Create the Perfect Cream Tea with my useful tips and traditional recipes for scones and homemade strawberry jam. Perfect with a pot of freshly brewed tea, sandwiches and cakes.
With a Recipe for Traditional English Tea Time Scones
My post today is all about how Create the Perfect Cream Tea. A cream tea is a thing of beauty, a chance to dust off your best china, liberate your posh teapot and make fresh scones that are served with cream and home-made strawberry jam.
I like to set the scene with freshly starched linen, pretty glassware and antique silver spoons, although a cream tea is just as delectable when served at an old scrubbed wooden table, as I served this cream tea today.
I always have a few jars of home-made strawberry jam tucked away in the pantry and the promise of a cream tea is the perfect opportunity to open a new pot. Plus, if there is any left, then it’s spread liberally on toast for breakfast.
Fresh scones are so easy to rustle up and all you need to make sure is that you have some cream and fresh butter to hand, as well as some good loose tea, Ceylon is good, but a quality blended tea such as Yorkshire tea will also fit the bill.
To Create the Perfect Cream Tea I have shared one of my favourite recipes for Traditional English Tea Time Scones at the end of this post.
Although it’s lovely to set a table with a pretty tablecloth, and serviettes, a cream tea is just as lovely when served at the kitchen table, outside in the garden, or even on a picnic.
Set the Scene for your Cream Tea
Set the scene for you cream tea with just a few key ingredients and props. Tea is always best served from a tea pot, for that perfect cup of tea to accompany your scones, jam and cream.
I used my much-loved Indian Tree tea service last time I served a cream tea, as you can see from my photos in this post.
I inherited the Indian Tree tea set, as well as a dinner service from my paternal grandmother, and I love to use it for special occasions.
Place a small vase of flowers on the table, and decant your cream and jam into small bowls. You can place the butter in a butter dish, but I like to serve it in curls, on a small saucer.
Use some nice silver spoons and knives, as well as cups and saucers, and not mugs. I love drinking out of a cup and saucer, it feels more elegant and special.
Allow a small plate per person, with a knife and teaspoon, then place all the freshly baked scones onto a large serving platter, or a cake stand.
The traditional accompaniments for a cream tea are clotted cream, jam (usually strawberry), butter, a pot of tea with milk and sugar.
For an Afternoon Tea, you can also serve cakes, or a large cake such as a Victoria Sandwich, with sandwiches and maybe some homemade biscuits too.
If you want to go even further and make your cream tea a proper meal, then High Tea is a wonderful meal that is taken at about 5pm to 6pm. Expect eggs, ham, cheese, fresh bread and butter, crumpets as well as scones, cake and biscuits too.
Jam First or Cream First?
There has been a culinary war waging between Devon and Cornwall for years, about which comes first on a scone – jam or cream?
Personally, I side with HM the Queen, who prefers jam first on a scone! I think it provides a better base on which dollop the clotted cream on to.
The Cornish way of serving a cream tea is for jam first and then cream. And, in Devon you will be expected to dollop your cream on first, followed by lashings of jam.
However you decide to serve your cream tea, the combination of buttered scones with jam and cream is utterly sublime and will taste delectable.
To Butter or Not Butter?
The next contentious issue is whether you butter your scones or not? I like to butter mine, as it makes the scones moister, and not so dry, even when served with acres of jam and cream on them!
And, if the scones are served warm, then you get that melted butter texture, which adds to the enjoyment of the whole cream tea experience.
If you freeze your scones, and “freshen” them up in the oven after they’ve defrosted, then I think buttering them is best, but again, it’s down to personal taste.
More Scone and Cream Tea Recipes
- Small Batch Cream Tea Scones
- Wimbledon Pimm’s Cream Tea Recipes
- Recipes for National Cream Tea Day
- Low Calorie Vanilla Bean Scones for a Wimbledon Strawberries & Cream Tea
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Recipe for Traditional English Tea Time Scones
Traditional English Tea Time Scones
My recipe for Traditional English Tea Time Scones is an old recipe from a Be-Ro cookbook.
This is my default recipe for scones, a recipe that my mum uses as well as her mother before her, my maternal grandmother.
You can make these fruited or plain, the choice is yours.
Eat these hot, split & spread with fresh churned butter, fresh cream and homemade jam, preferably strawberry.
These always made an appearance on my Mum and Grandmother’s Afternoon Tea Table….it’s simply expected my dear!
You can also add dried fruit to these to make traditional fruit scones, such as sultanas, currants and raisins; I have added that option in the recipe.
The traditional English Cream Tea is very popular in the South West of England, especially in Devon and Cornwall.
In Cornwall, you will be offered a pot of tea with fluffy warm scones, butter, Cornish clotted cream and strawberry jam.
And, in Devon, you will be served double Devon cream, as well as scones, butter and jam.
Scones are best eaten on the same day, but they freeze well, and once defrosted can be freshened up in a warm oven for 2 to 3 minutes.
- PLAIN SCONES:
- 8 ounces (225g) self-raising flour
- Salt, to taste
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar ( superfine granulated)
- 2 ounces (50g) butter
- 1 egg, beaten and mixed with
- 1/4 pint (150ml) milk
- FRUIT SCONES:
- 3 ounces (75g) sultanas, raisins or currants
1. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl and add the sugar and butter.
2. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
3. Gradually mix in the egg and milk mixture to make a dough, saving any excess to glaze the tops of the scones. Add your fruit at this stage if using.
4. Gently knead the dough on a lightly floured work surface until smooth. DON'T over handle the dough.
5. Roll out the dough to about 3/4″ (2cm) thick, then cut out 2″ (5cm) rounds with a plain or fluted cutter, kneading and re-rolling the dough until it is all used up.
6. Arrange scones on baking sheets then brush tops with some milk.
7. Bake in the oven at 225°C (450°F) mark 8 for 8 to 10 minutes, until well risen and lightly golden. Cool on a wire rack.
8. To serve: Split the scones and fill with butter, jam and fresh cream.
Do not twist the cutter when stamping out the scones, as this stops them rising.
Substitute normal milk with buttermilk - this gives a lighter texture and better rise.
Brush the tops of the scones with beaten egg before baking, for a golden glaze.
Quartered glace cherries can be added for cherry scones.
Store the scones once cooled in an airtight tin. However, they are best eaten on the same day.
Fresh double cream or clotted cream, to serve ( heavy cream)
Jam, of your choice
Butter, to spread
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Scones Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 588Total Fat 2gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 23mgSodium 149mgCarbohydrates 128gFiber 6gSugar 27gProtein 15g
your cream tea looks superb. and such beautiful cups and saucers! and that lovely bright jam! ah yes the old which is first? jam or cream? jam then cream for me:)
These look terrific and I want to dive right in! Hey, I was wondering if the nutrition information is correct. 588 calories and 15 grams of protein looks a but high for one.
Corina Blum says
I love a good cream tea but haven’t made one to have at home for a long time. It’s definitely something I need to do this summer.
Karen Burns-Booth says
It’s definitely a summer treat
What a great post, we love a cream tea in our house. I’m definitely Devon, cream first then jam. However, my daughter is in agreement with you and the Queen first and always starts with the jam.
Karen Burns-Booth says
It makes me laugh about the cream first or jam first debate!
Nic | Nic's Adventures & Bakes says
Thanks for sharing, I have not had a full cream tea for a while, these scones look lovely 🙂
Karen Burns-Booth says
You can’t beat a good cream tea
Oh wow this looks delicious. I wish we had cream tea here over in Germany. I might just print out your guide and invite my neighbours.
Thanks for sharing this post at #cookblogshare.
Karen Burns-Booth says
Oh yes! Do let me know if you do this Marita.
What a lovely post Karen. I do love a good cream tea. Obviously the perfect cream tea for me is a Cornish one, but hey, I wouldn’t turn down one of your buttered scones for anything. And how gorgeous is that tea set? An heirloom to treasure for sure. I do agree, the best cream teas should be served in teacups from a teapot.
Kat (The Baking Explorer) says
Looks so delicious! My partner would definitely be on board with the buttered scones!
Karen Burns-Booth says
LOVE a cream tea so much Kat!