This post is the sequel to the number one runaway smash hit: Whipping Egg Whites which appeared in this space a couple of weeks ago. I meant to respond to all the requests earlier but I didn’t have any cream and was too lazy to go get some. Also Mrs. Pastry was put out enough as it was. Ever efficient, she deplores waste in all its forms. Which makes me wonder why she keeps me around at all. But that’s a post for another day.
Here again I have a small bowl with a hand mixer, which is what you want if you’re truly serious about whipping in your home kitchen. Larger machines just don’t do small quantities well. Anyway, pour the desired quantity into the bowl. A cold bowl is a nice-to-have but not essential.
Starting on low I gradually turn up the speed to about half power until the cream starts to get more viscous as air bubbles are incorporated and lipid molecules start to collect around them. This is where I get after about a 45 seconds, note the small “peaks”, but this isn’t really “soft peaks” yet since it’s still pretty flowing. Some people like sweetened cream of this slightly drippy texture on pie or fresh berries. Who am I to argue? This is the point where I usually add a sweetener (like sugar) or a stabilizer (like gelatin).
Another 20 seconds or so and I am well and truly at the soft peak stage for whipped cream. You could theoretically pipe this but it’s still a little loose for that purpose. Still, this is a great dessert topping consistency.
Another 20-30 seconds past that and suddenly the semi-fluid mass turns into a semi-solid mass. It collects around the beaters in clumps and clings fast to a spoon, even when held upside-down. This is technically “stiff peaks” but in fact it’s so stiff that it can’t form “peaks” as we pastry people think of them, more like big clods. But “stiff clods” lacks musicality.
Cream of this texture is about perfect for piping. See?
How do you know when you’ve gone too far? Well the good news is that it takes a good minute or more of concerted whipping before you can ruin it. Know the danger signs when you start losing volume. This is a sign that the fat masses around the bubbles are starting to merge together. Clumpy curd-like masses start flying to the sides of the bowl and the whole thing takes on a yellow milk fat hue. See?
This is no good for piping or topping desserts, though you could in theory spread it on toast. Any takers? Mrs. Pastry will want someone to do something with this…