My Own Personal Love Affair with Clotted Cream
The first time I heard the term “clotted cream,” my initial thought was, “what is that, and why does it sound like a fancy name for cottage cheese?”
I googled this term and filed it away in my brain under the category “British Things I Don’t Really Understand.”
In general, if there’s one thing you need to know about me, it’s that one of my favorite things on the planet is the combination of carbs and cheese. One day, someone mentioned clotted cream and scones to me in passing. I asked them about it, and once they briefly explained the concept to me, I could only think one thing: there was another way for me to fulfill my ever-present dairy + carbohydrate craving while also satisfying my sweet tooth.
I knew I had to give this whole clotted cream thing a try.
Right around the same time, I was also preparing to study abroad for a month in London. The timing was perfect: I was going to be able to try this mysterious food in its place of origin.
It wasn’t until I was sitting in the corner of an adorable tea shop in Brighton a few weeks later for afternoon tea that I actually tried clotted cream. It was a rainy day and I was on my third cup of tea. The whole thing felt incredibly British.
I was hesitant at first, so I dotted the corner of a scone with some clotted cream and spread some jam on top. (Keep reading to find out why that may have been a very controversial move on my part.)
After my first bite, I was hooked. I slathered the whole scone with clotted cream and jam. I was in my own type of heaven.
What Exactly is Clotted Cream?
I was hesitant to try clotted cream once I got back to the States. I was worried it wouldn’t be as delicious as it was in the UK because if I’ve learned anything throughout my entire 19 years of existence, it’s that hardly anything tastes as good in America as it does in Europe.
Even though I wasn’t eating it every day like I did in London, I was still intrigued by this new food in my life. So I decided to do some research.
Clotted cream can be described as a combination of butter and whipped cream. It’s creamy and rich, but at the same time, not too heavy. However, unlike whipped cream, clotted cream is a cream that has been cooked.
Clotted cream is typically made from unpasteurized cream. It also is made cream that has a fat content of 55% or more; cream with a lower fat content (usually 48%) is actually considered double-cream, not clotted cream.
The cream is left to sit for about 12 hours, then slowly heated and set to cool again for another 12-24 hours. Patience is a virtue – especially when it comes to making clotted cream.
What’s Devonshire Cream?
Clotted cream was originated somewhere in Southwest England. It either came from Cornwall or Devon, all depending on who you ask.
Devonshire cream is simply clotted cream from Devon. Residents of Devon will probably tell you it’s exponentially better than Cornish cream. Additionally, clotted cream and jam are applied a little bit differently in Devon than they are in Cornwall.
What is the deal with the whole jam/clotted cream thing?
There is already a bit of controversy surrounding the place of origin for clotted cream, as previously mentioned. However, the EU’s Protected Designation of Origin has been awarded to Cornwall, meaning the EU has indicated that the geographical origin of this traditional food is Cornwall.
In Cornwall, jam is applied to the scones first, followed by clotted cream. In Devon, it’s the opposite: cream first, then jam.
Frankly, I don’t really care about the order. If I didn’t know any better, I’d probably cut a hole in the middle of the scone and jam (pun intended) everything into the center of the scone. As long as I get to eat it, I don’t care how the jam and cream are spread on the scone. However, some people are very passionate about this issue.
So how do I get my hands on this stuff?
Glad you asked.
Your first option is to look for it at conventional grocery stores, but it’s often hard to find there. Clotted cream and Devonshire cream have a short shelf life, which is why it may be difficult to track down in the States. And you always run the risk of finding an available but low-quality supply.
The second and probably best option is to come visit us at Ackroyd’s Scottish Bakery and pick up some clotted cream here. We carry Somerdale clotted cream and Coombe Castle Devon cream, alongside dozens of other authentic Scottish and British goods. While you’re in the bakery, be sure to also check out our lovely supply of tea and jam, both of which are essential to your clotted cream dining experience.
The last option is for those who are feeling slightly more adventurous: you can also make clotted cream on your own. I did some digging around the World Wide Web, and the recipe that I personally found to be the most comprehensive comes from Fearless Fresh (https://fearlessfresh.com/how-to-make-clotted-cream/ ). The only ingredient you’ll need is heavy cream, which, as discussed earlier, cannot be ultra-pasteurized or below 55% in fat content. Of course, you’ll still need the tea and scones. If you’re a fan of delicious, high-quality, fresh scones, come visit us at Ackroyd’s Scottish Bakery and we will happily supply them to you.
We have three varieties of scones and clotted cream available in our online store for easy shipping right to your door – http://bit.ly/ackroyds.
So…Do I Really Have to Try This Stuff?
Yes. Yes, you do.