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Dec 10, 2007 05:17 AM

Different English Creams, Plus a Sugar Question

Some new English cookbooks I have refer to various different creams - whipping cream, single cream, double cream and I'm trying to figure out what to use here in the U.S. instead. Thought I'd seen a recent thread on this subject, but couldn't seem to find it.

I was about to ask questions about this, but this seems like a good resource:

Also, I had thought that "caster sugar" was the English term for American "granulated sugar", but that appears not to be the case:

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  1. Ruth I am a Brit living in America

    caster sugar is a finer ground sugar than granulated and there is no equivelent in the usa that I have found. It is not powdered (which we call icing sugar and yours in powdered sugar). I think you could grind granulated sugar a little and make it like caster sugar however I have not found any recipes to suffer using granulated sugar in place of caster.

    On to creams.
    England does not have whipping cream per se. To whip cream you must use double cream as single does not whip. Single is like pouring cream and double like heavy cream. There is also clotted cream which is boiled and has a layer of film over the top and is used mainly on desserts. You can also get Jersey cream (and milk) which is even thicker than double cream. Our creams are generally more yellow in colour than American creams
    American milks, creams and butters are very different from English dairy products which are generally richer with a higher fat content. We do not use the terms 1 or 2% they are known as skimmed and semi skimmed. Also, you cannot get sweet butter in England unless there is a way to get imported American butter, it is either salted, unsalted or slightly salted and does not come in sticks but in 250g slabs. Also be aware that English cups are larger than American.
    hope this is helpful.

    10 Replies
    1. re: smartie

      Thanks so much - and pouring cream - it's in the book (English edition of Second Helpings of Roast Chicken, along with the other three, called for in different recipes) too but I'd forgotten about it. I've gotten a couple of English editions of Simon Hopkinson's book, but also have one American one. The English one does actually have "whipping cream" in the recipes, and then the American one discusses various creams, but I'm wondering if it has been adjusted for the American market - as it mentions "light cream", which I find here, but not single or pouring. Now if I only had the English edition of Roast Chicken and Other Stories to check against!!

      I think I'll use that Waitrose guide to try to figure out the proper fat content so I use the right kind, as well.

      1. re: MMRuth

        It kinda sounds like that single cream would be more similar to half-n-half, maybe? And double cream being the heavy or whipping cream.

        1. re: spellweaver16

          Single cream is still a lot thicker than half-and-half.

          1. re: spellweaver16

            agree with cackalackie, single cream is still more viscous(I think that's the correct word) than half and half which is more like Jersey milk. Single cream is the one used either in coffee if you feel like having something fattening or poured onto pudding, However if you are making Irish Coffee you must used double cream because single cream sinks.

            1. re: spellweaver16

              In Canada, I generally see cream in three levels -- Whipping Cream at 35%, Table Cream at 18% and Half-n-Half at 10%

              This wikipedia entry shows the two different systems UK and US:

              It looks like Double Cream is creamier than anything we can buy retail here, while Single Cream is like Canadian table cream at 18%.

          2. re: smartie

            Smartie and Ruth,

            I am wondering if Castor sugar might be the same as superfine baking sugar? You can buy it at some larger stores and gourmet markets, but it is easily made in a food processor. Process it in for 30 seconds, or until reduced by approx 1/3.

            1. re: Kelli2006

              Just googled - looks like you are right:


              I don't think I've seen golden superfine sugar here though - I may need to process some turbinado instead.

              1. re: Kelli2006

                That's right - Caster Sugar = Superfine Sugar.

                Granulated sugar in the UK is much more coarse than in the USA. Granulated here in the US is a stage of fineness between British garnulated and caster.

                1. re: Kelli2006

                  You re absolutely right -- castor sugar is superfine sugar, often found in the alcohol aisle in U.S. supermarkets, as it's used in mixing cocktails.

                  Single cream is best achieved here in the U.S. by mixing equal parts whipping cream and half-and-half.

                  1. re: Kelli2006

                    You are correct. Castor sugar is superfine baking sugar here in the States. Its found on the grocery shelves in a cardboard box, shaped like milk used to be.

                2. I have seen golden caster sugar at both Dean & Deluca and Whole Foods Time/Warner. In my experience, sugar labeled "superfine" has always been white, but certain gourmet brands of sugar and baking products will have unbleached "caster" sugar.

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