Every week, baking expert Alice Medrich will be going rogue on Food52 -- with shortcuts, hacks, and game-changing recipes.
Today: Think you know everything about whipping cream? Think again. Alice has 5 smart tips to make your holiday desserts even better.
Whipped cream may be the easiest and best choice for topping or filling many desserts: it takes seconds to make and you can sweeten to your taste, or not at all. Whipped cream is deliciously neutral; it accentuates the flavor of whatever you put it on! It makes chocolate taste even more chocolaty and adds a creamy counterpart to tart and tangy fruit desserts.
Alice's 5 Rules for Better Whipped Cream
1. Use heavy whipping cream. The best and freshest tasting cream is not ultra-pasteurized or sterilized, or stabilized with carrageenan. If possible, find the brand that has only one ingredient: cream.
2. Cream must be very cold to whip properly. If you’ve just brought it home from an extended trip to the store, refrigerate the cream for a while again before you whip it. Cream that isn’t cold enough may not whip at all, or it may curdle when you whip it. For extra insurance: chill the bowl and beaters before whipping the cream.
3. You can sweeten the cream with plain granulated or powdered sugar. I prefer granulated sugar because I don’t like the feel and flavor of the starch that’s in the powdered sugar, but this is up to you. Taste and adjust the sugar towards the end of beating because cream tastes less sweet when it’s fluffy than when it’s fluid.
4. Whipped cream can be thick and stiff or soft and flowing, or anywhere in between: this is up to you! However, cream that is too stiff feels grainy from the specks of butter -- so don’t go too far.
5. If you plan to pipe whipped cream with a pastry bag or spread it over a cake for filling or frosting, or fold it into another mixture, always whip it less stiff than you want it to be. Cream continues to stiffen as you pipe it, spread it, or fold it: if you begin with stiff cream, you will end with granular over-whipped cream by the time you are finished.
Alice's new book Seriously Bitter Sweet is a complete revision of her IACP award-winning Bittersweet, updated for the 54%, 61%, and 72% (and beyond) bars available today. It's packed with tricks, techniques, and answers to every chocolate question, plus 150 seriously delicious recipes -- both savory and sweet.
Photo by James Ransom