I wanted to make homemeade clotted cream in honour of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee which is happening this weekend. I was adamant about making clotted cream.
True Fact: I’ve never tried clotted cream before.
I told Vicki that I wanted to make it and she proceeded to tell me that she found it to be sickeningly rich when she tried it in the UK at afternoon tea. . . but that was after practically devouring all of ‘tea for two’ on her own and that I should try it anyway.
I was apprehensive at this point but I had a litre of cream in the fridge and nothing else to do with it. The idea of ice cream was coming to mind instead since the weather was hot and ice cream was a much better project than baking cream in the oven for 8 hours.
Then I started reading more about making it. I read that the cream should not be ultrapasteurized or contain emulsifiers. Was mine ultrapasteurized? The carton didn’t say. It did contain some other crazy ingredients I didn’t understand which were probably emulsifiers. This was going to be a disaster.
I picked the least hot day, turned my oven to 200F, poured the cream in a 9×13″ baking dish, covered it with aluminum foil, put it in the oven and left the house to turn into a sauna for the next 8 hours.
When I came home to check on it I was pretty sure that was I was looking at was not what it was supposed to look like. I consulted the internet and confirmed my suspicion. I got a deep brown, caramelized tray of cream without a distinct thick layer of fat at the top like I was expecting.
I knew it was all wrong but in any case, I decided to follow through with the rest of the instructions. I let it cool to room temperature then refrigerated it for a few hours before skimming the top fat off the cream with a slotted spoon.
I collected the remaining cream (which was also brown in colour) and poured it into a separate bowl. I refrigerated the cream and the clotted cream overnight and hoped for the best.
So, now it’s tomorrow. I take my clotted cream out of the fridge. It has a really terrible consistency. It’s as thick as butter and full of chunks of the crispy caramelized skin that formed when baking. It isn’t right but, but but(!) the flavour is actually phenomenal. It tastes almost like Norwegian brown cheese (and obviously my next project is going to be to make brown cheese, but that’s another post for another day), very nutty and slightly sweet.
I thought I’d try putting the clotted cream in the food processor to rectify the texture situation. It doesn’t really smooth out. I do get rid of the major chunks, but I end up with something like crumbly butter. But it’s tasty and good enough to spread on a hot scone, so it’s good enough for me.
Just for the hell of it, I food-processed the leftover cream too. That smoothed out much easier.
From a taste standpoint, the clotted cream is great. I like it, Matt likes it, and it’s better than butter as a spread. So in the end my clotted cream is one of those disasters that wasn’t actually all that bad.
But I still don’t know what real clotted cream tastes like.
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