Getting Whipped Cream Right
I saw an ad one Thanksgiving that changed my life forever. A woman stands looking at the dairy toppings and a worker comes up to her and asks if she wants oil or cream on pumpkin pie. Confused, the customer looks down and sees the signs for Cool Whip and Rite Whip. The worker reveals that Cool Whip contains hydrogenated oils; whereas, Reddi-Whip uses only cream. Wow. Who knew? From then on, I wanted only real cream on my pie.
As fun as real cream spray whip is I want the real thing. But it always seems so intimidating. The words “Beat until stiff peaks form” scare me. I want to run out of the room crying. Because no matter how hard I’ve tried, neither my eggs nor my cream ever ascend into heavenly white peaks. Like Helen of Troy or Don Quixote’s Dulcinea, they represent the perfect ideal, that unattainable and impossible dream.
The other day I decided once more to dream the impossible dream of homemade whipped cream. I had tried a few times before but always ended up staring down into a bowl of an uncertain gloppiness that, no matter how hard it was beaten, never lifts into peakdom.
This time I took some tips from my mother who has made about everything. First, I cleaned the bowl and the beaters very well; any speck could ruin it. And who wants to ruin a whole cup of heavy cream? Next I put the bowl in the freezer for a few minutes until it was sufficiently cold.
Then I took the bowl out and beat in the cream. The electric hand mixer made the process easier than last time when I tried to use a balloon whisk (a good workout but a bad way to raise cream). Even with the beaters it still took at least 5 minutes until I noticed the rotating circles of the beater started to slows down, and I saw that little clumps fall off the sides of the bowl. That’s when I realized dairy nirvana may be near. I kept the beaters in place and watched as ridges began to form in a slow-motion snowstorm. Could it be that the peaks were forming?
The directions said to beat until the cream held its own. Slowly, I took out the beaters and waited. The substance didn’t move. Was this it? I dipped in a spoon and tasted the substance. Sweet and fluffy and full bodied. I had just climbed up a small white Himalayan mountain and reached firm peaks!
While stiff peaks still lay ahead, at least I had now whipped part of my culinary fears into a puffy cloud of creamy goodness.
A dollop of my fresh whipped cream and atop of the much-anticipated Danish Dessert.
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