Cream tea: a scone with clotted cream, preserves and tea. Photo by Kristian Septimius Krogh | IST.




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April 2008
Updated July 2012

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Bread Products

The History Of Scones

Page 2: What Is Clabber Cream, Clabbered Creme, Clotted Cream Or Devon Cream


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Clotted Cream

The natural mate for scones is clotted cream, also called clabbered creme and clabber cream (clabber is an archaic word for a cupboard or pantry). It is a thick, yellowish, cooked cream product that originated in the counties of Devon and Cornwall in Southwest England (hence the name Devon cream for the same product produced in Devon).

Clotted cream is produced by cooking the cream of cow breeds known for their high-fat milk (like Jerseys). Traditionally, the cream was skimmed from the top of the milk and gently heated in shallow copper pans for at least an hour, until the cream rose to the surface in “clots” and developed a rich, golden crust. Today’s commercial products are packaged in jars, without the encrusted top layer.

Clotted Cream
Clotted cream and Devon cream are available from

Either way, clotted cream is as thick as soft butter, but it tastes like cream. While it has a minimum of 55% butterfat, it also is an excellent source of calcium, folic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, riboflavin, vitamins A, B12 and D and zinc. Devon cream, or double Devon cream, is virtually the same product with slightly less butterfat (48%).

Clotted cream is made in other cultures, for different culinary uses. In India, it is called malai. In the Middle East and former Turkish Empire countries, it is called kajmak. In Mongolia, it is called öröm, and is added to salted tea.

See more butter and cream terms in our Butter Glossary.

Modern Scones

In the U.K., plain or currant scones are traditionally served with afternoon tea. First, the scones are spread with jam or lemon curd, then topped with a dollop of clotted cream. This is known as cream tea or Devonshire tea. In the U.S., where afternoon tea is a rare event, scones have joined muffins and croissants as a breakfast/brunch bread alternative, and as a snack bread. Plain and savory scones are substituted for other breads at lunch and dinner.

Today, one can find recipes for more varieties of scones than there is time to bake them. There are buttermilk scone recipes, chocolate scones (and scones filled with chocolate chunks), treacle scones (with cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and treacle, or blackstrap molasses), glazed and frosted scones (borrowing a page from the doughnut play book) and savory variations like cheddar-dill and Parmesan-garlic scones.

Whatever your fancy, scones, essentially a sweet biscuit (but for the savory varieties), are best enjoyed at breakfast or brunch, and, of course, at afternoon tea. Substituting heavy cream for the butter and eggs in a traditional scone recipe will produce a moist, light scone, similar to a cream biscuit. A moist scone can be split like a shortcake biscuit, topped with berries and whipped cream and served for dessert.

For some of our favorite scone mixes and recipes, visit the main page of our Bread Products section.


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