I grew up in North Devon in the South West of England where Clotted Cream is very common and is served with, or as a part of, most dishes – both sweet and savoury.
It is generally about 55%-60% fat and is it pure yummy, scrummy indulgence! Dishes with Clotted Cream really should go in a category all by themselves called “Sweet, High fat, high calorie, high cholesterol and Tasty” and should be placed as far away from categories such as “healthy” or “low fat” as possible.
My grandparents had a farm on the Edge of Exmoor and in the 1920s- 1940s they had a small dairy attached to the farmhouse, where they would make butter and cream, which they sold to the villagers, along with fresh milk delivered straight from the milk urns.
By the time I came along in the 1960s, all that had stopped and my grandparents received their milk from the milk delivery float and bought their cream from the local dairy.
However, in the Spring, when the cows had their calves, there was sometimes surplus milk, straight from the cow. My granddad would bring it into the farmhouse in a bowl and put it in the larder (large cupboard with a cold, stone slab) and leave it to stand overnight.
There was usually about an inch of cream to skin straight off the top. Yum, Yum in my tum! As I am writing this, I am remembering the rich, delicious taste of that cream on my breakfast cereal, on bread, on fruit, on ice-cream and on just about anything you can think of.
I have tended not to buy Clotted Cream because it is high fat and I can eat it straight out of the tub, so it does not last very long.
One of the things I used to love as a child was bread, with a layer of treacle or golden syrup, clotted cream on top of that and sprinkles of demerera sugar on the top. I did not know it had a name – apart from pure deliciousness – until I saw it on the website for Roddas Cornish Clotted Cream. Apparently that is called Thunder and Lightning!
That is probably because of the shock to the digestive system of all that fat and sugar being swallowed in one go.
Recently I have had a huge desire for Clotted Cream, not only as a filling for my Jam and Cream Scones or as an extra to chocolate cake or ice-cream, but also to start baking with Clotted Cream.
I am not quite sure where this strange craving has come from, as I have been trying to lose weight – and this is not going to help. Or perhaps in some bizarre way it is going to help.
Maybe it is a sort of therapy where I have denied myself the pleasures of my childhood – that clotted cream on and with everything – maybe it is allowing myself to indulge in things that I have been told are bad for me (and the inner rebel is raising its head), maybe it is a need to nurture myself with comfort foods from my childhood or perhaps I am just being plain greedy? I don’t really know.
In the last couple of weeks I have made shortbread with Clotted Cream, Scones with Clotted Cream and a very indulgent cake that consisted of both shortbread and scone mix, as well as oodles of clotted cream and strawberries to hold it all together. I have also been looking at recipes for toffee and fudge, both of which need to contain plenty of cream.
Here is my shortbread that I made, along with the recipe.
Clotted Cream Shortbread
2oz slightly salted butter
3oz clotted cream
6oz plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
I still work better with ounces, instead of grams. 1oz = 28 grams for conversion purposes.
1) Preheat the oven to 180C /gas 4-5
2) Grease a round baking tin with a little butter
3) Make the shortbread mix for the base by firstly creaming together the butter, clotted cream, vanilla essence and caster sugar. Mix it until you have a smooth mixture.
4) Sieve in the flour, pinch of salt and baking powder
5) Mix it together until the mixture is starting to form into a dough. Use your fingers to mix together into a dough that comes away from the bowl and is slightly sticky
6) Sprinkle some flour on the worktop and roll out the dough until it is about ½ inch thick
7) Place dough in one of the round baking tins and sprinkle some caster sugar on the top of the mixture.
8) Cook in the middle of the oven for about 25-30 minutes until the edges start to go brown and your knife comes out clean when you stick it into the shortbread.
9) As the mixture is nearly cooked, you can mark it with a knife to make it easier to cut and break into pieces when it is cool
10) Allow to cool
Sprinkle some caster sugar on the top, break or cut into even pieces and serve – cold or still warm, whatever your preference.
As you can see there are only 7 pieces on the tray because the 8th one had been eaten hot, before I got it properly out of the tin. It must have tasted good because my daughter, Jacqueline, picked up the hot baking tray with an oven glove and tried to walk off with it.
She asked me whether my husband and my other daughter, Stephanie, knew that I had been making Clotted Cream Shortbread. When I answered that they did not know because they were not at home, she replied, “Well, they don’t need to know! We can eat your shortbread between us before they get home!”
I’ll take that as a compliment then!
I will post the other recipes over the next few days.
I just need a new kitchen with a posh new range cooker now to make baking a really pleasurable experience.
With abundant blessings.