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L.A. Times Test Kitchen tips: Perfect whipped cream

February 4, 2011 |  8:00 am

Longslowapples
Homemade whipped cream. Try it just once, and you'll never look at the store brands again.  Nothing beats the flavor or texture, and the method is simple. Purists are right -- using a hand whisk is one of the best ways. But here's a secret: I think the food processor method is the best.

Here are some tips for making perfect whipped cream:

  • Start with cold ingredients and utensils: cold cream, cold whisk, cold mixing bowl (store your bowl and whisk or beaters in the freezer for several minutes prior, if possible). Your cream will whip faster if everything is chilled.
  • Add the sweeteners or flavorings just as the cream begins to thicken and gain volume.  Taste and adjust as necessary before the cream is fully whipped, otherwise the additions won't properly incorporate.
  • It's easy to over-whip, so whenever possible, whip the cream by hand with a whisk for more control.  If you use a stand or hand mixer, work on a lower speed (this will also improve the overall texture).
  • If you over-whip the cream and it begins to lose that smooth texture and become stiff and coarse (it will separate and begin to curdle), you may be able to fix it.  Gently whisk in (by hand) a little more cream until you regain the proper texture.  Of course, whip long enough and you may happily find you're on your way to homemade butter.
  • Food processor method: Probably the best trick I've learned was from former Test Kitchen director Donna Deane.  She showed me how to make whipped cream using a food processor.  The method is the same: Place the cold ingredients in the bowl (the bowl and blade do not have to be chilled), and process until you get the consistency you want, barely a minute or two.  The texture is rich and superior to any other I've tasted.  And it's the method we used for the photo above.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an e-mail at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

-- Noelle Carter
twitter / noellecarter

Photo: Recipe for long and slow apples. Credit: Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times.

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