What Is Clotted Cream?
Clotted cream originated in southwest England and has become a traditional British topping for baked goods at afternoon teas. Depending on which county the product was made in, it is also sometimes called Devonshire/Devon clotted cream or Cornish clotted cream.
To make clotted cream, full-fat milk is indirectly heated in a shallow pan for several hours until the cream rises the top. It's then allowed to cool in the pan for 12 to 24 hours. During this period, the cream will thicken and clot. That is then is skimmed off. The result is a thick and creamy spread that's smooth in texture and lightly yellow in color. Clotted cream is incredibly rich, requiring 55 percent butterfat to be properly classified as clotted cream. For comparison, regular cream has a mere 18 percent butterfat.
What Does Clotted Cream Taste Like?
Clotted cream has a unique taste, often described as being similar to a high-quality unsalted butter. It can also have nutty notes, from the milk's long cooking time.
When it comes to texture, clotted cream could be compared to softened cream cheese, with the richness falling somewhere between butter and whipped cream.
How to Use Clotted Cream
Most afternoon teas in southwest England wouldn't be complete without a helping of clotted cream. It's often served on scones with jam, but would be just as delicious spread onto crumpets or quick breads. When berries are in season, it's also popular to serve a bowl of fresh fruit with a dollop of clotted cream.
Where to Buy Clotted Cream
Your average grocery store outside of the United Kingdom probably won't sell clotted cream. It has a very short shelf life — about three days upon opening — so shipping isn't practical. While some online outlets sell a shelf-stable version, for the tastiest clotted cream experience it's best to make it yourself. All you need is some heavy cream, an oven, and patience.