peeves is "risk-taking." Oh.My.Goodness! Maybe it's not second after all, maybe it's first, at least tied for first. If you're going to tell me about a chef taking risks, you better be talking about one who is setting speed records chopping blind-folded or deep-frying in the nude.
With more than 13 percent of the world not having enough food, isn't it time for us all to get over our pretentiousness about food?
"If you're going to tell me about a chef taking risks, you better be talking about one who is setting speed records chopping blind-folded or deep-frying in the nude." ~ Jean | Delightful Repast
The Clotted Cream
Okay, I'm done. On to the clotted cream, which doesn't sound that appealing to the uninitiated. You'll sometimes see it called Devonshire cream just because it sounds better, but it's only Devonshire cream if it is clotted cream made in Devonshire. Cornish cream is clotted cream made in Cornwall.
Here in the US, imported clotted cream is quite expensive and few tea rooms make their own. So it's usually only seen at the poshest of afternoon teas. Its unique taste and texture take a simple scone to new heights. In Devon, the tradition is to put cream on the scone first, then jam. In Cornwall, it's jam first, then cream.
Update 08/25/16: Fresh Peach Scones don't need jam, but would be great with a dollop of clotted cream.
Update 12/07/16: For how to throw an afternoon tea party and a roundup of afternoon tea recipes, see Afternoon Tea Party Tips.
There's nothing difficult about making clotted cream. Though it does take time, it's time you actually spend going about your business while the cream does its thing. So I don't know why there are so many "mock" versions out there.
One popular American television personality and celebrity chef would have you strain cream through a coffee filter and call it clotted cream. Sorry, that's just not the real deal. Others would have you add various things to whipped cream. Again, no, just no.
Some people prefer to make it with raw cream, but pasteurized cream works just as well. I haven't actually tried it with ultra-pasteurized cream, but I'm told it doesn't work well. Besides having been heated to higher temperatures, ultra-pasteurized creams contain added stabilizers.
Update 09/10/16: I have used organic heavy whipping creams minimally pasteurized, pasteurized and ultra-pasteurized; none were homogenized. All worked well. I have yet to try this with a popular organic brand that is both ultra-pasteurized and homogenized.
There are two ways to make clotted cream in your oven: covered and uncovered. I made it both ways and then conducted an informal blind tasting (also known as serving tea and scones to my husband and friend).
|Left: cream cooked covered / Right: cream cooked uncovered|
He preferred the texture of the cream that had been uncovered, but she and I preferred the cream that had been covered. Here is what they looked like just out of the oven:
|Clotted Cream Cooked Covered|
|Clotted Cream Cooked Uncovered|
The cream that was cooked covered developed a softer top layer and had a smoother texture. The cream cooked uncovered developed a buttery yellow "crust" and after cooling and stirring had tiny bits of yellow butter throughout the finished cream.
Though we were divided on which we thought was best, we all thought both versions were very good.
Since the finished clotted cream only keeps for a few days (some say as long as 2 weeks, but I haven't tested it yet), it's best to make no more than you need. My friend really loves it and has no problem using it up! She says adding a dollop to a mug of hot chocolate is unimaginably good.
Update 12/09/16: I've found that the clotted cream freezes beautifully, with no loss of quality, and so divide the cream between two 4-ounce jars and pop them into the freezer.
Do let me know if you have any questions or comments about the recipe (or the rant!). And if you like this post, be sure to Pin it and share it on your social media!
(Makes about 1 cup)
1 pint (16 fluid ounces, 473 ml) pasteurized organic heavy whipping cream
Note: I like to put it in the oven at 6 a.m. and take it out at 6 p.m., refrigerate it until 6 a.m. the next morning, then scoop it into a container.
1 Preheat oven to 180F/82C.
2 Pour cream into an 8-inch (20 cm) diameter baking dish (I use a Pyrex). It can be any shape, as long as the cream is about 1/2 to 1 inch (1.25 to 2.5 cm) deep.
|A pint of organic heavy (40% butterfat) whipping cream in 8-inch baking dish|
3 Place foil-covered or uncovered (I prefer to cook it covered--see the comparison above) dish of cream in preheated oven and set timer for 12 hours.
4 Remove from oven, lift foil a bit to vent, and let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes; cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.
5 Using a flattish spoon, scoop up layer of clotted cream into jar or serving dish. Keeps for about 3 days, covered and refrigerated. Save the leftover liquid in the pan to use in your next batch of scones, pancakes or whatever you happen to be making.
Now put the kettle on and Make a Proper Cup of Tea!