Agatha Christie clearly felt no shame when it came to her food addiction: she loved cream, and all of Devon county knew it. “Agatha was very fond of food – she was passionate about cream,” the local vicar’s daughter remembered. ”She would have it by the cupful. She would have a cup of cream by her typewriter.”
Even Christie’s fictional characters couldn’t escape the obsession. Miss Marple is similarly famed for her love of cream, and even the picky Hercule Poirot partakes. Christie made minor attempts to curb her appetite, to no avail. “She used to drink cream from a huge cup with ‘Don’t be greedy’ written on the side, an injunction she never showed any sign of obeying,” her grandson Mathew recalled. Frankly, I think that anyone who has a designated cream-sipping cup is fighting a losing battle with willpower, but I’m the one with a personal bag of chocolate chips in the pantry, so who am I to judge?
There was only one person who had control over Christie’s dessert intake: her butler. George Gowler oversaw the elaborate two-hour dinner parties at Greenway, Christie’s country estate. But instead of letting her choose the menu for the final course, Gowler would randomly assign everyone a different plate of fruit – a game of dessert roulette – allowing guests to choose their favorite dish only once a week. Just imagine the writer sipping her cream and writing gruesome plots of murders and mystery.
Here is the recipe for Agatha Christie’s favourite treat:
24 ounces (3 cups) heavy cream (not ultra-pasteurized) 1.
In an oven: Preheat oven to 180°F. Pour cream into a 8- by 10-inch baking dish, and cover with foil. Heat 8 to 10 hours, until a dark yellow film forms on top.
In a slow-cooker: Pour cream into the crock of the slow-cooker. Heat on “warm” 10 to 12 hours, until a dark yellow film forms on top.
Transfer pan/crock, still covered, to a countertop until it reaches room temperature. Refrigerate overnight, or at least 8 hours.
Skim solid top layer into a small bowl or glass jar. Stir well, until clotted cream reaches a smooth consistency. Reserve remaining cream for cooking or baking.