25/08/2015 12:22 BST | Updated 25/08/2015 12:59 BST

How To Make The Perfect Cream Tea (Regardless Of Whether You Like It Devon Or Cornish-Style)

If you thought the cream tea debate began and ended with whether to serve it Devon or Cornish style, then boy, you got it wrong.

Food scientist and cream tea whiz kid Dr Stuart Farrimond has teamed up with Ascot's Festival of Food and Wine Race Weekend to calculate the perfect formula for creating an English cream tea.

According to Dr Farrimond, a cream tea should be constructed with a weight ratio of 4:3:3, which means that a 40g scone should be served with 30g of cream and 30g of jam.

"This is because the ratio achieves the ‘hedonic breakpoint’, the optimal sweetness for appreciating the flavours," he says.

cream tea

In non-scientist-speak, this means that the richness of the cream dilutes the sweetness of the jam and makes something reminiscent of a mouth orgasm, because when the cream and jam is combined with the scone, each mouthful features around 28% sugar.

Dr Farrimond says the ideal cream tea will be 4cm in height, with the scone reaching 2cm in height and topped with denser layers of jam and cream that are a centimetre each.

In terms of whether you put the jam or cream first, Farrimond has a method for this too.

"The Devonshire method (cream first) is easier, as it is more conducive to the loading of the respective toppings", he says.

"This is because even on a warm scone, the jam is not viscous enough to support the easy spreading of the cream on top."

Finally, Dr Farrimond concludes that the clotted cream and jam should always be served at room temperature to prevent unnecessary cooling of the scone.

The food scientist says that the scone should be assembled at different temperatures, dependent on the style of cream tea. So, for Devon-style cream teas (cream first) the scone should be served at around 50 degrees centigrade and the cream will then be ever-so-slightly runny.

Cornish cream teas should be served at a hotter temperature, around 70-90 degrees, because the jam acts as a layer of insulation and so this additional heat is required to achieve "partially liquefied cream".

We can't see our nans going for it, but who can argue with science?


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How to serve the perfect Devon cream tea

1. The scone should be cut within 20 minutes of taking it out of the oven.

2. Cream at room temperature should then be applied when the scone is hot to touch (50 degrees centigrade) and not before. Note: you should be very careful not to burn yourself, use oven gloves.

3. Jam, at room temperature, should then be added.

4. Wait one minute before eating to ensure optimum tasting temperature.

How to serve the perfect Cornish cream tea

1. The scone should be cut within 3-7 minutes of taking it out of the oven.

2. The jam, then the cream, should be applied immediately while the scone is still steaming and very hot to touch. Note: you should be very careful not to burn yourself, use oven gloves.

3. Wait approximately two minutes before eating to allow the scone to cool to optimum tasting temperature.

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