Clotted Cream for Afternoon Tea. Clotted Cream is a very British, thick cream that comes from the best Devon cows that is traditionally served on English scones for afternoon tea.
Everyone has heard of the British afternoon tea, but not everyone has heard of clotted cream that is traditionally served. I’m going to tell you the history behind the afternoon tea and also about clotted cream for afternoon tea along with a recipe.
Always served with scones and jam, clotted cream is a thick cream, like a marriage of butter and cream that takes quite a process to make, but well worth it because an afternoon tea is not complete without it.
The History and Tradition of Afternoon Tea
The tradition of afternoon tea started in the early 19th Century when the wealthy set felt they needed a ‘pick-me-up’ in the afternoon. This is not surprising because they typically ate just 2 meals a day; breakfast and dinner, so the skipping of that 3rd meal led to a mid afternoon slump hence the creation of afternoon tea.
Traditionally, the upper classes would serve a ‘low’ or ‘afternoon’ tea around four o’clock. The middle and lower classes would have a more substantial ‘high’ tea later in the day, at five or six o’clock, in place of a late dinner. The ‘high’ and ‘low’ names were given for the height of the tables used at each tea.
Weather permitting tea would be served in the garden. Once the typical grey skies loomed (we are talking about England here), the tea service would then be served indoors in the Drawing Room. The drawing room a room in the house where one could ‘withdraw’ to for privacy with their guests.
What is cream tea?
Cream tea is afternoon tea served with scones and clotted cream. If you’re not have scones and cream, it’s just afternoon tea.
What do they serve at a traditional afternoon tea?
The selection of food ranged from savory to sweet. Starting, of course, with a pot of tea. Traditional Black English tea, Darjeeling (an aromatic floral tea from India) or Earl Grey (a blend of black teas scented with oil of bergamot) were typically served.
The savory portion consists of a selection of finger sandwiches, with dainty servings of each filling, of either cucumber, salmon, ham or egg salad and always with the crusts removed. The sweet selection came in the way of scones with clotted cream, strawberry jam and a selection of small cakes and pastries all beautifully presented on a tiered cake stand that was the centerpiece of the table.
The appreciation of this tradition has grown immeasurably and a modern day revival can be enjoyed the world over with many upscale hotels and restaurants having adapted their own style by adding champagne to the menu.
What is the difference between clotted cream and whipped cream?
In addition to the butterfat content, clotted cream has a minimum of 55%, it’s the preparation of the cream that is the difference. Whipping cream is simply whisked until thickened. Clotted cream is cooked at a low temperature for hours until the cream clots and thickens on the top and that is what is used.
Is clotted cream good for you?
I would say, yes and no. Yes, in that you are consuming calcium, but no as I wouldn’t recommend eating it every day because of the fat content.
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Clotted Cream for Afternoon Tea
Clotted cream is a very British, thick cream made from the best Devon cows that is traditionally served on English scones for afternoon tea.
- 1-16 ounce container pasteurized heavy cream
- Place a large heatproof bowl over a large saucepan of water (make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl.
- Add the cream to the bowl and bring the water to a simmer.
- Using a candy thermometer, bring the temperature of the cream to 180 degrees F (82 degrees C) and maintain that temperature for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, turn off the heat and remove the bowl from the boiler.
- Allow to cool, then wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8-12 hours.
- Skim the clotted cream off the top and put into a container with a lid.
- Serve on a warm scone with strawberry jam.
Yields 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces)