Thursday, July 21, 2011

Whipped Cream

Freshly whipped cream is ultra delicious.  As a topping or filling, whipped cream can be used to enhance or accompany many desserts.  What would a warm cobbler, a well made shortcake or a slice of pie be without a dollop of whipped cream?  While it's tempting to pick up a can of those ready to squeeze containers at the store, avoid them because they contain syrups & other stabilizers.  Look in the refrigerated dairy case of your local supermarket or farmer's market and pick up a container of heavy cream instead. 

Since you have a few options at the supermarket, there are two types of cream that you should be aware of if you want to whip it for desserts.  The readily available whipping cream is made up of 30% butterfat and is always ultra-pasteurized; this process heats the milk up to a certain temperature in order to kill any bacteria (good and bad) and is then cooled, thus extending its shelf life.  Although it will whip up, it doesn't hold it's shape very well.  If you have a well-stocked supermarket, they will also offer heavy cream or heavy whipping cream which is made up of 36%-38% butterfat.  This whips up beautifully and holds it shape quite firmly.  It is the cream of choice at my house if I want to dollop a dessert with it or if I want to fill a cake for a special occasion.  The technique for whipping cream is fast, simple & doesn't require much effort.


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All you need is a stainless steel bowl, a balloon whisk, the cream & a bit of sugar.  Your bowl & whisk should be thoroughly chilled.  I put them in the freezer for at least 15 minutes before getting started.  I prefer whipping cream by hand rather than using my stand mixer or handheld mixer, because I have more control.

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For every 1 cup of cream:
  •  1-2 tablespoons superfine sugar, granulated sugar or  vanilla sugar  
            or
  • 1-4 tablespoons 10x/confectioner's sugar: this type of sugar will make the whipped cream a bit more stable because of the cornstarch.  It will prevent it from weeping.

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Place the cold heavy cream in your chilled bowl & begin whipping vigorously with a balloon whisk.  Add the sugar in a steady stream as it starts to thicken.

 
Softly Whipped Cream
You get to this stage in a matter of seconds.


Note: if you want to hold your whipped cream for a few hours in the refrigerator, you should stop whipping at this point.  You can always continue with the steps below when you're ready to serve the whipped cream.  
Medium Soft Peaks

In just under one minute or so you reach this stage.  It is perfect for dolloping onto a cobbler or pie.  If you're going to use it as a filling for a cake or jelly roll, you should stop whipping at this point.   


Stiff Peaks

Stiff peaks also work for slices of pie, a helping of cobbler or crisp, a bit of jello or for that summer shortcake.


You really ought to be careful and stop whipping by now.  Stiff peaks are achieved in about one minute, so it's important for you to pay special attention.  If you overwhip, the cream will begin to separate, get grainy & will start turning into butter.  Any further handling of the whipped cream (like spreading on cake layers or forcing it through a piping bag) at this point, will break it down even more.  My advice is to stop whipping just before you get to stiff peaks.


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If you're going to take the time to bake a pie for your family and friends or are perhaps thinking of making shortcakes with the summer's bounty, why not provide some freshly whipped cream?  You can see that it takes no time at all and the results are well worth it.  Although I don't indulge in whipped cream regularly, it is something I like to have when I want to make a dessert even more special.  If you're lucky enough to have a farmer's market nearby that provides fresh dairy products, take a closer look at what they have to offer. 

Enjoy it and cheers!

2 comments:

  1. great, really appreciate the pictures showing the difference between soft peaks and stiff peaks. thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wonderful! I'm glad you appreciate it. One of my goals for this blog is to demistify & show visually what a recipe means when they try to explain something.

    ~David~

    ReplyDelete

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