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Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.
Today: The only tricks you need to know to make perfect whipped cream.
In the world of desserts, whipped cream sleeps around. It spends a night with icebox cake, then, in a genius move, it sidles up next to cake. It goes for pumpkin pie and also this sorbet and then these leggy, tipsy, honeyed figs. Whipped cream can be anything you want it to be.
It may be sly and people-pleasing, but it's also a little irresistible. Which is exactly why you need to know all of the tricks to whipping it quickly, effectively -- and for doing so often.
Chill everything, and take no prisoners.
Before you start whipping, chill everything short of your whisking hand. This means: the heavy whipping cream, the whisk, and even your bowl if it'll fit, go into the fridge to get all frosty. (If you forget, just toss everything in the freezer for a few minutes.) If the cream is warm, its fat has more trouble stabilizing, so cold cream will whip up much faster, and your arm won't get nearly as tired.
Be wary of over-whipping.
After the cream starts to fluff up, flip your whisk upside down while it still has whipped cream on it -- if the cream just barely slouches back onto itself, you're done. If your peaks get any stiffer than this, you're on your way to butter (good for toast, not so much for your pumpkin pie).
Pick your method.
We're the whisking kind (Haven't you heard? We've even been known to use forks.), but if you'd rather take the easy way out, you have options. The whisking attachment on your stand mixer works like a dream, as will any standard electric mixer. If you have neither -- or if you want to surprise your guests a little bit -- use your food processor.
For this method, chill just the cream and dump it into the bowl of the food processor. Let it do its thing for barely a minute, et voilà, perfect whipped cream.
Sweeten it up.
If you want to add sugar or any flavorings -- think maple syrup, vanilla, baking spices -- to your whipped cream, do it the moment after the cream starts to emulsify and thicken up. At this point the cream is sturdy enough to hold your additions, but you'll still have some whipping to do -- which will incorporate everything thoroughly.
Whatever you do, always remember to taste test. Twice.
Photos by James Ransom