Sunday, May 10, 2009

You can make it: whipped cream!

I was going to show you how to make your very own butter tonight. But found out, as I assembled the necessary tools, that my food processor is broken! Darn, that means I have to buy a new one. :) Instead, I'm going to show you how incredible easy it is to make whipped cream. I make my own rather than buy because (a) store bought is horrendous tasting, (b) store bought is full of sugar and I'm diabetic (though I don't always behave like it), and (c) it's so incredibly easy, you'll never go back once you try it out.

I actually started making my own when I was in the midst of the South Beach diet several years back. I wanted something to put on berries in the spring and summer, on top of sugarless angel food cake. I loved it!

So, here we go! You'll need:

  • 1/2 pint of heavy whipped cream (I recommend organic and the best you can afford - I love Straus Family Creamery)
  • Sugarless sweetener to taste (I use about 1/2 packet of Equal or a teaspoon of Splenda - I like mine not really sweet)
  • A splash of vanilla (again, the best you can afford - it makes a difference!)

Might seem obvious, but just in case - check the date of your cream before buying, and then before using! I always give mine a nice shake before opening up, so that any of the fat solids that may have separated to the top mix in with the rest of the cream.

If you're smarter than me, you'll chill your beaters and bowl ahead of time. I always forget. In any event, pour about half the bottle (I hate to measure - I cook like my grandmothers!) into the bowl. For you purists, one half pint = one cup.

Add your sweetener or sugar (you can start light and add more later, at the first taste test). It doesn't take a lot!

Add your PURE vanilla extract. It doesn't have to cost a lot and a little bit goes a long way!

Assemble your blender and put the beaters in before you turn it on; otherwise, you may be wiping down cream from the kitchen walls, counter and yourself!

Turn your blender on - the lowest setting to start! We beat this to incorporate air into the cream. Whipped cream isn't much more than cream with a lot of air. Start out slow and watch as your cream mixture transforms. Lots of bubbles are normal right now: air.

When your cream starts looking like pancake batter (thicker and more substantial), time for a taste test!

Well, it's a spoon taste disguised as a taste test. Dip a clean spoon into your semi whipped cream. Is the cream sticking on the spoon or slipping right off? If the former, you're nearing the final push. If the latter, you have some more whipping to do. Either way, give it a taste. Sweet enough? Back to whipping! Not quite, add a little more sugar/sweetener.

In either case, move your blender setting up, so that you're incorporating more air at a faster speed. But keep an eye on your cream! It doesn't take much to go from whipped cream to butter cream to butter. You're looking for soft peaks.

I'll share with you that I'm always worried that I'll blow it and end up with butter cream. So this is the stage that I really focus on. Soft peaks means that peaks that you form in the whipped cream with your beaters stay peaked, but with nice soft edges. Just like above! Similarly, if you dip a spoon in, the whipped cream shouldn't slip off at all and the peaks should stay put. Just like below!

Honestly, you could beat a little more than this - I like my whipped cream very soft. If that seems a little too "raw" for you (as a friend of mine once so colorfully said), you could beat for a wee bit more for a more "done" whipped cream.

You can lovingly plop it upon berries or cake or an ice cream sundae! You should store it in the fridge, sealed up tightly. I love to grate a little fresh nutmeg on the top of mine - heaven!

I hope that if you haven't tried making your own whipped cream before, you're now inspired to try it out! Let me know how it goes in the comments below!

1 comment:

Summer said...

Mmmm...nutmeg sounds great! I actually rarely put any sweetener in my whipped cream, the vanilla is usually enough! However, if the food you're putting it on isn't sweet, it probably would be best. :)