Before a few months ago, I had no idea just how easy it is to make British-style clotted cream at home. Can you pour cream into a dish? Pop that dish into a 180 F oven? You can make clotted cream!
The hardest part of the recipe? Waiting the 24 hours you need to bake and then cool the delicious cream.
Some of you are probably salivating at the thought of slathering fresh clotted cream on a scone and then topping it with jam, while others are probably wondering, what in the world is clotted cream? Don’t be put off by the name!
Clotted cream, sometimes also called Devonshire or Cornish cream, is a thick cream that often accompanies scones in the UK. The slow heating and cooling process allows the cream to separate and for the “clots” to rise to the surface. Made from cow’s milk (well, cream) this is not a low fat food.
The texture and taste of clotted cream can vary, depending on the cream you use and how you bake it, as you’ll see via my experiments below. The taste is unique and not like anything we typically eat in the US. I highly recommend you just make some yourself and try it – slathered on a currant scone, of course!
I recently made three batches of clotted cream to see what works the best. Here’s what I found…
I poured a pint of heavy cream into a 9 x 9 glass baking dish and let it sit uncovered in a 180 F oven for 12 hours. This is what it looked like at the end of those 12 hours:
The yellow stuff on top is the clotted cream. I spooned it into a jar and used the milky leftovers in a batch of scones. It’s always a good idea to make clotted cream the day before you want to make scones so you don’t waste any cream.
For this round, I used a pint of heavy cream from Trader Joe’s – just the regular old heavy cream. Later I realized that it was ultra-pasteurized, which clotted cream experts advise against using. I found that it worked ok but I preferred the cream that was made with local organic pasteurized cream (see Round #3).
This batch of clotted cream tasted good but was a bit gritty and had the worst texture of the three rounds.
The second time around, I did everything the same, except that I covered the dish with foil. I thought that might create a smoother texture. Here’s what the cream looked like after 12 hours in the oven:
This batch wasn’t gritty…but it was soupy.
You can see in the photo above that the texture was quite different from the first round. And the only difference was that this batch was covered in foil!
I liked the taste of this batch, and it was smoother than the first, but it was a little too runny for scones.
The first batch was too gritty, and the second too runny, but the third batch was perfect!
When I realized that I’d been using ultra pasteurized heavy cream I decided to try two pints of local, organic, pasteurized heavy cream. I used a larger baking dish and left it uncovered, but the cream was in the oven at the same temperature for the same amount of time. After 12 hours, the clotted cream looked like this:
As I mentioned, this was my favorite batch by far! The clotted cream was smooth, thick, and rich. The perfect texture for scones. After separating the clotted cream from the liquid cream and then chilling the clotted cream overnight, this is what it looked like:
The texture was buttery smooth, easy to spread on a scone, and delicious with jam. Success!
The only downside to this batch was that only half of the cream clotted. That part was out of this world, but I was left with a small jar of liquid cream. I used it in other baking recipes, so it didn’t go to waste, but I was disappointed that this round didn’t make very much clotted cream.
I’m thinking that one pint of the local, organic, pasteurized cream in an uncovered dish will be perfect. I’ll let you know!
Image: currant scones with clotted cream (right) and whipped cream and jam (left).
If you’d like to make your own clotted cream – and I encourage you to do so – here’s the very simple recipe.
Your life will never the be same after making clotted cream. It's easy to make and delicious on scones!
- 1 pint heavy cream
Heat oven to 180 F.
Pour heavy cream into a 9x9 pan. Place in oven. Bake for 12 hours.
Spoon the thick parts of the cream into a jar or bowl and then chill in the fridge for 12 hours.
Spread on scones and enjoy!
- For best results, use the highest quality cream you can.
- Avoid using ultra-pasturized cream.
- Use the left-over liquid cream in a batch of scones.
- Spread cooled cream on scones and top with jam. Mmmm....
- Clotted cream has a short shelf-life (3-4 days) but I've heard that you can freeze it. I've never had the chance to try it because I've never had any left over!
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