Scones: Cream First or Jam? The Ultimate High Tea Question!

We were on holiday in Cornwall and had stopped in a lovely café for a Cream Tea. It was the first time my then 6 year old son had Devonshire or Cornish cream.

 What would he think? I have to admit that as a tea enthusiast I was hoping he would like it.

 “This is delicious!” he exclaimed.  He still remembers it and the experience has been repeated on many holidays around Britain.

 The practise of enjoying scones in the full British sense is with Strawberry Jam and Clotted Cream. It’s sometimes called Cornish cream because it’s made from dairy produced in Cornwall. If the cream is from Devon then it’s Devonshire Cream. Either way, it’s absolutely divine.

 I encourage you to not settle for second best – whipped cream.  There’s no denying that any cream with jam is wonderful – but only clotted cream will really elicit a true, ‘This is Delicious!’

 But the question still remains; which goes on the scone first? A BBC crew went into a café in Devon to see what the local people did and half the people in the cafe adamantly put the jam on first while the rest of the customers were committedly putting the cream on first. You can read about the dilemma here.

 In our house it’s all about how easy it is to eat the scone. Personally, I find the jam easier to spread and the cream is delicious as a dollop on top. So do what you like, but be sure it’s clotted cream and enjoy!


 How to Make Your Own Clotted Cream

Time needed: 24 hours

Oven temperature: 180 F

    • 3 pints raw heavy cream (not pasteurized – though it might work with semi-pasteurized)

Pour the heavy cream into a long rectangular pyrex baking dish. The dish has to be glass. Metal does not work. Then you put it in the oven and allow it to bake for 12 hours. That’s not a typo, it has to go for 12 hours low and slow.

Once it’s ready take it out of the oven, allow it to cool completely before you put it in the refrigerator. Then you have to allow it to cool in the refrigerator for 8 hours minimum.

You will notice a very thin, buttery crust that forms on the top of the clotted cream. That’s completely normal – and it’s delicious. After that, it’s ready!

With thanks to Vanessa L. Magnotta for the recipe!


Teresa Barker

Teresa Barker

Ever since she was a little girl, Teresa has loved looking at fine china and some of her prominent childhood memories are about the beautiful patterns on the china tableware in the homes she would visit! She's been living in Great Britain for 13 years, along with her husband and three children.