The cream of the crop: 15 cream-based recipes you have to try

5 varieties, endless options

Cream is the chameleon of the dairy world. With its ability to make hot dishes mild, give sauces an unbeatably indulgent texture and coat desserts under a blanket of gooey goodness, it’s inextricably linked to foodie decadence at its best.

Single and ready to mingle

Think of single cream as the step up from milk – you may not want it on your cereal but you probably do want it in your coffee. Importantly, this variety will not whip because of its fat content (just 18%) but it's great in lighter sauces or atop delicious desserts for a low-fat alternative to whipping cream. Cooked a curry that tastes hotter than intended? A splash of single will cool things down.

Scallops with sticky mango and saffron cream

Lemon grass, ginger, honey and mango combine to form a dish that’s elegant in both looks and taste. A trio of scallops – cooked to perfection, of course – rest on this fruity bed, given a little lavishness by the golden cream. Serve this starter at your next dinner party and you might find it’s your turn to host again soon.

Pomegranate soufflés with rose and raspberry cream

James Beard, American cook and author, once said, ‘The only thing that will make a soufflé fall is if it knows you’re afraid of it’. Well, with a layer of delightful cream fragranced by hints of rose and raspberry, this is one super soufflé you don’t need to fear.

Mini baklava cheesecakes

A foodie hybrid done right is a success story in terms of invention and taste. Traditional Arabic hints of cinnamon, orange blossom, walnuts and pistachios meet decadent cream cheese in a twist on two classic desserts.

Double trouble

Easy to use and much less likely to curdle or split because of a higher fat content (around 48%), this beauty is great for pouring on puds or whipping and piping for a delicate dessert. Tried our famous honey cake? If you thought these gorgeous layers couldn’t get any better, you were (almost) right. Serve with mango and lightly whipped cream dusted with finely crushed pistachios. De-light-ful.

Poached salmon with saffron cream sauce

A little similar to the scallop recipe mentioned above but with a doubly indulgent edge. This dish demands centre stage, and who are we to deny a diva?

Clementine cream pots with cinnamon and rye shortbread

A dip-and-dunk dessert with a buttery texture – the egg and soldiers of the sweet world. Got 25 minutes to spare? Use them wisely.

Coconut, strawberry and rosewater ice cream

Airy, sprightly flavours are ripe for richer puddings that require a lighter element to balance texture and this ice cream does just the trick.

Fraîche take

See crème fraîche as sour cream’s sibling – similar in texture, slightly milder in flavour. You’ll find it in dips, casseroles, soups and the occasional dessert. Half-fat is available, so you can still get the flavour you're looking for even if you’re watching your weight.

Truffled crostini with olives, capers and lemon crème fraîche

Look this way if you’re after the perfect pass-around canapé. The zesty, slightly acidic cream allows the saltiness of the olives and capers to really shine.

Smoked salmon Scotch egg with dill crème fraîche

Enjoyed on a picnic blanket, this classic is transformed into a suave affair with fancy smoked salmon and a luxe herby dip. We’ll let you in on a secret... there’s a little double cream in there too.

Lace pancake hearts with roasted rhubarb and ginger crème fraîche

It doesn’t have to be pancake Tuesday to enjoy these easy-to-make sweet treats – softened by the slightly sour flavour of crème fraîche, tart rhubarb gives this dish some bite. Doesn’t it look as pretty as a picture?

Sour power

Sour cream, our not-so-sweet friend, has a sharp edge which makes it delicious when dolloped on top of rich desserts. However, that’s not all it can be used for, as these savoury recipes show:

Loaded nachos with slow-cooked spiced beef

There’s one variety of cream and one variety only that will complete this dish. Jalapeños and spiced meat are cooled by a big spoonful of the good stuff.

Charred spring onion, sour cream and chive chilli cobbler

Doughy goodness rests on top of chilli for a truly satisfying treat. If you’ve had a long day at work, a stressful drive home or are simply in the market for a bit of comfort, this is the recipe for you.

Potted salmon, mackerel and horseradish

Sophisticated miniature pots make for sterling supper options – this is a dish with charm and an ability to be rightly quaint – imagine eating on rickety patio furniture in a pretty English garden while enjoying a cool, crisp breeze.

Potted dream

Cream teas would not be complete without a pot of clotted cream. Shamelessly indulgent, this luxurious offering is made by baking double cream until a delicious hard crust forms on the top; break this surface with nothing more than a teaspoon and you’ll find its velvety depths beneath.

Summer puddings with clotted cream centres

Vibrant pink sponges sing the tune of summer like no other. Tart berries and redcurrants are softened by the enveloping texture of clotted cream.

Galton Blackiston’s ultimate scones

Boil the kettle and brew a mug of spinneysFOOD English Breakfast Tea because we’ve just found you the perfect accompaniment. Porcelain cake stands were made for these golden sweet sandwiches; messy lathers of jam and hearty lashings of clotted cream provide the magical glue that hold the two halves together.

Pistachio and raspberry macaroons

Bright, dainty and incredibly moreish, these green rounds are both beautifully nutty and sweet. Their size makes it all too easy to have more than one, but don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone.

Spinneys’ dairy category manager Paul Crawford is mad for cream – particularly Britain’s number one organic brand Yeo Valley. Read about his recent ‘rising star’ nomination at the Soil Association BOOM Awards.