I have a great admiration of British food ever since watching the Great British Bake Off. They have so many different cookies (or biscuits as they call them) cakes, puddings, scones, pastries and candies! The thing that makes me the most green with envy, however, is their dairy. They have double cream! In the USA, our cream maxes out a heavy cream with a milk fat content of 36 percent max. Double cream, which pours rather like yogurt, has a 48 percent milk fat content. I can only imagine how divine whipped cream made from that tastes.
From that luscious double cream, they make clotted cream. I admit, when I first heard of clotted cream, it sounded a little unappetizing, like it had been soured and the cream had clotted due to turning (but then again, Spotted Dick sounds like an adventurous savory meal but is in fact a lovely steamed cake). Clotted cream (sometimes called scalded, clouted, Devonshire or Cornish cream) is a thick, almost buttery cream, made by “indirectly heating full-cream cow's milk using steam or a water bath and then leaving it in shallow pans to cool slowly. During this time, the cream content rises to the surface and forms ‘clots’ or ‘clouts’.” I have found that I can make a reasonable approximation of clotted cream at home in a very low oven- but it takes serious time. I say reasonable approximation but I cannot be sure; I have only ever imported clotted cream by ordering it on the internet; I have never been to Britain to enjoy the real thing.
In keeping with a British theme, I like to use the leftover whey to make scones. I like blueberry scones best, but any dried fruit would work. Dried cranberries and orange zest are particularly lovely together. Dollop some clotted cream on top, then follow with a lovely fruit preserve (raspberry is my favorite, but apricot or strawberry is lovely as well). Put a kettle on, grab a good book, and enjoy!
4 cups of heavy cream
Preheat your oven to as low as it will go. My lowest setting in 175 degrees F, but 200 degrees F will be ok as well, just check on the cream after 9 to 10 hours.
Pour the 4 cups of cream into an 8 by 8 inch baking dish. Bake for 12 hours. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours. Pour off the whey (reserve to use for scones!) and put all the lovely thick clotted cream into a jar. Use on top of scones, biscuits, pancakes, waffles- whatever strikes your fancy. Enjoy!
2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
½ cup whey from the clotted cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup dried blueberries (or other dried fruit)
Demerara sugar (or decorating sugar- coarse sugar that doesn’t melt during baking)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare your scone pan or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the cold butter and using your finger, two knives or a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
In another bowl, whisk together the egg, whey, vanilla bean paste and lemon zest. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined, then fold in the blueberries.
Press the mixture into your scone pan, or dump it out onto a lightly floured surface, kneading it until the dough just comes together. Press into a circle about ¾ an inch thick and cut into triangles. Place them on the baking sheet.
Brush with the egg mixture and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes. Allow them to cool completely before moving (they break easily as they are very tender). Top with some lovely clotted cream, a bit of jam, and enjoy with a nice cup of tea!