Clotted Cream

Clotted Cream

 The Spruce / Elaine Lemm

Prep: 2 mins
Cook: 8 hrs
Total: 8 hrs 2 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Yields: 2 cups

Although a somewhat unappetizing name, clotted cream is a delicious, thick spread that is a real treat and a ubiquitous accompaniment to scones. Famously from the southwest English counties of Cornwall and Devon, clotted cream is an essential ingredient for a traditional British afternoon tea. The cream gets its name from how it develops a crust on the top during the long, slow cooking, which separates the cream. What you're left with is a thick top (the clotted cream) and a liquid underneath, which can be used in other recipes.

Finding clotted cream outside England can be difficult, but, luckily, it is extremely easy to make at home. The cream will need to cook for six to eight hours to form the crust, and one of the best ways to do this is to use a slow cooker, although a long time in the oven at a very low heat works just as well. To serve your clotted cream, all you'll need are some freshly baked scones.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups heavy cream

Steps to Make It

Note: There are two methods you can use to create this delicious cream: using the slow cooker or the oven.

Cooking in a Slow Cooker:

  1. Set the slow cooker to the low setting and add the cream.

  2. After 1 hour, check the temperature of the warmed cream with a thermometer. It should ideally be around 165 F and should not exceed 180 F. Once the temperature is correct, put the lid back on and let it cook on low for 7 hours. Do not rush this process—the longer and slower it takes, the better the result.

  3. After 7 hours, check that a crust has formed on the surface, taking care not to disturb the cream in any way. The cream will have changed to a deeper, buttery yellow and be a little lumpy. (A tall and narrow slow cooker will take longer to form a crust than a wide oval-shaped cooker.)

  4. Once there is a crust, turn off the heat, lift the insert out of the cooker, and leave it to cool completely on the counter.

  5. Once cooled, place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (you can even leave it overnight) to set firmly. Do not touch or prod the cream at any point or else you will break the crust.

  6. Once firmly set, use a large metal spoon to lift the crust and any cream stuck to it and place it into a bowl or jar. What should be left in the slow cooker is a milky liquid, which you can discard or use in other recipes.

  7. Do not stir the clotted cream in the jar; as you spoon it out to serve, the cream and crust will gently mix together, and it is this mix of smooth cream and the tiny crusty pieces that make it so delicious.

  8. Use immediately or store the cream in the refrigerator and use within three days.

Cooking in the Oven:

  1. Heat the oven to 165 F or the lowest possible setting.

  2. Pour the cream into an ovenproof shallow dish.

  3. Place the dish in the center of the oven and leave for a minimum of 10 hours before checking. If the crust isn't fully formed, cook until it does.

  4. When the crust has formed, the cream will have changed to a deeper, buttery yellow and be a little lumpy.

  5. Remove the shallow dish from the oven and leave it to cool completely on the counter.

  6. Once cooled, place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (you can even leave it overnight) to set firmly. Do not touch or prod the cream at any point or else you will break the crust.

  7. Once firmly set, use a large metal spoon to lift the crust and any cream stuck to it and place it into a bowl or jar. What is left is a milky liquid, which you can discard or use in other recipes.

  8. Do not stir the clotted cream in the jar; as you spoon it out to serve, the cream and crust will gently mix together, and it is this mix of smooth cream and the tiny crusty pieces that make it so delicious.

  9. Use immediately or store the cream in the refrigerator and use within three days.

How to Serve

The most famous way to serve clotted cream is in a Devon or Cornwall cream tea. These traditional teas involve light, fluffy, freshly baked scones with layers of butter, jam, and clotted cream. The order in which the jam and cream are piled on may vary from county to county, but they all taste delicious.