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Back to Basics / Whipped Cream

July 18, 1996|JOAN DRAKE

Knowing how to make whipped cream comes in handy any time of the year, but particularly during summer, when it teams so well with fresh fruit. Dollop the cream on top or fold in small pieces of fruit and use as the filling for shortcake or a jellyroll.

Two basic cooking techniques are used in making the cream: beating whipping cream and folding ingredients together.

A wire whisk can be used for whipping the cream, but unless you have a strong arm, it may be best to opt for an electric mixer. The bowl and beaters should be spotlessly clean and chilled in the refrigerator at least two hours.

The whipping cream also should be well chilled. Fat content of the cream must be 30% to 40% for it to whip satisfactorily.

The cream will double in volume during whipping, so place it in a bowl large enough to accommodate this increase. Begin beating on medium-high speed.

After a few seconds the cream will become frothy. As it begins to thicken, lower the mixer speed and watch carefully, periodically stopping to check the progress. The cream is ready to be combined with the sifted powdered sugar when it is beaten to the soft peak stage but is still glossy.

A rubber spatula is well suited for folding in the sugar, but a wire whisk may also be used. The key is to choose an implement that allows you to efficiently bring up ingredients from the bottom of the mixing bowl and spread them over the upper surface.

Sprinkle some of the sugar on the surface of the cream. Then, using a down-up-and-over motion, cut down through the center, turn the flat side of the spatula toward you, scrape across the bottom of the bowl and lift the cream up the side and over the top.

Give the bowl a quarter-turn after each folding motion. Occasionally bring the cream up through the middle to facilitate uniform blending. Working quickly, continue until all the sugar is folded in. Use 1 to 3 tablespoons of sugar per cup of whipping cream, depending on the sweetness desired.

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