Those with an affection for afternoon tea delight in the creamy flavor and texture of clotted cream. This is a special, thick cream that's made by processing full-cream cows milk in a steam or water bath and then placing it into small pans where it forms clots as it cools slowly. It is served with scones, much to the delight of the the taster. Aunt Marcella enthusiastically comments on the subject whenever we share afternoon tea together. For nearly 30 years she would take an annual two-week summer holiday to the United Kingdom, planning the journey and schedule to include afternoon tea in Bed & Breakfast hostels across the countryside. Descriptions of puffy scones and large jars of clotted cream, so thick that a spoon stood straight up when set in it, delighted all of us in America as we marveled at such a creamy delight and wished to try something that seemed such perfection. Eventually, small jars of clotted cream have been found available in tea rooms and speciality shops. But for a premium price! Although this is near and dear to Aunt Marcella's memory, the jarred creams still don't meet the standard of her seasoned tongue. But something close is better than none.
For those who cannot easily obtain jarred clotted cream, vegans (or those intolerant to dairy), or the health minded, other options are welcome. Although most alternatives are not equivalent substitutions, they can be just as delicious by their own right. Dairy cream is known for its high fat content and for the role it plays in raising cholesterol. Weight gain and heart disease can result from liberal use of high fat dairy products. Alternatively, non-dairy toppings can be free of saturated fats and can actually assist in healthy body weight and reduced risk of heart disease. A study reported in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that women who ate one to two tablespoons of nuts or nut butter daily (peanuts, almonds, or cashews) weighed four pounds less and had waistlines an inch smaller than those who did not eat them. Nuts activate the metabolism. They also add protein and fiber to one's diet, making them feel full and satisfied for longer periods of time. So, what does this have to do with cream? Nuts and nut butters make delicious creamy topping! Here's my family's favorite cashew cream recipe (below):
14 oz. soft tofu, organic
1 cup raw cashews, washed
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. stevia
1 tsp. vanilla
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbs. agave syrup, organic
Place all ingredients in a blender. Whiz until smooth and creamy. Pour immediately into a small pitcher or serving container. For a varied flavor, add a sprinkle of cinnamon.
This makes a creamy, thick topping can can be poured over fruit or scones for tea. For a thicker topping, stir in some instant sure jel. This recipe will thicken over time as well.