Living thousands of miles away and a yearning for fresh clotted cream easily justifies the reasons for wanting to making it myself. And if you’re familiar with traditional English cream teas (in England), you know what I am talking about. This cooked cream is a luxurious and decadent buttery treat that’s heavenly when spread over freshly baked scones topped with sweet preserves. Of course, you don’t have to stop at scones, clotted cream is also delicious served with warm or cold sweet tarts, baked puddings and lightly poached fruits such as figs.
With no accesses to a dairy farm I have used the freshest cream available from our local supermarkets. I knew the process of making clotted cream was simple but not using the right cream might pose a problem. Carried out a google search and as expected found some variations and contradictions as too what you should and shouldn’t do. So this is my humble attempt to create and satisfy a longing by making clotted cream at home and if you have any tips or other information please do share.
Managed to find two brands of fresh cream to work with. The first was Awal (local) fresh whipping cream (minimum 36% fat) and the second, Country Life (imported) (50% fat) double cream. Both creams are pasteurized and are not ultra heat-treated (UHT), but the Awal whipping cream did mentioned added stabilizers on the tub. Apparently you cannot make clotted cream with UHT cream… but then again there were others who said you could. Both creams clotted, but there were differences.
After twelve hours in the oven the Awal whipping cream had thickened with a golden-yellow crust forming on top. And when left to cool and chill completely, thickened further. When removing the clotted cream from the dish into jars I noticed the cream nearer the bottom was not as thick (maybe because of the stabilizers) so I left this behind, so as not to dilute the thickness of the clotted cream. It was soft enough to use straight from the fridge.
After twelve hours in the oven the Country Life double cream was very thick and had set all the way through. And when refrigerated was quite firm. So you might need to leave the clotted cream at room temperature for about 5 to 8 minutes to soften if you want to scoop spoonfuls over desserts.
In a nutshell… pleased with the results of both clotted creams. However, the Country Life double cream produced a much firmer clotted cream with a silkier and buttery texture and had a nuttier flavor over the Awal whipping cream which was softer and creamier in texture. And you can guess which was the more fattening one!
When cooking the cream a low oven temperature is important, use an oven thermometer if you feel your temperature gauge is not very reliable. The clotted cream should never brown at any stage. Leaving the cream to cook for twelve hours thickens it, forms the golden-yellow crust on top and gives the clotted cream a slight nutty flavor. You also need to use a dish with a wide surface area and the cream no more than one inch deep in the dish, some tips I picked up while watching this video on clotted cream. A 300ml pot of cream makes almost three-quarters a cup of clotted cream, double up the recipe if you need more.
Clotted cream is delicious with lightly poached figs and I have use dried hibiscus flowers for its color and tart cranberry like flavor to balance the sweetness of the honey. If you can’t find hibiscus you could try a sprig or two of fresh rosemary or add a little lavender for different flavors.
Homemade Clotted Cream with Fresh Poached Figs
fresh cream with a fat content of 36% to 50%
For poached fruit:
6 fresh figs, quartered
3 to 4 tablespoons of honey
juice of half an orange
1 tablespoon of dried hibiscus flowers
You will need a shallow Pyrex or ceramic dish with a wide surface area.
How to make:
Pre-heat the oven to 180°F/80°C/70°C Fan oven/Gas Mark 1/2.
Pour the cream into the dish filling no more than one inch deep. Place the dish (uncovered) into the oven for twelve hours. When done a yellowish crust will have formed over the surface and depending on the brand of cream used it should have thickened. The clotted cream should never brown, this means the oven temperature is running high and will spoil the results.
Remove the clotted cream from for the oven and when cool, cover and leave in the fridge 6 to 8 hours to set and thicken further. Spoon the clotted cream into clean jars or containers, cover and store in the fridge until needed. Keeps for about four days.
To poach the fruit:
Using a medium saucepan, add the honey, orange juice and dried hibiscus. Over a low heat cook for about 3 minutes and until you draw some of the color and flavor from the dried hibiscus. Add the figs and gently coat with the syrup and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes until softened. Remove from the heat and place the figs with the syrup into a bowl to cool. Remove and discard the dried hibiscus before serving. Divide the figs between 3 or 4 serving plates and place a small dollop of clotted cream on top. Serve immediately.