Cream is lovely; cream is good. Cream is a dairy product (produced by cows) that is used to thicken and enrich sauces and soups, to make pie, cake and custard fillings and to make ice cream.
Cream is composed of the higher-butterfat layer skimmed from the top of milk before homogenization. In many countries, cream is sold in several grades depending on the total butterfat content. Cream can be dried to a powder for shipment to distant markets.
How To Choose and Use
In the United States, cream is usually sold as:
The richest cream is the heaviest cream, which contains at least 36% milk fat:
• Extra-heavy, double, or manufacturer's cream (38–40% or more) are generally not available at retail except at some warehouse and specialty stores. This product whips the easiest. The higher the fat the thicker it will be. It’s great for desserts and it can be piped.
• Heavy whipping cream (36% or more)
This is great for ice creams and custards. If you can find Extra-heavy cream then this is the choice for making whipped cream.
• Whipping or light whipping cream (30–36% fat)
This is best for enriching sauces or soups. It is not best for making whip cream.
A delicious topping for crepes, cakes, pies, berries and hot chocolate
• Light, coffee, or table cream (18–30% fat)
This is good for pouring over cakes, used in coffee.
• Half and half (10–18% fat)
Is combination of equal parts cream and milk
How To Store:
Refrigerate cream as soon as possible after purchase and store it in the coldest part of the cooler on the shelves inside. Most cream will be fine a week past the expiration date. However, I recommend smelling it before any use to make sure it has not gone sour. You should not freeze cream. The texture and flavor may be compromised when thawing out.
Cooking With Cream
Use heavy cream because it’s less likely to curdle.
To add velvety texture to gravy:
Whisk cream until thickened, but not stiff, and stir into gravy just before serving.
Dress up store-bought or homemade soup:
Whisk whipping cream until slightly thickened and add chopped fresh herbs such as chives, cilantro, basil or mint. Drizzle over a creamed soup just before serving to garnish and add a burst of fresh flavor.
To make café-style beverages at home:
Make an at-home cappuccino by whipping cream until thickened and stirring into regular coffee. Serve sprinkled with ground cinnamon.
For better tasting pasta sauce:
Stir in a drizzle of cream to a traditional tomato pasta sauce just before serving.
For an easy way to turn sorbet into a dessert:
Fold whipped cream into slightly softened fruit sorbet; spoon into serving dishes and freeze just until set. Serve semi-frozen garnished with fresh fruit.
For more rich and satisfying hot chocolate:
When preparing hot chocolate from a powdered mix, replace one-third of the water with cream.
For better tasting and more special than the usual mashed potatoes:
Add warmed cream to mashed potatoes to elevate them to a 5-star restaurant level.
For faster than making a complex sauce and better tasting than plain sauce:
After cooking pan-seared chicken, pork chops or veal cutlets, add cream to the pan juices and bring to a boil. Season with mustard or fresh herbs for a quick and delicious sauce.
For a fluffier texture and better tasting eggs:
Whisk cream in with the eggs before cooking to make a light and puffy omelette.
To make ordinary coffee or tea a special experience:
Spice up your coffee and tea service by infusing cream with subtle, exotic flavors.
For more nutritious than store-bought fruit dips with mysterious ingredients and additives:
Sweeten whipped cream with pure maple syrup or liquid honey and place in small bowls or ramekins. Serve with a small plate of fresh fruit for individual fruit dips.
It's important to start with the right cream – whipping cream, which contains about 35% milk fat. Whip cream should take less than five minutes.
1. Use a bowl just wide enough for the beater. Make sure the bowl and beaters are
chilled before beating.
2. Whip only 250 mL (1 cup) at a time.
3. If you add sugar or flavoring such as vanilla extract do so after whipping the cream – never before.
4. Don’t whip it too much. It will turn to butter.