Cream Tea: A Proper Cup of Tea with Cream Scones, Homemade Clotted Cream, & Jam

by Laura on January 10, 2011

When we lived in England, one of my favorite things to do was to pause for cream tea in the afternoon. It’s such a nice respite in the middle of a busy day, so civilized, and so edifying. It really only takes a few minutes, too. These cream scones are prepped and out of the oven in 20 minutes flat. You mix them up—all five ingredients—with a fork in a single bowl, and pat them out on their baking tray. Tidy up the kitchen and brew a nice pot of tea while they bake, and settle in for a few quiet minutes.

Cream tea is an afternoon tradition in England. British tea is served with milk and accompanied by scones, clotted cream, and jam; strawberry is traditional. These cream scones are plain but unusually tender and rich. To serve them, split them as you would an English muffin, spread them with clotted cream, and top them with a spoonful of good strawberry jam in the Devon tradition, or, in the Cornwall tradition, reverse the two and put the jam on the bottom.

Clotted cream is native to South West England, specifically Devon and Cornwall. It is produced by indirectly heating unpasteurized milk and cooling it in shallow containers, during which clots, or clouts, form as the cream rises. It has a minimum fat content of 55%, though it is often higher than that, and is characterized by its creamy, yellow color and its top crust. I have not found any producers of clotted cream in the United States, but you can find imported clotted cream at many markets today, or it’s incredibly simple and rewarding to make your own; see the recipe below.

{ 3 trackbacks }

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“A proper tea is much nicer than a very nearly tea, which is one you forget about afterwards.”~A.A. Milne | eileentom
June 21, 2013 at 2:59 pm

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy johnson January 11, 2011 at 7:18 am

This is a beautiful post!

2 Laura January 11, 2011 at 9:49 am

Oh, thank you, Amy! That’s so kind of you.

3 Kris Jacobson January 11, 2011 at 3:57 pm

I can hardly stand to look at this post because I love clotted cream and scones. I don’t think I’ve ever had homemade. I can’t take it!
But really, it’s gorgeous. And the new rose mauling (no idea how to spell that word) is lovely.

4 Laura January 11, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Kris, you have to come over and eat some! It’s the first time I’ve made clotted cream at home and the storebought pales by comparison. This tastes like Devon, especially, I think, because I used cream from the pasture-fed cows at Cedar Summit Farm. I’ll make up a batch of scones and we can catch up.

I’m starting a rosemaling class on Saturday mornings soon. Ethel’s work inspired me.

5 Alex March 2, 2011 at 6:54 am

What units is the 180 degrees in? C or F?
Thanks! The clotted cream looks good…

6 alma March 2, 2011 at 7:02 am

Thank you thank you thank you. Your Homemade Clotted Cream just made me the happiest girl in the world.
I always love spreading clotted cream on my scones, like I do in the UK (where my fiancé is from).
But now we live in Germany, and here it’s really difficult to find (and even more difficult to find in Spain, where I’m from)… so thanks to you I’ll finally be able to have clotted cream at home everytime I feel like eating scones!!!
Anyway, I just discovered your blog and I love it so much!!!


7 Laura March 2, 2011 at 8:01 am

Sorry! All recipes on the site are in Fahrenheit.

8 Laura March 2, 2011 at 8:03 am

Oh, you’re so sweet! Thank you so much. I love clotted cream, too.

9 Gali March 2, 2011 at 9:04 am

These look so tasty! Haven’t had proper scones in years… I should make some soon.

10 ShopCookMake March 2, 2011 at 11:45 am

I’m so glad I found this recipe. Will be trying it very soon!!!

11 Renee May 17, 2011 at 11:19 pm

I just discovered your website. This is a lovely site. It’s obvious you too care. I am new at making scones. I’ve tried a few recipes and all have butter yours does not. Is adding butter in the scone recipe an American thing?

12 Renee May 17, 2011 at 11:22 pm

I just discovered your website. This is a lovely site. It’s obvious you care. I am new at making scones. I’ve tried a several recipes and all have butter yours does not. Any insight on this. Can’t wait to try your recipe.

13 Laura May 18, 2011 at 7:16 am

Thank you. I’m not quite sure about the butter. I believe I’ve seen a few British recipes that call for butter; one in the book written by Princess Diana’s butler comes to mind. I use very thick cream from a farm and good flour when I bake these scones, and have heard that thin cream is a bit too much. You might try reducing the cream just a bit. The dough will be quite soft and require a bit of flour to handle it, but it should not be liquid. You might also try letting it rest a few minutes after you’ve brought it together to give the flour a few minutes to absorb more of the cream. Good luck!

14 Renee May 18, 2011 at 11:43 am

Thanks for getting back so soon Laura. I’m going on the hunt for good cream and try your recipe today. I’ll let you know how they turn out.

Also, my apology on the double entry comment, I thought I was editing.

Renee from California

15 Kevin June 9, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Hey Laura,

Love your blog! We were wondering if we can feature it on our site. We will be launching a new network for food bloggers, foodies and amateur chefs and would love to have you be part of it. You can visit us at


16 Jill October 27, 2011 at 4:07 pm

I want to make English Tea baskets for Christmas gifts and would love to include clotted cream. Do you know if it can be canned?

17 Laura October 27, 2011 at 6:52 pm

That’s a very good question. I have only seen commercial clotted cream in refrigerated cases and marked with expiration dates. I wish I could be more help. None of my canning resources address it. Perhaps if you want to include it, keep it refrigerated in tightly closed jars until you make your deliveries and tell the lucky recipients that it has to go into the refrigerator right away.

18 Jo and Sue March 6, 2012 at 9:03 am

I just tried this on the weekend and it turned out wonderfully. I haven’t had clotted cream since my trip to England way – way – way back when. From what I can remember this was really similar to what I had then. I posted a blog about it if you would like to have a peek – Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

19 Laura March 6, 2012 at 9:40 am

Jo, I’m so happy to hear that. I loved reading the blog post. Thank you.

20 Barbara March 18, 2012 at 8:52 am

I just found this post through Pinterest. I love afternoon tea. Such a respite — helps me get through the evening. I enjoyed reading your post — it put me in the mood!

21 Laura March 19, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Thank you, Barbara.

22 Cynthia Kiper April 14, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Your recipes sound delicious. Makes me miss England!

23 Laura April 14, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Thank you!

24 sharri June 30, 2012 at 8:13 pm

hi, I absolutely adore scones with clotted cream. hard to find in florida.there were plenty in Pennsylvania. anyhow I digress, In new jersey, everytime I had clotted cream it was sweet. so I about trying to make it sweet. I would buy clotted cream try whipping in sugar , eh! double devonshire cream same old thing. I could not figure out how the tea houses got it sweet and thick, unless perhaps it was a really thick cream and added sugar. any idea?. I have never been to England ( would love it ) but I do love a good tea. any idea would be appreciated.

25 Laura July 1, 2012 at 7:44 am

I’ve never had sweet clotted cream. If beating sugar into it isn’t hitting the mark, I can’t quite think what might match the flavor you’re looking for. Perhaps try confectioners’ sugar or superfine sugar or a little dribble of vanilla added before you make the clotted cream.

26 Donna July 27, 2012 at 9:20 am

I’m so excited to give this a try! I’ve never had clotted cream, but I have wanted to try it for several years. My British Dad is coming for a visit this weekend and I want to make this as a surprise (I’m assuming he’s had clotted cream before). Can’t wait to make the scones and get out all the wonderful jams, too. Thanks for your great instructions and pictures!

27 Pamela July 29, 2012 at 10:08 am

Hi There!
The first time I made clotted cream was for the most recent royal wedding. I decided to have a party at 430am (US-EST) and the entire town was sold out of traditional scones and clotted cream was no where to be found. True American style, I had 4 pans going over double broilers on the stove top and was able to get enough clotted cream to serve my purposes for the next day and all within 4 hours! It was so incredibly good.
I decided I would go about it proper this time and found this recipe. I had the cream in the oven for 8 hours, let it set for about 4 and placed it in the fridge overnight. The top turned a caramel color and the cream underneath was syrup-like in consistency and tasted it a bit caramelish. I’m not sure what I did wrong. Any ideas?
Thanks so much for the inspiration…I’m looking forward to digging into these scones here shortly!

28 Laura July 29, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Oh, how exciting! I hope you love it.

29 Laura July 29, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I’m so sorry it was a bit of a flop for you. I wonder if your oven thermometer is off a bit. I might try buying a little hanging oven thermometer and placing it in your oven to check the temperature. Just make sure it hangs freely from a rack into the center of the oven and doesn’t touch any surfaces. If that’s not the culprit, I’m a bit stumped. I suppose it may be the cream. Are you using something ultra pasteurized or with additives? If so, I’d try it again with an all natural/organic cream that hasn’t been ultra pasteurized and has nothing added.

30 Josh August 5, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Absolutely love your blog!!!! Discovered the wonderful awesomeness that is clotted cream recently. Really want to try making it myself instead of hoping that the 1 store that carries it in my area isn’t out. I am curious though, why not ultra-pasteurized cream? Seems like that’s about all there is in the stores anymore.

Can’t wait to make the recipes and have a nice cream tea this week. :)

31 Laura August 5, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Oh, thank you so much! That is so kind of you.
Clotted cream is something of an obsession at our house. There’s just nothing else quite like it, and homemade is unbelievable.
Ultra pasteurizing creates a longer shelf life by destroying bacteria at high temperature, but it also changes/damages milk and cream such that it will no longer produce good fermented products or cheese. Besides the issue of ultra pasteurization, you want stellar cream here. I live in a dairy-rich state, so I’m not sure if other states have all the options I find, but I’d look for a small, local dairy that pours it heart and soul into making the best cream possible. The ones I use here are incredibly thick, have a golden glow from pasture grazing, and have a thick knob of cream at the top of their glass bottles. If you can get your hands on something like this, the clotted cream you make with it will amaze you.
Happy cream tea!

32 alise August 11, 2013 at 2:47 am

Hi laura. Thx for the recipie. My mother lived in England many moons ago and continued her ‘ high-tea’ ritual until her death and taught me to appreciate good quality time with yourself and a perfect cup of tea! I’m a bird artist and enjoy this kind of respite. Your site welled up in me deep scentiments and great memories of her. Thanks for a great site. Do you have a newsletter for other recipies? Thanks again!:) Alise

33 Laura August 11, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Alise, Thank you. I’m so touched. I don’t have a newsletter, but if I start posting again, you could subscribe and receive all of the postings. Thank you again.

34 Janice January 22, 2014 at 11:18 am

The scones look yummy. I will have to try to make the cream, I wonder if regular whipping cream will work. It’s rather tasteless though, I love it on sweet things…..but not sure about using it for this. I have not heard of your brand.

35 Laura January 24, 2014 at 9:39 am

Yes, whipping cream should work. Clotted cream is not sweet, but it is delicious. Hope you enjoy it!

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