Saturday, May 28, 2011

Currant Cream Scones and Homemade Clotted Cream



Tea and scones are a quintessential combination. Add some clotted cream and jam, and you could swear you were in England. The compliments I received when I made these scones tell me that I'm not the only one who loved these. The texture is perfect and the currants give them a little extra sweetness.


The clotted cream was a new adventure for me. I was asked to make scones and provide clotted cream for 80 for an annual Spring Tea. I went searching for clotted cream and found out that it is quite expensive to buy already prepared. I had to find a way to make it myself.

Most clotted cream recipes I found told me that I had to find heavy cream which was not ultra-pasteurized - not an easy task where I live. I'd spend 2 hours and $10 in gas to drive to Whole Foods for the non-ultra-pasteurized variety, and then I'd spend twice as much for the cream on top of that. It wasn't happening.

I read that someone tried adding a little buttermilk to the ultra-pasteurized cream and it worked wonderfully. Then I remembered that you make homemade creme fraiche by adding buttermilk to cream and then it thickens the cream after sitting out at room temperature for a day or two. It made sense, so I tried the buttermilk method and it worked for me too. Just remember to plan ahead, as the cream needs to cook for 12 hours and then chill for another 4-8 hours. The good thing is, there's not much more to it than that!



Currant Cream Scones
from The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet
Note: These scones are made with cream as opposed to my other favorite scone recipe made with buttermilk. In fact, the recipes are almost identical, which I only realized when I tripled the cream recipe and doubled the buttermilk recipe. Both recipes make excellent scones, so try both and decide which one you like better!

Another note: if using currants, look them over and try to remove any itty bitty stems that you see.

Another note: these lend themselves well to making ahead. You can freeze or refrigerate the unbaked scones (directions below), but try to bake the scones within 4 hours of serving for best results.

2 cups (10 oz) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz) granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter (4 oz) (cold, cut into pieces)
1 cup (8 oz) heavy whipping cream (cold)
1/2 cup (7 ounces) dried currants (if not soft and pliable, soak in boiling water for 5 minutes, drain and pat dry)

For the Topping:
1 egg, lightly beaten with a teaspoon of water (egg wash)
Turbinado sugar or other coarse sugar for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

3. Using your fingertips, work the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse cornmeal. A few larger pieces are fine and will actually add to the flakiness of the scones.

4. Stir in the currants, then add the cream. Blend together quickly using a spatula until it just comes together. Do not over-mix. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead only enough for the dough to hold together - about 5 to 10 times.

5. Divide the dough in half and shape each into a flattened circle about an inch thick. Cut each circle into 6 wedges. I use a metal pastry scraper to cut the dough. Alternatively, you can shape the dough into one larger square, again about an inch thick and cut that into smaller squares of any size you like. At this point, you could wrap the circle of scones in plastic and freeze until you need them, up to a month. You do not need to thaw the scones before baking them.

6. Transfer the fresh or frozen scones to a parchment or Silpat-lined baking sheet. If making these the night before, cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and place the entire sheet in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to bake, brush each scone with egg wash using a pastry brush and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

8. Bake for 14-16 minutes until golden brown and firm when pressed lightly on top.


Homemade Clotted Cream
makes about 2 cups

4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
a pinch of salt (optional)

Place the heavy cream and buttermilk in an enameled cast-iron pot or other heavy-duty pot with a lid. The cream and buttermilk mixture should ideally be 2 to 3 inches deep, so adjust your cream amount or your pot size accordingly.

Place the pot, covered, into the oven set at 180 degrees F and cook for 10-12 hours, or until the cream on top looks a dark yellow color (see #1 above).
Note: some ovens will turn themselves off after a period of time, so check it every once in a while to make sure it is still on.

After 10-12 hours, remove the pot from the oven and allow to cool. Refrigerate overnight, or until well chilled.

Using a spatula, remove the thick clotted cream from the surface and place into a bowl. Use a large slotted spoon to remove any remaining thickened cream from the pot. The cream which is left in the pot may be refrigerated and used in any recipe calling for heavy cream.

Add a pinch of salt, and vigorously stir the clotted cream in the bowl, adding more of the leftover liquid cream to reach the desired consistency, until the mixture is fairly smooth and uniform in texture.

Serve with scones and jam.

9 comments:

  1. I can tell by the recipe that these scones have the perfect texture that I love...I'm kind of a scone snob. Too many times I have bought a scone only to have it taste like a piece of cake or a dinner roll...not good.

    Yours looks wonderful...I will baking these this weekend!!

    Janet xox

    http://theemptynest-janet.blogspot.com/

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  2. How cool! I never knew that you could make homemade clotted cream. It looks delicious on top of those scones. Yum!

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  3. I could go for one of these right now...with clotted cream, yes!

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  4. I love the clotted cream at Johnston Tea House, I never knew how to make it!

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  5. Jen - I'd be curious to see how this one compares. Field trip???

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  6. I haven't had a scone in FOR.EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!! ....and I've never made them before either....maybe I better start!

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  7. your scones look like perfection! so, so lovely!

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