Learn how to whip cream to use in pies, tarts and puddings. Find methods for whipping cream with a whisk as well as a hand or stand mixer.
There’s nothing lovelier than a heap of billowy whipped cream on a piece of key lime pie or strawberry tart, on a sundae, or in the middle of a cake. Whipped cream also makes the base for some ice creams and mousses, parfaits and tortes. There are a few rules to apply to make it as easy as possible, and to ensure you don’t end up with butter, though
The mechanics of whipping cream are relatively simple, all you are doing is encouraging the fat molecules to join together to trap air.
How to whip cream
- Pour the cream into a chilled bowl and begin to whisk, moving the cream back and forth across the bowl – take breaks when you need to. The cream will start turning to frothy bubbles and then to a thick liquid.
- When you can make trails of cream on the surface that don’t sink in immediately, you’ll know you are nearly there. Keep whisking until the cream forms peaks that flop over (soft peaks).
- Once it starts to form soft peaks, whisk in any flavourings and then keep whisking until the cream starts to feel more solid and the peaks don’t flop over any more (stiff peaks). Stop at this point.
- Pour the cream into a chilled bowl and begin to beat it on a medium speed, you’ll soon have a bowl of froth and bubbles which will begin to thicken. When you can make trails of cream on the surface that don’t sink in immediately you’ll know you are nearly there.
- Keep whisking until the cream forms peaks that flop over at the peaks (soft peaks).
- Once it starts to form soft peaks, whisk in any flavourings, then keep whisking on a slower speed until the cream starts to feel more solid and the peaks don’t flop over any more. Stop at this point.
Piping: You can put softly whipped cream in a piping chill and bag it until you need it, but be very careful that you don’t over-whip it, otherwise the heat from your hands might make it go grainy as you pipe it.
Decorating: Don't do it too early, If you're finishing desserts with whipped cream just before serving. If there is anything wet, fruit in syrup for example, on top of it the cream will start to ‘crack’ and look messy.
You can add a touch of sweetness or flavour by incorporating icingsugar and vanilla, a sprinkle of a spice such as cinnamon, cooled and melted chocolate or a spoonful of alcohol like Baileys or whiskey while you are whipping. If you add it at the end you might over-whip it, add this when the cream is beginning to has and thicken soft peaks –. Bear in mind that as the cream thickens the flavour will dilute, so add enough to take account of this.
Another way to add flavour is to infuse cream before whipping it. Put strips of citrus zest in cold cream, or warm some cream in a pan with a cinnamon stick and leave to infuse (then cool and chill before whipping), for example.