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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Brunch Watch: Whipped Cream

Easy Sweet Topping:
There is nothing more impressive than a cloudy dollop of homemade whipped cream. It is the perfect way to finish a stack of steaming, sticky French toast or smoothed over a simple cake (like the Basic Sweet Cake) dimpled with fresh berries. With only 3 ingredients it is one of the simplest ways to take a recipe from delicious to heavenly.

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2-3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract*

*clear is preferable to keep the cream as white and celestial as possible

1. Chill a deep bowl, a metal one if you have it. A chilly, high-sided metal vessel is the preferred environment for the cream.
2. Remove the chilled bowl from the freezer and pour in the cream.
3. Using a hand-held mixer beat the cream on medium-high until it begins to get frothy. It should thicken a little.
4. Add the sugar a tablespoon at a time, mixing well between spoonfuls. Add the vanilla extract and beat again. Be careful not to whip the cream too vigorously. Once it has reached that beautiful, semi-soft stage that is so idolized stop! Over beating the cream can cause it to be too stiff and, in extreme cases, whip it to sweet cream butter.
5. The cream will save for a day or two covered in the refrigerator but after that it will begin to break down and get watery. Stirring will deflate the cream as well so try to handle it as little as possible. It is best used immediately. Try it on a wedge of pie, a bowl of your favorite ice cream or spooned on top of a steaming cup of cafe au lait.

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