Clotted Cream

clotted-cream

Clotted cream. Is there anything more quintessentially British-sounding than clotted cream? You never hear of it being eaten anywhere but with scones at tea time, and it sounds sinfully rich and somehow snooty at the same time. I had it for the very first time at a tea party, where it came out of a tiny jar (which did nothing to change my idea that it was a rare luxury), and blew my tastebuds away.

Seriously, this stuff is like a cross between butter and whipped cream. Rich enough that fills your mouth with decadence, but light enough that it’s not like you’re eating a mouthful of fat. You can pile it onto a scone in a way you could never do with butter, but it’s got more heft than whipped cream so it doesn’t just melt away on your tongue. It is also NOT SWEET, so anyone who claims that sweetened whipped cream is “basically the same” is lying…

I could sing its praises all day, but instead let’s make some!

It’s amazingly easy. You just take heavy cream and heat it in a shallow dish on very low heat in the oven. Everyone says it’s important to use non-ultra-pasteurized cream, but I used plain old ultra-pasteurized and it turned out fine– maybe I’d have gotten a bit more clotted cream from the “right” kind of cream, but given how much easier it is to find the regular stuff, I’ll stick with this for now.

To make enough for a tea party (just under two cups):

1. Take two pints of heavy cream and pour them into a shallow baking dish– I used a 9×13″ heavy glass dish because glass insulates better than metal– and cover tightly with foil.

2. Put into the oven at 185-200 degrees (probably the lowest possible setting on your oven), and leave it there for 10-12 hours. That’s right, 10-12 HOURS. I’ve done it overnight to avoid having my oven tied up all day.

3. When it’s done, let the pan come to room temperature (or thereabouts) and then chill the whole pan completely, still covered so it doesn’t pick up weird fridge odors, to allow the cream to solidify properly. It’s okay if you got a little bit of browning, but too much will affect the flavor of your finished product.

clotted-cream-oven

4. Scoop the clotted cream off the top and into an airtight container. It’ll keep for a little over a week in the refrigerator, if you can keep your spoon out of it that long!

5. Don’t worry if the cream looks too liquidy– a little time in the fridge and it’ll firm up. If it’s really loose, try putting it in a mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth or heavy-duty paper towels for a few hours.

clotted-cream-drain

6. Conversely, if your cream firms up too much, you can drizzle in a little of the leftover cream and stir until it loosens to your preferred texture.

You can also use the leftover cream (the liquid beneath the skimmings) in other recipes, like for scones. It won’t be as fatty as it used to be (obviously) but it’ll still work as well as half and half.

My favorite way to serve this is (naturally) with plain scones and jam. Raspberry is the best, but marmalade is perfectly serviceable as well. Just look at the scone below, isn’t it rich and luscious and pillowy-looking? Don’t you just want to take a big mouthful? I certainly do…

clotted-cream-scone

Also delicious on clotted cream is lemon curd— the tartness of the curd cuts right through the richness of the cream and the combination is divine.

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