During my travels around the UK last month, my dear cousin Paul introduced me to the culinary wonder that is clotted cream. A bunch of us cousins got together in Oxford for a picnic, and Paul, who knows of my love for English food, brought cucumber sandwiches, homemade scones, strawberry jam and clotted cream. For those of you not familiar with this delight, it is eaten on scones with either raspberry or strawberry jam. I had never eaten it before, as it is not something you commonly find in Canada.
It reminds me of a cross between butter and cream, being white like cream, and creamy tasting, but with the spreadability (is that even a word?) of butter. Clotted cream, also called clouted cream, double cream, Cornish cream or Devon cream, is primarily from south west England. It is not known how far back this food goes, but there are literary references to it in medieval times. In the 1800s it became popular to serve it with scones during tea time, as it did not spoil as fast as regular cream.
Clotted cream is traditionally made by skimming the cream off the milk, then heating it in a water bath, and afterward cooling it slowly. This causes the cream to rise and form clots. These days clotted cream is made mechanically using a simular heating method, or by using centrifuges to separate the cream. The clots are very high in fat, being at about 60% fat, as opposed to regular cream wich is about 18%.
There is debate over whether to put the jam or the cream on scones first to put on first. Apparently the Cornish school of thought is to put the jam on first then the cream, and the Devon way is to put the cream on first then the jam. I've tried both ways, and I'm personally partial to the Devon way.
I managed to find a small jar in Sobey's, thanks to my Mum who knew where to find it. It's pretty expensive, but worth it. I had it with scones and blackberry jam, and also with crepes. So good!