Whipped cream is especially sensitive to high temperatures, and it deflates incredibly fast. Here are a few pro tips on how to keep it stable.
This weekend I introduced a “French Month” theme to the restaurant where I spend most of my waking hours. As a part of the menu, I did Craquelin Choux filled with Chantilly cream.
I will assume you already know what Pate a Choux is, or what Craquelin Choux is, if not, Google it. For this post, I would like to focus on the cream.
What is Chantilly Cream?
Chantilly cream, a fancy name for some of the easiest creams you will ever do. Whipped cream, powdered sugar, vanilla. That is all, and salt, don’t forget the salt. So what is the catch?
In its stability. You see, most people can’t make a whipped cream that is stable for longer than a few hours. For Chefs, it is normal to whip cream before service, and it lasts for five to six hours easily.
But I needed a cream that stays stable in the display fridge for longer than that. It was early morning, and I wanted to fill the display fridge with Craquelin Chouxes (Chouxs?, I don’t know), you know, make it impressive. Some of these were sold right away, some in the afternoon, but there were a few still left in the evening.
As perfection is my arch-enemy and my light at the end of a tunnel, I wanted that those few desserts, sold right before closing, are just as impressive as the first few.
I needed a stable whipped cream, and I achieved it, I actually left a few in the fridge until the next morning, just for testing, and they didn’t turn to a watery mush of a dough, even after 24 hours. How did I achieve that?
How To Whip a Stable Whipped Cream
The first, and most important, factor in the stability of your whipped cream, is the fat content. Fat is the reason why you can whip cream to double its starting volume. The more fat you have, the more stable is the result. I use 35% heavy cream in all of my recipes, but if you can get 40%, even better.
Next is the temperature, before whipping, leave the cream in the fridge, leave it to cool completely, preferably overnight. Unless you are in a hurry, in which case you can use the freezer, but carefully.
The cream has to be cold, and your mixer’s container and the whipping attachment also have to be cold. You don't have to freeze them. Just cool them so they are cold to your touch, if you are in a rush, you can also run them through very cold water, but dry thoroughly!
These are the basics. Now we add a bit of outside stability. Some powder sugar, and vanilla. I used 500g of heavy cream, four tablespoons of powder sugar, and one vanilla bean.
Powder sugar usually has a bit of cornstarch, which is why it helps with stability.
Okay, time for complete honesty, this is all I did. I didn’t expect the cream would be stable for such a long time. These were all the ingredients I used, heavy cream, sugar, vanilla, and beat to stiff peaks.
How to Reach Stability, Without Years of Experience
We are not all Pastry Chefs, and we don’t have to be. After all, that is why you buy desserts somewhere else, well that, and time. But it can be useful to know a few tips and tricks, if not for home cooks, then maybe some other Patissiers are looking at how to make their whipped cream more stable.
If you were actually reading this post, then you already know, powder sugar helps stabilize whipped cream because it contains cornstarch.
So if you need more help, add more cornstarch. One tablespoon for every 250 grams works fine.
Even though this is the easiest solution, because most home and restaurant kitchens have cornstarch, it is not the best solution. Because you can feel cornstarch in whipped cream.
Maybe your guests won’t know what it is, but they will definitely be able to tell something is wrong with the texture of your cream. Uncooked cornstarch, any starch for that matter, leaves a funny feeling in your mouth.
Don’t Use Gelatin
I am not a fan of gelatin, and I use it only when I really have to, like in a mirror glaze or something that was conceived with the properties gelatin has. But I really don’t like to see gelatin in whipped cream, that is just cheating. So, I will not give you advice on how to use it.
Best Solution? Cream of Tartar
Cream of tartar is actually an acid component in baking powder (it needs acid to produce carbon dioxide and leaven a cake). But it is also used as a stabilizer in meringue and whipped cream. You can read more about the cream of tartar here.
But you don't need to know the specifics. What you should know is that 1/4 teaspoon, together with one tablespoon powder sugar on 250g of heavy cream is enough to stabilize your whipped cream. And unlike pure cornstarch, it won’t leave a weird feeling in your guest’s mouth.