Clotted cream is a thick yellow cream made by heating unpasteurized cow's milk and then leaving it in shallow pans for several hours. During this time, the cream content rises to the surface and forms 'clots'.
When clotted cream is not commercially available, a reasonable copy may be made by combining two parts whole milk with one part whipping (heavy) cream, heating at the very lowest possible heat for a couple of hours until a skin forms, leaving it undisturbed overnight, and then harvesting the skin and its underclots. The remaining milk may be consumed or used in any number of recipes.
In the European Union, Cornish clotted cream is a protected designation of origin (PDO) for cream produced by the traditional recipe in Cornwall. True Cornish clotted cream must be made from unpasteurized milk or the clots will not form. It has a minimum fat content of 55%.
Clotted cream is generally served as part of a cream tea (known as a Devonshire Tea in Devon) on (warm) scones with strawberry or raspberry jam. In Devon, the cream is traditionally used instead of butter, with the jam spread on top of the cream - as in the photo; in Cornwall the jam is spread first because the runny substrate of Cornish clotted cream would make the Devonian method of service impossible to achieve without looking messy.
While there is no doubt of its strong association with South West England, it is not clear whether clotted cream first originated in Devon or Cornwall. While strong claims have been made on behalf of both there is a lack of documentary evidence to support them.
Its principal high-volume manufacturer in the UK is Rodda's based in Scorrier, Cornwall, but in southwest England its manufacture is also a cottage industry, with many farms and dairies producing cream for sale in local outlets.
In Mongolian cuisine, clotted cream is called Öröm. It is added to salted tea or eaten in small pieces as a snack. In a modern household, it also sometimes serves as a replacement for butter on a slice of bread.
Indian Malai is very similar to clotted cream, and is produced in much the same way.
Kaymak (or Kajmak) is also similar to clotted cream. It is made all over the Middle East, Southeast Europe, Iran, Afghanistan, India and Turkey. Kaymak is made from the milk of Water Buffaloes in the East or cows in the West.