Clotted Cream- Dangerously Delicious Stuff

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Virgil Evetts

There is little under the culinary sun not available in New Zealand these days, provided you know where to look, from every conceivable Asian ingredient to obscure eastern European cheeses. If you’ve heard of it, it’s probably here somewhere. Viva globalisation. Kidding.

In fact, for my purposes there is only one product that I just can’t find – and oh how I’ve searched. Clotted Cream.  It was available for a time, back in the 90s, and damn fine it was too, but quickly fell victim to fat-phobia  and an ignorant market.   Since then it’s been nowt but a happy, calorific memory. So resigned was I to the passing of this genuine crème de la crème, that I almost forgot it existed at all. But a couple of weeks ago  I happened upon an episode of the very good BBC series Edwardian Farm, which featured a demonstration of traditional clotted (or ‘clouted’) cream production. Just to clarify, clotted cream is effectively a cream concentrate, made by heating fresh cream until some of the water evaporates, the sugars caramelise and the proteins set slightly. It has a thick, sticky texture and a sweet, scalded-milk flavour. Clotted cream is the traditional accompaniment for Devonshire teas (scones, jams etc), but goes very well with most hot desserts, and is the perfect foil for poached fruit- particularly quince.

Originally, the cream was produced as a means of extending the shelf life of fresh cream so that it reached market (possibly several days later) in an edible- and more importantly- saleable  condition. It is however so much more than long-life cream, with its gorgeous butterscotch notes and almost chewy texture its comparable to a fresh cream cheese or the very best mascarpone. Of course it’s loaded with saturated fat – upwards of 70% – but aren’t all the best things?

Making clotted cream, as it turns out, is extremely easy – it just takes a while:

Add 1 litre of cream to 1 litre of full milk and heat it over a double boiler (on medium) for around 5 hours. You will need to keep the water in the bottom pot topped up during this time.  Do not disturb the yellow skin that forms on the surface of the cream- this is where the magic happens.  After 5 hours remove from the heat and allow to cool completely in the fridge, preferably overnight.  Now carefully remove the raft of cream (which will be topped with a thin layer of  golden butter-fat) on the surface,  and transfer to a sealable container.  The remaining liquid is effectively skimmed milk and can be used as such.

That’s all there is to it.

So far I’ve served the scrumptious stuff with scones, some every fine Malaysian steamed puddings and stirred through a barley risotto. It is truly the finest of fats.

But it’s all gone now and I think it’s in my very best interest that I don’t make any more for while. It’s far too easy to eat.

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7 thoughts on “Clotted Cream- Dangerously Delicious Stuff

  1. Hi all,

    I make my own clotted cream (even though I live in the UK and can buy it from my corner shop) but I don’t mix cream with milk. I use Double Cream and that’s it. I’ve noticed that double cream has now made an appearance in NZ (I have family in NZ so I’m there every year . . . also good excuse to escape the gloomy British winter!), it has a higher fat content than the standard NZ fresh cream. Hopefully it won’t die a death in NZ as did the Clotted Cream of circa 10 years ago. I pour the double cream into a heat-proof (pyrex) dish and pop it into the oven for about 8 hours. (I’ve read other people stick it in the over for between 6 to 12 hours) I let it cool for an hour before transferring it to the fridge. I’ve never used the double boiler method but maybe it’s a quicker?

    Incidentally, cream teas in the UK are only called Devonshire Teas if you happen to be in Devonshire. Perish the thought of going to Cornwall and asking for a Devonshire Tea!!!! Cornwall serves Cornish Cream Teas, Dorset serves Dorset Cream Teas etc. . . . . and always clotted cream, never whipped cream.

    I’m speculating that Clotted cream died a death in NZ partly due to its name. Doesn’t sound too good does it lol ! My partner was with me once in NZ and we were in a little cafe having coffee and cake when the young girl serving us asked if we wanted cream with our cake. My partner asked if it was clotted. “Oh no, no!” replied the girl in a somewhat mortified voice, “It’s fresh!!”

  2. Hi, do you know where in Auckland I might be able to buy clotted cream. Batchelor with very limited kitchen skills!

  3. Virgil, not only are you a delightful wordsmith and a heroic defender of humanity’s need for indulging in very, very bad-for-you foods, but you are also the veritable saviour of my sanity by providing the recipe for clotted cream! May you be blessed with a buttery long life! Cheers, Lilo

  4. A friend brought some back from Leeston in Canterbury recently, and I was really interested to try it after making my own using Virgil’s recipe (which I did about 3 weeks ago) Hers was whiter and softer, and although the caramelly flavour was there, it was less pronounced – mine was definitely more ‘chewy’! I now plan to make it again, using silver top milk (ie not homogenised)and will see what kind of difference that makes.

  5. I remember trying the commercially available one, and I’ve made my own too, and neither had the taste or texture (so thick it was practically chewy) I remember from eating it in Cornwall and Devon. I wonder what the difference is.

  6. I love the thought of clotted cream and will make some when I know there are plenty of people here to share it with!
    It was sold here about 10 years ago but there wasn’t enough demand for the business to be sustainable. I think it would be different now as NZ has changed so much with specialty food in recent years.