Creme Fraiche vs. Clotted Cream vs. Devonshire Cream


Could you tell me what the difference is between clotted cream and creme fraiche?   It doesn’t sound like there is much difference, other than country of origin. Thanks – Jim Buffy (12/29/03)




Clotted Cream
– Traditionally served with tea and scones in England; it is a 55% minimum milk fat product made by heating unpasturized milk to about 82 degrees C., holding them at this temperature for about an hour and then skimming off the yellow wrinkled cream crust that forms (until the cream separates and floats to the surface).  It is also known as Devonshire cream.  It will last up to four days if refrigerated in a tightly sealed container.


Devonshire Cream (DEHV-uhn-sheer) – Originally from Devonshire County, England, it is a thick, buttery cream often used as a topping for desserts.  It is still a specialty of Devon, Cornwall, and Somerset, as this is where the right breed of cattle is raised with a high enough cream content to produce clotted cream.  It is also known as Devon cream and clotted cream.  Clotted cream has a consistency similar to soft butter.  Before the days of pasteurization, the milk from the cows was left to stand for several hours so that the cream would rise to the top.  Then this cream was skimmed and put into big pans.  The pans were then floated in trays of constantly boiling water in a process known as scalding.  The cream would then become much thicker and develop a golden crust, which is similar to butter.  Today however, the cream is extracted by a separator, which extracts the cream as it is pumped from the dairy to the holding tank.  The separator is a type of centrifuge, which extracts the surplus cream at the correct quantity so that the milk will still have enough cream to be classified as milk.


Creme Fraiche (krem FRESH) – It is a matured, thickened cream that has a slightly tangy, nutty flavor and velvety rich texture.  The thickness can range from that of commercial sour cream to almost as solid as room temperature margarine.  In France, the cream is unpasteurized and therefore contains the bacteria necessary to thicken it naturally.  In America, where all commercial cream is pasteurized, the fermenting agents necessary can be obtained by adding buttermilk or sour cream.  It is an ideal addition for sauces or soups because it can be boiled without curdling.  It is also delicious spooned over fresh fruit or other desserts such as warm cobblers or puddings.  To make homemade Creme Fraiche, check out What’s Cooking America’s recipe.


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