Clotted cream is so easy to make at home. Please don’t think that I’m saying that clotted cream is only easy for experienced bakers to make. Clotted cream is really easy for ANYONE to make, regardless of your kitchen expertise. You dump cream in a pot and put it in the oven. When it emerges, you have clotted cream. It’s like magic!!
What is Clotted Cream? Aren’t Clots a Bad Thing?
If you are in the United States and have never heard of clotted cream, don’t feel bad. I hadn’t heard of clotted cream until a visit to a local restaurant, The London Tea Room. Clotted cream is a topping typically served on scones at high tea. I think of it as a cross between butter and whipped cream.
UPDATE (01/15/10): Reader Marian sent me this important correction:
I looked at their [The London Tea Room] site. They offer AFTERNOON TEA and CREAM TEA, not HIGH tea, which is a totally different animal. Don’t feel bad — most Americans don’t know the difference, including (alas!) some tea rooms. The first two are white collar experiences; a high tea is a blue collar meal, probably no scones at all, but a variety of meat dishes, puddings, cakes, etc — VERY filling, and designed to satisfy the factory worker or farm laborer as soon as he gets home and is too hungry to wait for the fashionable dinner hour of 8 pm.
How Did This Clotted Cream Recipe Compare to Store-Bought Clotted Cream?
I bought some English Luxury Clotted Cream and tasted mine alongside it. The texture was the same (like butter, but a bit creamier), however mine had a slightly sweeter, much fresher, and richer flavor. It was worlds better. There may be really amazing store-bought clotted cream options out there, but they are not readily available in St. Louis. The quality of your clotted cream, however, will depend on the quality of your heavy whipping cream, which brings me to my next section…
The Difficult Parts of Making Clotted Cream
There are two difficult parts to this clotted cream recipe:
- Finding heavy whipping cream that isn’t ultra-pasteurized. Clotting will work better with an unpasteurized or pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized) cream. I didn’t try making the recipe with an ultra-pasteurized cream so I can’t say for sure whether or not it would work, but I suspect it wouldn’t work well. For more information on ultra-pasteurization, check out the FAQ from the New England Cheese Making Society (I know we aren’t making cheese here, but the information found there is very helpful in explaining the problem with ultra-pasteurization). It is also best to look for heavy whipping cream with as high a fat content as you can find. I used a local brand, Pevely, that had 40% fat.
- Waiting. The clotted cream was in my oven for so long that it shut itself off. This has never happened before, and I learned from the experience that our oven shuts off automatically at twelve hours.
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Clotted Cream Recipe
I got the recipe for clotted cream from Sustainable Table. As I said above, there isn’t much to it. There is only one ingredient: heavy whipping cream. Use as much as you would like. I used two pints (4 cups) – be sure to see my notes above about about not using ultra-pasteurized cream. The clotted cream can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Use it to top scones, pancakes, toast, or in my case, high tea cupcakes (post coming soon).
- Pour the cream into a heavy-bottomed oven-safe pot. The cream should come up the side of the pot somewhere between one and three inches.
- Cover the pot and put it in the oven on 180 F.
- Leave the covered pot in the oven for at least 8 hours. My four cups took 12 hours (until my oven automatically turned off). You’ll know it’s done because there will be a thick yellowish skin above the cream, as shown above. That skin is the clotted cream.
- Let the pot cool at room temperature, then put it in the refrigerator for another 8 hours.
- Remove the clotted cream from the top of the pot. The cream that is underneath it can still be used for baking.