In traditional English tearooms, customers spoon clotted cream onto scones and serve with jam. In the U.S., clotted cream is much less common. Heavy cream, for example, doesn't make a good substitute for clotted cream. Heavy cream contains only 36 percent milk fat compared to the huge 55 percent fat of clotted cream. However, you do have options when it comes to substitutes for clotted cream.
Faux Clotted Cream
The sheer thickness of clotted cream makes it hard to replicate in the kitchen. Heavy cream cannot simply be whipped to the same consistency. But, by getting a little creative with some cream cheese, you can make a fine substitute for clotted cream. An example recipe includes 4 oz. of mascarpone cheese, 1 cup of heavy cream, 1 tbsp. of sugar and 1 tsp. of vanilla extract. Simply beat the ingredients together in a bowl until thickened. This is probably the fastest way to create an alternative to clotted cream.
Homemade clotted cream takes a long time to make, but is a very good substitute for the real thing. For example, cheese making magazine "Culture" suggests using 3 pints of heavy cream to make a pint of clotted cream. The process involves placing a ceramic bowl full of cream over a very lightly simmering stockpot for around 12 hours -- without stirring. By the end, you will have a thickened mass on the top of the cream. Scoop it out and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, you can have clotted cream on your toast.
If you have a couple of cups of heavy pasteurized cream and a coffee filter in the house, then you're a few hours away from a passable clotted cream substitute. In her book, "Abbey Cooks Entertain," Pamela Foster suggests filling a coffee filter basket to the brim with cream, setting it over a large bowl, and leaving it in the refrigerator. Every two hours, press the cream down a little with a spatula. Eventually, as the whey seeps out of the bottom, you will be left with something very close to classic clotted cream.
If you're worried about your waistline -- or your arteries -- then try using creme fraiche with a dash of sugar. Though this is far from identical to clotted cream, it does make a handy, and more healthy, substitute. Sadly, the lack of fat in cream substitutes or light cream means that it's difficult to create the thickness of clotted cream. If you're keen for the real thing, then be sure to check specialist British food stores or delicatessens in your area who may stock clotted cream.
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