If you've ever had the chance to enjoy afternoon tea at a fancy hotel or tea room, you may have been lucky enough to be served clotted cream. Piled high on scones along with jam, it's so decadent that it's practically dessert. But what exactly is it?
What Is Clotted Cream?
Clotted cream originated in the counties of Devon and Cornwall in southwest England. It's made by indirectly heating full-fat cow's milk in shallow pans over steam or a water bath. Then it's left to cool in the pans for 12 to 24 hours, at which time the cream rises to the surface, forming "clots," which are skimmed off and become clotted cream.
At a minimum of 55 percent butterfat, clotted cream is seriously indulgent (regular cream has just 18 percent butterfat.) It has a sweet, cooked milk flavor and is smooth and extra thick. If it's produced in Devon, it's called Devonshire cream or Devon clotted cream; if it's produced in Cornwall, it's called Cornwall clotted cream.
It's not particularly easy to find at grocery stores outside of England, as fresh clotted cream has a very short shelf life, but there are a few online resources where you can purchase it. Otherwise, you might attempt making it yourself. Either way, your scones will thank you.
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A Worthwhile Substitute
If you can't get your hands on clotted cream and you're not up for making it yourself, you still have a couple of options to replicate the same rich and creamy spread on your scones. Crème fraîche is a cultured cream similar to sour cream, but it's thicker, richer, and much less tangy. Look for one with a high fat content to get the closest thing to clotted cream in both texture and flavor.
Another option is to whip mascarpone, a soft Italian cream cheese, and heavy cream together. Mascarpone on its own is perfectly indulgent, but a little too thin to replicate clotted cream. Combining it with whipped heavy cream not only makes it even richer, but also thickens it, giving it a similar texture to clotted cream. Just beat two parts mascarpone with one part heavy cream until soft peaks form.
Are you a fan of clotted cream?