Junket is the dish of Devon,
A better dish is hard to find,
This is everyone’s opinion,
Excepting those who’re out of mind.
To mention ‘clouted’ cream without junket is akin to fish without chips, and I can only too well remember the Sunday ‘junkit’ and ‘craime’. Sadly one seldom comes across Junket especially when eating out and I think there should be a revival. How can one describe junket? Well it looks like a cross between a thin jelly and a blamanche and tastes in a way like those milk gums that came in the shape of bottles – bitter-sweet I suppose. It always came accompanied with clotted cream and occasionally strawberries or raspberries but what epicurean delights it provided. Probably my fondest memory was after the harvest festival auction when granddad had secured the sheaf loaf, supper would consist of the bread sliced and spread with beef dripping and then there was always junket for dessert. Junket would attend virtually every party or gathering and some of the shows had junket making competitions. A saying I will always remember is that “the marriage of junket and clotted cream is one of the most blissful of unions”.
Junket and clouted craime
It seemed to disappear around the time that the instant desserts such as Angel Delight were introduced and then the younger mothers, mine included, tend to used the ‘new fangled’ mixer and the packet mixes – thank god for grandmother, at least the Junket survived for a few more years. Sometimes you might hear of a type of Junket called ‘Damask Cream’, now whether that came from the rose water that was added I know not.
So how was junket made? simple go round to Gran’s on a Sunday and there it would be, she always said the piskies left it on the doorstep. We new that wasn’t true because the farm cats would have eaten it. Failing that –
You will need:
1 pint of full cream milk
1 tablespoon of caster sugar – the finer the better.
1 tablespoon of brandy
1 freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon of rennet*
1) Warm the milk to blood temperature (98.4ºF/37ºC).
2) Blend the sugar and brandy in a separate bowl and then pour on the warmed milk.
3) Add the rennet and place the junket in a cool place – it used to be the dairy shelf.
4) When set sprinkle on the ground nutmeg and serve with lashings of clotted cream.
* Just to really make your mouth water, Rennet contains an enzyme called rennin which acts as a coagulant with the milk. It used to come from the abomasums or fourth stomach of a milk calves. I do however believe that a vegetarian equivalent is available for the squeamish.
If you want the Damask Cream, simply add 2 teaspoons of rosewater to the warmed milk. Then let it set and just before serving mix 1 teaspoon of rose water with the cream and apply liberally. If you want to ‘ponce’ around then sprinkle a few rose petals around the dish for stunning effect – but don’t expect that on Dartmoor.