Clotted cream with peach jam and biscuits.
Traditionally, clotted cream is made by heating unpasteurized milk and setting it in shallow pans for several hours. The cream rises and the clots can be skimmed off. Clotted cream is rich and sweet and delicious. In the process of pasteurizing my Beulah Petunia milk, I heat the milk (to pasteurize) then chill it, letting it sit overnight before skimming the cream. This somewhat mimics the heating and setting of the traditional method that results in a clotted cream. The heaviest top layer of the cream is rich and thick, almost buttery, when I skim the cream.
Clotted cream is a little hard to describe if you’ve never had it–it’s not whipped cream. Clotted cream isn’t whipped. It’s naturally thick. It’s sort of like a cross between whipped cream and butter, and it’s sweet just as it is. It’s most often associated with Cornwall and Devon, where it’s a popular tea-time treat with jam (usually strawberry) and scones.
I first tasted clotted cream when I took a trip to England several years ago. I fell in love with it. I stopped one day at a little tea shop in Cerne Abbas and had scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Scones, for all that I can tell, are pretty much what we call biscuits. What I had in Cerne Abbas certainly looked and tasted like a biscuit to me. A plain biscuit is a perfect complement to the incredible richness and sweetness of the clotted cream and jam. It was wonderful.
If you don’t have access to fresh cream, you can still make clotted cream with heavy whipping cream from the store. (Avoid ultra-pasteurized cream.) Heat a quart of cream to 180-degrees and hold it for 8-12 hours at that temperature. Use a shallow pan for maximum surface area. (You could also do this in a large crock pot on Low then turn it to Warm after it heats up.) If you don’t have a Warm setting on your crock pot, you might try turning it off and wrapping it in towels to retain the heat. A layer of cream should thicken on the top. Leave the cream to cool in the refrigerator for another 12 hours (or overnight). Skim the thick, heavy clotted cream and save the light cream left beneath for other uses. You should end up with about a cup of clotted cream. I have not tried this method. I have a cow. She gives me clotted cream every day. However, I don’t want anyone to go clotted cream-less just because they don’t have a cow, so I searched out this method for clotting storebought cream. You can read more details here and check the comments on that page for more info about using a crock pot.
What can you do with clotted cream? Besides topping jam and biscuits, you can use it on cakes and pies and pancakes and whatever else your heart desires! I fell in love with clotted cream fudge while I was in England. I bought it every day in little roadside shops and couldn’t get enough. I brought some home to the kids and they loved it, too. I found a place where I could buy clotted cream online, and a recipe, and started making clotted cream fudge at home. That was back in the day when it never even occurred to me that I could make my own clotted cream or that I’d ever have a cow.
How to make Clotted Cream Fudge:
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 ounces light corn syrup
1 cup clotted cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat gently, stirring until sugar dissolves.
Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat a bit and cover, boiling for three minutes. You may have to take the lid off and stir it down a few times–do not leave the pot unattended. Uncover and continue to boil until the temperature reaches 240-degrees.
Remove from heat and beat until the mixture becomes thick and creamy. Pour into a greased 8-inch square pan.
After thirty minutes, mark into squares with a knife then let set. Cut into pieces and store in an airtight container.
This candy is fabulous, very creamy and rich.
Clotted cream is one of life’s sweetest treats. If you’ve never tried it, you must. And then you’ll want to make your own!