Anyone who reads this blog knows I love working with fresh cream, and nearly every second cake or dessert of mine has to have whipped cream in or on it. I believe, a light and fluffy whipped cream does not only enhances the appearance and taste of a cake but can give an extravagant boost to make a dessert the show stopper for any good meal.
Although I generally have nothing against purchasing ready-made canned goods keeping in mind their convenience and time saving advantage but my experience with whipped cream says theres no ready made product out there in the market that could beat the fresh and delicate taste of the one you make at home. And the procedure is not even as hard as most people think. There are only a few things that should be taken care of while whipping the cream and it can be a very interesting and fun thing to do.
The fluffly, stiff yet soft fresh cream that holds its shape for hours on top of the dessert instead of melting into it is what I call a perfectly whipped cream. Whipping a regular heavy cream is no big science. All you need is heavy cream, beaters and a bit of concentration. For giving it a sweet accent, add in a small amount of icing sugar. This regular whipped cream is best for using in desserts, fruit salads, on pies or for serving with ice cream etc. The only disadvantage is that it becomes really unstable if not served immediately and tends to melt.
Here are a few important tips on how to stabilise the whipping cream for using it as icing on cakes or other desserts incase you want to make them several hours ahead of time and wish the cream to hold its shape firmly:
- The most important thing that one needs to know before deciding to go for a whipped cream icing is the that the high fat content which is essential to thicken and whip a milky liquid also makes it highly temperature-dependent. Which means, the first thing you want to make sure is a cooler temperature.
- Since colder temperature helps the cream to whip faster, it should be completely chilled prior to beating. Best is to use the one that has been in the refrigerator for atleast a day or two.
- Before you start with the whipping process, pop the beating container (preferably out of metal) as well as the beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- If the air in your kitchen is hot, try to fix this problem as well by either beating the cream in another cooler room with the airconditioner on or place the cream container over a bowl of ice. Itll also help against the heat generated through the beating itself.
Stabilised Whipped Cream using Agar Agar
200 ml cream
1/2 tsp powdered agar agar / powdered gelatin
1 tbs cold water
2 tsp icing sugar
In a small bowl, sprinkle the agar agar powder over cold water. Put in the microwave for a few seconds, bring the mixture to a quick boil and mix until the fine granules are dissolved. (Or if you intend to use gelatin powder, dissolve the granules in luke warm water. DO NOT cook gelatin as high heat causes it lose its gelling properties).
Place aside to cool completely. But dont leave for too long otherwise the gelling agent starts to thicken. Take out the chilled beaters and metal bowl from the freezer and pour the chilled cream in it. Add in the agar agar mixture.
Start whisking with the electric beaters until soft peaks start to form.
Stop beating and add the icing sugar into it.
Beat for a second or two.
This is the stage where you need to be very careful. The cream should form soft peaks but make sure not to overbeat as it will turn into butter within fractions of a second. Tip: If you are not confident to deal with this stage, use a hand whisk and beat carefully until stiff peaks are acheived.
Decorate immediately using a piping bag or spread on cakes using a spatula or cake decorating knife. The cream will hold its shape for hours and wont melt quickly as the plain whipped cream.
|Black forest torte covered with stabilised whipped cream|
Tip: If the cake or dessert is not to be served right away, never leave it outside the refrigerator. Not even the leftovers.