Some people fear it, others covet it. It is as rich in history and tradition as it is in controversy and calories. The dairy devil presents an air of soft mildness but fears none and stands sturdy on its own solid feet. It has ripped through the crumbs of many a scone and clung like an iron sloth to the back of countless butter knives. The delicate yet treacherous terror of the tea room, I present to you, clotted cream.
Cream is a common word used in the contemporary languages of today. Whipped cream, ice cream, shower cream, hand cream. The list goes on. Most conjure up sensations of softness, fluffiness, things that are light and airy and sweet and gentle and moisturising in nature. Not the case for the clotted cream. If all the palatable powers of milk were boiled down into a thick viscus syrup and then encased in the deepest bowels of the Earth to be forged into a solid diamond of epic dairy divinity, that jewel would be clotted cream.
This cousin of cream concoctions is more solid than liquid. The pale white of milk has given way to a rich gold tinted beige epitomising the colour that is cream. Straight from the tub, it has the grain of frozen ice cream and the sticky viscosity of ice cream that has been slightly thawed. Once agitated, the consistency softens to a few steps harder than a refrigerated honey with less drip and more pull. This stuff will hold its shape at room temperature. Butter will melt and liquify the more you move back and forth over a piece of toast or a split scone slipping easily off the knife and soaking into the crumb of your edible platform. You will most likely have to fight clotted cream and sacrifice the beauty of your baked good if it is your first time dealing with this dairy product. But it is worth it.
It has the essential velvet creaminess that all good milk produce should have, but amplified into this luscious creme de la creme of creams. Whipped and poured creams have their uses, but they are so easily lost beneath the stronger flavours of whatever they have been paired with. Clotted cream is what you want if you want to taste what dairy is, what milk is, the reason why those gorgeous globules have been floating around in that opaque colloid. Clotted cream has all the delightful silky dairy flavours intensified in a sturdy body that sits with its head held high atop your scone supporting the fruity conserves you have dribbled over it. I encourage you to indulge, but in moderation, or you will end up like me...