My family is currently in England on a holiday. We’re staying in lovely Ascot, where my parents live, and I’ve been finding every excuse imaginable to eat clotted cream.
If you’ve never had it, it’s commonly served here with ‘cream tea’ (with scones or other pastries, often accompanied by jam). It’s made by indirectly heating raw cream using steam, and then letting it cool slowly so that the cream forms ‘clots.’ The texture is in between butter and whipped cream. It’s a fluffy bit of heaven, and I can’t believe I’ve never had it before this week!
Wikipedia notes the following about clotted cream, which has a butter fat content of 55-64% (here):
“When compared to the fat levels of other creams, for example single cream at 18%, clotted cream is often regarded as unhealthy today. According to the Food Standards Agency, a full 100 grams (3.5 oz) tub provides 586 kilocalories (2,450 kJ) (roughly equivalent to a 200 grams (7.1 oz) cheeseburger).”
High in calories? Of course! Unhealthy? Absolutely not! This excerpt suggests that something is unhealthy if it is high in calories. Not so. Good fats (like bad fats) are high in calories, but good fats are also incredibly nutrient dense. Traditional peoples in many regions of the world considered butter fat a sacred food. In fact, butter is life-giving and disease-fighting, not the evil indulgence often portrayed by the media. If you are skeptical of this, I don’t blame you. But consider this: butter has been around for millennia, while cancer and heart disease are quite new. If you want to read more about the benefits of butter, (and why you should never let margarine pass your lips again), I recommend starting here (you can read the studies this article is based on by requesting them at your local library). I consume butter (of good quality) with abandon, knowing that it is a wonderful source of true nourishment. Put enough butter on your vegetables at dinner, and notice how you don’t feel as much like snacking later in the evening!
Look for organic butter, ideally from grass-fed cows. Where I live, a pound of organic butter is around $9-10, which is about double the price of non-organic. Even in my tight food budget, I do not compromise on butter quality. I try to save it for eating on things as opposed to cooking, so I can enjoy it the most. (I cook with expeller-pressed coconut oil instead of vegetable oil [expeller-pressed coconut oil has NO COCONUT TASTE – in fact, like vegetable oil, it has no taste at all, yet is as good for you as vegetable oils are bad for you]. I save olive oil for raw use such as in salad dressings, since it’s not meant to be heated up.)
While it certainly contains a great deal of calories, and isn’t quite as raw as my beloved jersey milk back home, clotted cream is indeed a health food. The pastry and jam sandwiching it, however, are another story. Now I just need to come up with a grain-free sugar-free scone to act as a healthier vehicle for the clotted cream…
I’ll be back to regular posting in February. On the food-related to-do list while here in England:
- eat lots of pâté (found in abundance at the local grocer),
- experiment with goose fat for roasting vegetables (also procured from the local grocer), and
- visit the kitchens of Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace…
Updates to follow…