When I was a little girl, I didn’t know cool whip existed. Every Thanksgiving, my mom would make fruit salad with whipped cream. I grew up knowing the tricks: chill the bowl, make sure it’s clean, etc. Nowadays, they add stabilizers to the cream we buy in the grocery store that helps it whip and stay whipped, but I still think knowing the old school tips is important to avoid a runny mess instead of billowing peaks of sweet cream.
First, when you go to the store to buy whipping cream, you’ll notice a few different types. There is “Whipping Cream” which is 30% butterfat. It will whip just fine if you use the tips I’ll share, but it takes longer, and doesn’t hold up as well in the fridge (like for leftover pumpkin pie). It tends to deflate and separate a little. But, it still works. Heavy Cream or Heavy Whipping Cream has a higher butterfat content. It whips easily and hold up better for longer lengths of time. You may see “Bavarian Style” Heavy Whipping Cream. This is Heavy whipping cream with added sugar and vanilla flavorings. You may also see a difference in pasteurization. Cream comes in pasteurized and ultra-pasteurized. The better choice is pasteurized. Ultra-pasteurized is not as stable once whipped, but can stay in your fridge for longer. Unless you plan to buy cream in bulk and store it in your fridge for many months, there is no reason to buy the ultra-pasteurized. Also, the normal pasteurized has better flavor and texture.
When it comes to whipping, it’s all about two things: cold and clean. Any oil in your bowl or on your beaters will impede the cream from whipping. Also, the colder your cream, bowl and beaters, the quicker the process. If you have a metal bowl, you can stick it in the fridge or freezer while prepping other food item to speed up the whipping process. It’s important to watch the cream while whipping. If you whip it too long, it turns to butter (yep, that’s what butter is, churned cream). If real whipped cream is new to you, understand that it is not sweetened (unless you get the bavarian style). You can add powdered sugar to it, a little at a time, while whipping, until it’s desired sweetness. You can also add honey or liquid extracts while whipping to flavor it.
On to the whipping!! Easy: pour it in a bowl, beat on highest speed until thick. Knowing what “thick” means is the trick, and comes with practice. Hopefully, my pictures will help you.
Pour cream into your bowl (clean and cold). Be sure you have a large bowl. Cream can up to quadruple it’s volume when whipped.
Turn your beaters onto the highest speed. Following are pictures taken at various stages:
At this point, you may think it’s done. Keep going until it looks like this:
See how strong the structure is? It piles up in little mounds, but isn’t butter (yet). That’s what you want it to look like.
Here is another view of how it looks on the beaters:
It’s thick, but still “drips” in it’s form.
The form is right, it’s mounding instead of dripping, but is still pretty soft.
See the difference in the thickness? It holds it’s shape, and doesn’t fall through the beaters. that’s what you want. The trick is to not keep going and make butter. If you do, throw some salt and honey in it and make cornbread for dinner!