Smooth, creamy, decadent whipped fresh cream – could there be a better way to top off your delicious pies, cobblers, shortcakes, puddings and sundaes? We don’t think so. That’s why today, National Whipped Cream Day, we’ve chosen to show you just how easy it is to whip up your own homemade whipped toppings using fresh cream and add some customized flavorings to enhance your desserts.
Buying the Right Cream for the Job
Half-and-Half: mixture of equal parts milk and cream, 10 to 12 percent milk fat and it can NOT be whipped.
Light Cream: AKA coffee or table cream, this contains 18 to 30 percent milk fat and can NOT be whipped.
Whipping Cream: contains 30 to 36 percent milk fat and sometimes stabilizers and emulsifiers. Whipping cream can be whipped and will double in volume when whipped to stiff peaks.
Heavy Cream: AKA heavy whipping cream, is whipping cream that contains 36 to 40 percent milk fat. Heavy cream can be whipped and will double in volume when whipped to stiff peaks. It makes the richest, creamiest whipped cream.
Whipped Cream in Pressurized Cans: a mixture of cream, sugar, stabilizers, emulsifiers and nitrous oxide gas. You don’t have to do a thing except shake the can and squirt it out but doesn’t taste anywhere near as good as homemade whipped fresh cream.
Non-dairy Dessert Toppings: typically made with hydrogenated vegetable oils and have absolutely no cream in them. Usually contain sodium caseinate, which is a milk product so check the labels carefully.
Whipping creams are readily available is all local grocery stores such as local Safeway and Cosentino’s. Just always buy the freshest cream available and remember to check the expiration dates!
Tips for the Creamiest, Lightest Whipped Cream
- Cream should be very cold before whipping.
- Use a deep mixing bowl and keep in mind that the cream will double in volume when whipped so choose an appropriately-sized bowl.
- Place the bowl and beaters you are going to use to whip the cream in the freezer for 5 – 10 minutes before adding the cream to the bowl to whip.
- Begin by whipping the cold cream at a moderate speed. Soft peaks will begin to mound when dropped from the beaters. At this point, you want to add the sweeteners (if using) and/or other flavoring ingredients. You’ll get more volume if you wait until this soft-peak point to add sweeteners and flavorings.
- Continue beating, gradually increasing speed to high, until medium to stiff peaks form. Medium peaks retain the marks of the beaters and will hold a soft peak that droops over lightly on top of the peak. Stiff peaks will form distinct mounds that hold their shape.
- Caution: be careful not to overbeat the cream as, like egg whites, cream can be overbeaten. It will begin to develop a granular appearance then lumps will form and, if you continue whipping, it will turn into butter. If you accidentally overbeat the cream and it starts to turn buttery, gently STIR in additional cream, 1 tablespoon at a time. Whatever you do, don’t beat the cream again or you will once again have butter.
Some Whipped Cream Flavor Ideas
Vanilla Whipped Cream: typical homemade whipped cream is made by whipping heavy cream together with a little powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Depending on how sweet you like your whipped cream, start by adding 1 – 2 tablespoons powdered sugar per 2 cups of heavy cream. 1 teaspoon of extract is usually enough to add good flavor to your whipped cream without overpowering it. Vanilla Whipped Cream is good on just about anything. Try in on this Fresh Fruit Cake.
Chocolate Whipped Cream: sprinkle 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder in when you add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Chocolate Whipped Cream is especially tasty on sundaes (see Host a Sundae Bar), cherry pies, strawberry shortcake and Nutella Crepes.
Rum Whipped Cream: simply substitute rum extract for the vanilla. Delicious on bread pudding and Eggnog Waffles!
Honey Ginger Whipped Cream: substitute honey for the powdered sugar and add 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. Excellent served over warm peach cobbler or Fresh Peach Waffles!
Espresso Whipped Cream: sprinkle in 1/2 – 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder along with the powdered sugar and vanilla for a whipped topping that is perfect for dark chocolate brownies, hot chocolate or any espresso drink, such as lattes or cappuccinos. Try it on Mexican Mocha Chocolate Pudding.
Maple Whipped Cream: substitute maple syrup for the sugar and maple extract for the vanilla. Top off these Malted Waffles or Cream of Wheat Pancakes with this tasty whipped cream.
Brown Sugar Cinnamon Whipped Cream: substitute brown sugar for the powdered sugar and add 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and a pitch of ground nutmeg. Brown Sugar Cinnamon Whipped Cream adds an easy gourmet touch to Pumpkin Pie and just about any fruit crisp or cobbler, such as Apple Dumpling Cobbler.
Almond Whipped Cream: substitute along extract for the vanilla and top off with a few toasted sliced almonds. Good on everything! Try it on Carrot Cake Ice Cream!
Use your imagination, experiment and have fun with different flavorings such as lemon or strawberry extracts, maybe add a little Chambord (raspberry liqueur). Or try a savory whipped cream to top off vegetables, soups or quiches:
Savory Whipped Cream: omit sweeteners and vanilla. Add salt and pepper to taste, a pinch of ground nutmeg and stir in some finely chopped fresh herbs, such as dill, parsley, basil – whatever you like and goes with the dish your topping. A savory whipped cream made with salt, pepper, finely chopped fresh dill and capers would be delicious served on this Savory Salmon Cheesecake.
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