Clotted cream originated in Southwest England, in the counties of Cornwall and Devon. With its rich flavor and creamy thickness, clotted cream is often likened to whipped cream, although many folks think this comparison does clotted cream little justice.
Clotted cream is often served on top of scones, fresh fruit and other forms of dessert. Although it’s produced by high-volume English manufacturers such as Rodda’s in Cornwall, many small farms and dairies also produce clotted cream for sale in local markets.
To make clotted cream, the fresh, unpasteurized milk of a cow known for producing high-fat milk, such as a Jersey cow, is left to stand for about twelve hours. Afterwards, the milk is gently heated in a shallow pan until the cream rises to the top in “clots,” hence the name “clotted cream.”
If you’re unable to make clotted cream in this fashion, something of a substitute can be achieved by mixing two parts whole milk with one part heavy whipping cream, heating the mixture at low heat until a skin forms on top (usually a few hours) and then leaving it to sit undisturbed overnight. In the morning, simply harvest the skin and the clots beneath it.
Clotted cream is also a very important part of the ever-popular cream tea, also known as the Devonshire tea and Cornish cream tea. A cream tea is simply a cup of tea taken with scones, clotted cream and jam. Throughout England, different opinions exist on how cream tea should be consumed.
In Devon, the preference is to cut the scone in half and cover each one in clotted cream and strawberry jam. It’s imperative that the cream used be clotted, not whipped, and that jam be strawberry, not grape. If not freshly baked, the scones should at least be warm. Butter should never be included, and milk must be added to the tea.
In Cornwall, however, instead of a scone they once served cream tea up with something known as a Cornish split. A Cornish split is a slightly sweet bread roll that’s extremely hard to find these days, even in Cornwall! This roll was meant to be buttered, then covered in strawberry jam and clotted cream.