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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

"Clotted Tea"

I don't know how I decide to do things like this, but, well, the mother-in-law's coming to visit this weekend and I figure there's no better excuse to have cream tea—plain scones (no currants or other impurities, please!), slathered with Devonshire clotted cream and topped with strawberry jam—or "clotted tea," as Mr. Chalmers charmingly calls it. With tea, of course. Maybe cucumber sandwiches, too. I just love the combination of tangy, rich clotted cream, sweet jam, and biscuit, and it's true that it's best with tea.

I'm still working on the scone recipe—my mom's is great, but who keeps extra-large eggs? Also, the flour amount does not take the fineness of White Lily into account. Basically, though, just make tender, slightly sweet biscuits with flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, egg, and milk. Pat the dough out and cut into circles (not those crazy triangles you might see in bakeries).
Devonshire clotted cream: In a wide metal bowl, combine 1 quart whole milk with 1 pint heavy cream. Cover loosely with a clean towel or paper towel and set aside in a cool place (an air-conditioned house is fine), undisturbed, for 48 hours. Set the bowl over a pan of boiling water and heat to 175° to 190°F. and hold it at that temperature for 30 minutes (it will take a long time to come to temperature over the water, but that's okay)—do not stir or jostle it. The surface of the cream will crinkle.
Remove the bowl from the pan and set it in a larger bowl of ice water to cool. Skim the cooled thickened cream into a fine-mesh sieve (or two, if you have them; otherwise, strain the clotted cream in two batches) set over another bowl. Put in the refrigerator and let drain for several hours or overnight to thicken it some more.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge. I don't know how long it keeps. The draining makes a nice, thick clotted cream, but I remember having runnier clotted cream in England when I was a kid, so maybe the extended draining isn't entirely necessary.

1 comment:

Mary Jessica said...

Italy, London - sounds like you've been around! I eagerly await a post that details your adventuresome travels, so that I may live vicariously through them. xo MJ