There is and will not be a commercial substitute comparable to homemade whipped cream. It is essential to decorate desserts and drinks, basic filling of sweets such as the roscón de Reyes or the gypsy arm; That is why it is worth the little effort to prepare it at home. You know how to make perfect whipped cream, hard and stable? With this step-by-step guide you will always be flawless.
I am still fascinated by how the liquid cream almost magically transforms into a thick and smooth cream, creamy, fluffy and absolutely delicious. Of course, the process is not magical: factors such as the percentage of fat, temperature and the laws of physics are involved. But whipping cream is very easy if you know the essential steps and how to avoid the most frequent mistakes.
In order to mount cream we will need 250 gr of cream and 100 gr of sugar. Sugar is really a matter of taste. The cream will mount with more or less sugar indistinctly. Then we must think about how we are going to whip the cream, by hand? With an electric mixer? or with a siphon?
What cream to use?
The only really essential element is the liquid whipping cream. Yes, it seems like a no-brainer, but no one is born knowing anything about cooking and we have all been newbies at some time.
Specifying a little more, it is advisable to stop and read the labels of all the variety to assemble that we find in the supermarket. Flavor is essential, so it is better to choose a brand that we like and transmits confidence. What’s more, the higher the percentage of fat, the better you will ride and it will hold with more stability.
The minimum fat we need to whip cream is 32%, but I recommend look for brands that offer more than 35%, being ideal a cream with 38% fat. It is precisely this fat that will “mount” by the action of the rods. It does not make much sense to look for a “light” cream or Light.
We can, yes, choose lactose-free cream if we have intolerance; today there are several brands that offer this alternative. They are actually products to which lactase is added so that lactose intolerant people can digest it, but for practical purposes the result is the same.
I don’t like cloying whipped cream and I try to use very little sugar, but it depends on the taste and how we are going to use it. The cream can also be flavored with different ingredients, and we also have the option of resorting to a special stabilizer that will facilitate its handling.
- Sugar. Medium or fine grain sugar, -type caster in Anglo-Saxon terminology – it is better incorporated than ordinary granulated sugar. Another easier option is to use commercial, sieved, icing sugar, as it also incorporates a small amount of starch that facilitates its integration. Vanilla sugar is also a good alternative. I do not recommend using more than 100 g of sugar for every 200 ml of cream; my advice is to start with even less. We want cream flavored with cream, not sugar.
- Aromas and flavorings. The essence or extract of liquid vanilla gives a delicious flavor to the cream, even in small quantities to introduce a slight nuance. Its aroma also allows us to reduce the amount of sugar to accustom the palate to a less sweet taste. We can also add other pastry aromas, although it is better to use natural ingredients. Fine zest of orange, lime or lemon, ground spices, a little liquor, cocoa powder, instant coffee … We can experiment.
- Stabilizing. Very common in Anglo-Saxon and German pastries, it is becoming easier to find in our country. It is usually sold in small envelopes with specific quantities and instructions. It is normally added to the cream at the beginning and does not leave a trace of flavor, but it helps to mount it and keep its texture firm and firm for many hours, even lasting one or two days without being removed.
Another alternative to give a special aroma to cream is infuse it before the process to mount it. You just have to heat it to a low temperature with a vanilla bean, a cinnamon stick or lemon peel, without letting it boil, as when making pastry cream or custard. Then you have to cool it very well.
The basic is a bowl of appropriate size and a few rods. We can use a manual whisk, a hand mixer with rods, a mixer with its accessory or a Thermomix or Magimix Cook Expert style robot.
It can also be done with foam siphon, mixing cream and icing sugar and letting cool 12 hours before inserting the gas charge; a different texture is obtained, very smooth, but only recommended to serve at the moment since it loses stability quickly.
The advantage of manual mixing is that it allows us control the process as much as possible, running less risk of over-whipping the cream. The downside is obvious: it will take much longer and it is very likely that we will end up with arm pain. In theory, with a good manual technique, a more stable assembly is achieved, although I have not noticed differences with the mixer.
Unless we use a robot or mixer with its own bowl, we have to choose a good size bowl so the cream does not come off when it starts to ride. Let’s remember that it will multiply its volume and it needs space. We are interested in that it is also deep and with slightly straight walls so that at first it does not splash too much.
As for the material, it is better to choose a stainless metal or glass bowl, always very clean, without strange odors, and resistant.
How to whip cream step by step
Basically you have to beat the liquid cream until it is mounted. But let’s see step by step how to get a perfect whipped cream.
1. Cool the cream and utensils
The heat will be our enemy to whip the cream. We need you to be very cold; nothing to start riding it as soon as we get back from the supermarket. We will keep it in the coldest part of the fridge until it’s time to use it. We will also achieve better results if we have cooled the bowl and rods by leaving them in the freezerat least 20-30 minutes.
A metal or glass bowl will keep cold longer than plastic. If our kitchen is too hot, we can work placing the bowl over a larger container filled with ice cubes. In any case, you have to stay away from heat sources such as fires or the oven, if they are running.
If the refrigerator does not get too cold, we can leave the cream for 5-10 minutes in the freezer. But beware be very careful not to forget her inside too long or we run the risk of freezing.
2. Start beating
Shake the cream brick or bricks very well before opening them and pour all content into the bowl, squeezing very well in case thicker fat gets caught in a corner. I prefer to cut one end with scissors to have a large opening and empty them completely.
If we use stabilizer and so the manufacturer indicates, we will probably have to add it at this point as well. We will not add any sugar or aromas yet.
We will start beating at medium speed with the wire mixer, or by hand, with enveloping, regular and energetic movements, but without forcing too much. At first it seems that nothing happens but little by little the cream fills with bubbles and acquires greater density.
3. Continue beating until semi-assembled and add sugar
Raising the speed of the mixer to a medium-high power, soon the cream will be partially assembled. In other words, it will have grown and will be fluffy, but without forming hard “peaks” when separating the rods. Something like soap suds.
It is time to add the sugar, slowly. If we use icing sugar, we must always sift it well first. We continue beating to incorporate it; We test the sweetness point and add a little more if necessary.
4. Aromatize at the end
With the sugar incorporated and the cream almost completely whipped, we can add aromas and other flavorings. As I mentioned above, a good vanilla extract goes perfectly with whipped cream. We can also use a natural pod grinder or directly add the inside of a pod.
5. Beat just enough until you have stiff peaks
The last phase of the shake must be controlled carefully so as not to end up over-beating the cream. If we go over we will be cut off, separating the fat from the serum. This is how butter is made, but we can no longer use it to serve whipped cream.
This risk is more common when we use a powerful robot and leave it alone beating at high speed, but less frequent if we use a manual mixer or hand mixer. In the moment in wich the cream forms stiff peaks and does not fall off when the bowl is turned, we can stop.
6. Use and conservation
Now we can use the cream for whatever we want: fill the roscón de Reyes or a cake, decorate a cake, cover the layers of a sponge cake, crown ice cream glasses, prepare Viennese or Irish coffee, serve strawberries with cream, mount a triffle or dessert glasses, etc.
If we have assembled it correctly, we can show off the decoration using a pastry bag, with a smooth or curled nozzle. We can also save it in a airtight container in the fridge for a day or two.