Adventures of a Cream Tea Addict: Part 1

My family loves {LOVES} cream tea.

 Fresh baked scones , raspberry or blackberry jam- compote will do, Clotted Cream, and nice pot of  real black tea not derived from the dusty scrapings of  Lipton, Twinning or Bigelow… Tetley will do but PG Tips are preferred.

Cream Tea and home made Clotted Cream @ Sweet Little Wood

There are two difficulties: my scone recipe which worked beautifully in the UK every single time does not work so well with American ingredients (go figure) and I have had to change it quite dramatically, and Clotted Cream.

For you poor Americans who don’t have the succulent creaminess of Clotted Cream in your gastronomic vocabulary… I am sorry.  I am even more sorry that you cannot seem to buy fresh Clotted Cream worth eating!  What???  A delicious hugely fattening goody that the US food industry has not caught on to yet (probably because they cannot add either high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated vegetable fats to it)!!  I have googled my way to finding some and it came in a jar… a sealed jar… so wrong people! And it never has the beautiful yellowish crust that comes on real Clotted Cream.  But don’t worry: the “clotted” bit does not mean it has gone off it is just thickened.

Cream Tea and home made Clotted Cream @ Sweet Little Wood

Hunting for a proper cream tea I have taken to trialing recipes for Clotted Cream.  There are two methods I’ve found: Clotted Cream from unhomogenized milk on the stove-top burner, and Clotted Cream from cream in the oven.

To save you the long (it is a lengthy process) and messy (uhh… very) process of trialing the recipes and ingredients yourself: I found the method using milk or cream on the stove top much easier and with the same volume result but I had to add a little step to make it thicker as the milk method has a tendency to make a less thick cream.

Ideally you start with milk or cream of the highest fat content you can find.  Typically UK double cream is 48% fat and in the US the most accessible cream is whipping cream or heavy cream in a carton from the dairy isle which contains 36% fat.  You want (ideally) Double or Heavy cream that is fresh (raw or pasteurized) not UHT or Ultra-Pasteurized or  the most full fat (Jersey if you can get it) unhomogenized milk.  I haven’t tried it but I believe you could probably add  extra cream to milk using this method and get a little more of the good stuff!

Cream Tea and home made Clotted Cream @ Sweet Little Wood

 My clotted cream recipe:

Put your milk  (the whole gallon if you have it- leftover milk can be cooked with) into a steel cooking pot with a heavy base and cover it tightly with cling film.  Leave this pot out of the fridge for 12 hours.  Don’t worry it wont spoil unless your house is exceedingly warm in which case shorten the time.  It gives the milk and cream to seperate and for some of the milk’s natural bacteria to get to work.

Put it in this same pot over a low heat.  If you are using only cream you must use a double boiler or a metal bowl resting on top of a pot of boiling water otherwise the cream will scald and stick.  The milk should be quite hot but not quite simmering- the boiling point of milk is actually quite high (about 200 F) but you don’t want to scald or boil the milk.  If  you have a canning thermometer or jam thermometer you can monitor the heat level in your pot at about 180-200 F.  Maintain this high but not boiling point for about an hour.  You should notice the fats and solids start to form on the top of your milk and turn into a yellow skin:

Cream Tea and home made Clotted Cream @ Sweet Little Wood

Don’t stir the milk let the crust form.  After an hour set aside your pot somewhere cool but not refrigerated very carefully not disturbing the crust.  When it is cool enough for that upper layer appears thick use a spoon to skim off the thickened cream on the surface of you milk and put it in a clean dry jam jar that can go in the oven.  There should be about enough clotted cream on the surface of your pot to fill about 200 ml of a jam jar.   It doesn’t matter if you get a little milk in with your cream because now you are going to put you jam jar of clotted cream in the oven at 180 F for a few hours (I did 2 hrs) and allow it to thicken a little more.  If you have used only cream skip the oven step but continue to heat over water a little longer before removing from the heat.

Lid the jar and cool it using an ice-water bath then place it in the fridge to set.  Once cooled you will have a separated layer at the bottom of the jar which is milk.  Slide a knife down the side of your jar and make a little gap and pour this milk away.  The left over milk in your large pot is slightly caramelized and sweet.  We use it for whatever we fancy: coffee, cereal, scones, cake mix, pancake mix.  It never goes to waste because it is so delicious.

As far as your lovely Clotted cream… it makes pancakes with fresh fruit exquisite.  M. likes it on a bit of fresh bread or on basically anything!  But the most delicious way to consume it has to be on warm, sweet, soft scones.  Supposedly it has an un-chilled shelf life of a few days but I wouldn’t personally attempt that when I have a perfectly acceptable fridge to keep it cool in. Besides there is no way a pot of clotted cream is going to last a few days in this house!  Other than the initial hour boiling it is an easy undemanding  bit of cookery to do while you are at home pottering about.

 Tomorrow- my favorite scone recipe and tricks to not making them as palatable as rocks.

Enjoy! xx Joanna

2 thoughts on “Adventures of a Cream Tea Addict: Part 1

  1. Wow, sounds delish. My mother grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin & reminisces of the days of drinking milk straight from the bulk tank & using fresh cream every night with their dessert–sometimes it WAS their dessert. We are hoping hoping hoping to get a cow next spring. I am so excited to make farmer cheese, yogurt, butter, & have all that CREAM!!! I use so much cream it’s ridiculous (& none of us are overweight–moderation of real food seems to totally be lost on many people nowadays). Lovely post!

    • That sounds like a wonderful life… its hard work of course! I would love to hear more about it when you get a cow! We would love to get one but even a Dexter is so BIG! I am too daunted.

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