Summer has definitely arrived. Here in the South the days are long and both the temperature and the humidity levels are firmly in the 90s.
Across the pond the last couple of weeks have seen the tennis at Wimbledon when my thoughts automatically turn to the vast amount of strawberries and cream that would have been consumed during the two weeks of the Championships, washed down with copious amounts of champagne and Pimm’s.
Strawberry season is long gone in the South but I can still temporarily transport myself back to the English summertime with a traditional cream tea of scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream.
Like many English food traditions the exact origins of the cream tea are lost in time and the south western counties of Devon and Cornwall both argue that their versions are true and original. They even disagree on whether the jam or the cream should go on the scone first (cream first in Devon, jam first in Cornwall).
For the uninitiated, clotted cream is another creation of south west England, a delicious spreadable cream, rich in fat, made by gently heating full fat cow’s milk and then skimming off the thick creamy crust that forms on top as it cools. It is commercially available in the UK but can be hard to find in the USA. Luckily you can make at home with a little patience.
Scones, strawberry jam, clotted cream. A wonderful trinity of delicious ingredients and when thinking about cream teas I couldn’t resist the thought of transforming them into a bite sized treat. The English summer in a single truffle.
First you need to assemble your ingredients. For scones, my go-to recipe is this one from River Cottage. River Cottage is also the recipe source for the jam I make every strawberry season, from their excellent book, “The River Cottage Preserves Handbook”.
You can make your own clotted cream by gently heating cream and scraping off the thick crust that forms on top as it cools. The key is gently heating it without boiling it, so it can be done in a low oven, a slow cooker or on a stove top in a double boiler. I went the double boiler route, using this recipe for guidance.
It is then simply a case of combining the scones, strawberries and clotted cream with chocolate to give you a delicious taste of summer.
Cream Tea Truffles with Scones, Strawberries and Clotted Cream
2oz clotted cream
2oz strawberry jam
3oz white chocolate
6oz milk chocolate (to coat)
Crumble the scone into a bowl. Add the strawberry jam and clotted cream and stir to combine.
Gently melt the white chocolate over medium heat in a double boiler or a glass bowl over a pan of water. Once melted add it to the scone / jam / cream mixture and stir together. When cool, place in the refrigerator until the mixture is firm.
Taking a teaspoon full of the mixture at a time, roll into balls to form the centres of the truffles. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then return to the fridge to firm up again.
Melt the milk chocolate for the coating in a double boiler. Dip the truffle centres in the melted chocolate to coat and place on baking parchment to set before enjoying.
Yield: 18 truffles