Tag Archives: whipped cream

ReddiWip? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ ReddiWip. Around These Parts, We Whip Our Own Cream.

17 Jul

Fun Whipped Cream music for your listening pleasure.

When a company substitutes fake words, such as “Reddi” for “Ready” and “Wip” for “Whip,” rest assured that they are Toying with You.  Case in Point:  Krispy Kreme.  Don’t get me wrong; I am a Huge Fan of the Krispy Kreme Donut.  If I had to choose between Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme, I would go with KK every time.  If I had to choose between Dunkin’ Donuts and No Donuts, well, I would live a piously donut-free existence.  At any rate, it’s not so much the K-R-I-S-P-Y to which I take exception, even if I don’t think of donuts as all that crispy.  Nope, it’s the K-R-E-M-E part that I find so disturbing.  Have you ever had a K-R-E-M-E filled donut?  It’s basically whipped vegetable shortening with some sugar in it.  It bears no resemblance to cream.  None. Whatsoever.

But, I’m not here to talk about K-R-E-M-E.  I’m here to talk about ReddiWip.  Why?  Well, reader Kyra asked a question a few days ago.  Here:

For the past 2 months I have been on a crusade trying to find a good natural substitute to vegetable whipping cream. I tried whipping heavy cream following the packaging instructions. It turned into a heavier cream, extremely soft peaks, would not hold, not fluffy at all whipped cream. I even made creme fraiche and tried to whip that. Same results… I tried whipping longer… I got homemade butter… I remember the times when natural whipped cream was cheap and available to buy in all European pastry shops. Nowadays it seems impossible to find it… At least where I live… It was fluffy and looked just like its vegetable fat based counterpart. Can you post step by step instructions on how to get that light and fluffy whipped cream out of natural, widely available products such as heavy cream or sour cream? I’ve wrecked dozen of batches with not one acceptable result. Please help!

I sent her a link to Joe Pastry’s marvelous Whipping Cream Tutorial and told her that I would address the question at Greater Length later.  Well, later is now.

By “vegetable whipping cream,” I assume that means Cool Whip-esque stuff.  At any rate, my first thought is temperature.  Whipping cream is full of fat, and if it’s not kept very cold, the fat in it gets melty and greasy, and then it won’t hold the little bubbles you’re trying to whip into it.  You want the fat to be plastic and stretchy, and for that, you need it to be cold.

I know that lots of folks say that whipping ultra-pasteurized cream is harder than whipping plain old pasteurized cream.  This is true to a certain extent, and folks with very sensitive palates might pick up a bit of a “cooked milk” flavor in ultrapasteurized cream due to the high temperature required for the process.  For myself, I guess my palate isn’t that sensitive, and I’ve never had an issue with UP cream not whipping, so I just go with it.  Having said that, I can only speak about dairy in the US.  I believe friend Kyra is in Eastern Europe, so if anyone could enlighten me as to the State of All Things Dairy in Eastern Europe, maybe I could better identify the issue.

Look at this part of Kyra’s question again:  “Nowadays it seems impossible to find [natural whipped cream]… At least where I live… It was fluffy and looked just like its vegetable fat based counterpart.”  Again, since I suffer from a lack of European Dairy Exposure, I’m not quite sure how to address this.  So, I’m going to recommend a)keeping the cream very, very cold–even whipping it over an ice bath would be a good idea and b)possibly stabilizing the cream with some bloomed gelatin–about 1/2-1 tsp gelatin bloomed in 1 TBSP cream (let gelatin sit in cream for a couple of minuts, and then heat just until the gelatin is no longer grainy) per 1 cup of whipping cream.  Whip to soft peaks and pour in the gelatin while whisking madly (so you don’t get clumps of rubbery gelatin in your whipped cream).  Whip to desired peakiness.

Oh, to whip sour cream, you’ll want to start with cold whipping cream first.  Whip to medium peaks and then add sour cream, a bit at a time.  Keep whipping until you get to desired sour creaminess and peakiness.  If you try to start whipping the cream and the sour cream together, it won’t work.  I don’t think that the sour cream has enough fat in it to support Bubble Production.  You have to make a “bubble matrix” with the heavy cream first before allowing sour cream to come on in.  I hope that helps, Kyra.

If any readers out there can help shed some light on European Dairy Behavior, both Kyra and I would appreciate it.

Okay now, back to the title.  So what’s my beef with ReddiWip?  Well, to tell the truth, I don’t really have a huge issue with the ReddiWip people, although I don’t know why it needs to contain “Natural and Artificial Flavors.”  Cream is Plenty Tasty without them.  My concern with ReddiWip is that folks kind of expect to be able to substitute homemade whipped cream for ReddiWip and vice versa.  Not so much, though.  Here’s the thing about whipping cream.  As I said a minute ago, whipped cream is all about the bubble matrix.  The more stable your bubbles, the more stable your cream.  And the more stable your cream, the longer it stays whipped and beautiful.  The best way to ensure a killer Bubble Matrix is to start slowly.  Just like when you a blow a bubble with bubble gum, you have to start slowly.  Once you’ve got that initial bubble blown off the tip of your tongue (ew), then you can speed up some.

In order to replicate Ye Olde Tip-of-the-Tongue Bubbles (ew, again), start whipping slowly–either by hand or with a stand mixer set to medium.  Once things start to get a bit foamy, increase the speed a bit.  Then, when the whisk just starts leaving tracks in the cream, crank the speed a little more and keep whisking (or watching, in the case of stand mixers) until the cream is close to where you want it, peakiness-wise.  Stop whisking/turn off mixer, and check for Optimal Peakiness.  If you’re not quite there, whisk/whip in very short bursts like a crazy person/on high speed.  And by very short, I mean 1-2 seconds.

When you use a CO2 gun (or ReddiWip) to whip cream, you get instantly whipped cream because a whole bunch of big old bubbles have been forced into the cream all at once, like the Greeks flooding out of the Trojan Horse.  They put on a good show, I must admit, and the speed is nice, but ultimately the show is over way too soon–mass popping begins.  And, has anyone ever told you that larger bubbles pop more quickly than smaller bubbles?  Well, they do.   That’s why ReddiWip “melts” so much more quickly than hand whipped cream–those big-ass bubbles are popping.  If you’re still not convinced, consider that slow stretching is more effective than rapid stretching.  Think of pizza dough.  Think of bubble gum.  Think of strudel dough.  Heck, think of your own muscles.  If you stretch too quickly, you get tears.  If you stretch your plastic butterfat too quickly, you get tears, and tears don’t hold air.  Tears let air out.

Finally, we’re back to my original point about being Toyed With by the ReddiWip folks.  While it might say “Reddi” on the can, it won’t stay ready for long.  And while it might say “Wip,” what it really means is Bubbles Injected by Brute Force with complete Disregard for the Bubble Matrix.”  Granted, that would take up a lot of room on the can, but still.  So, lose the ReddiWip and get Ready to Whip.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

‘Cept you gotta watch this!

Is There a Recipe for a Cool Whip Substitute?

4 Feb
Fear not; there are many alternatives to Cool Whip.

Fear not; there are many alternatives to Cool Whip.

You guys know how much I hate Cool Whip, right?  So, just don’t buy it.  And before you say anything, I can hear some of you now wanting to know what else you can use to top your pies or your cakes.  As usual, I’ve got your backs; I’m here to help.  Over the past couple of weeks I’ve gotten some emails and read some comments left on some of the cooking forums asking about making whipped cream from scratch, looking for an alternative to whipped cream because someone in their family doesn’t like it (?!) and even how to make a Cool Whip substitute (?!)  It was that last one that made me realize that I’d better get to work.  If folks are looking for Cool Whip substitutes, I’m not going to let them down.

So here, for your edification, I present a Compendium of Creamy Homemade Dessert Toppings.  All are made from normal, everyday ingredients and none of them contain any partially hydrogenated anything.

  1. Whipped Cream Softly whipped cream (or, to use the French term, creme chantilly)is a wonderful topping to spoon on top of some fresh berries.  Since it’s soft, it will sort of slowly sink into the berries.  Cream whipped to medium-to-firm peaks is your best Cool Whip substitute, because you can do that perky little dollop on top so that your pie looks like the pie in the Cool Whip commercials.  Here’s how you do it by hand:  Take some cold heavy cream (as opposed to heavy cold cream–we’re not removing make up) and put it in a metal bowl.  Start whisking.  You don’t have to whisk it crazy-fast or anything, just fast enough that you get some air incorporated.  Once the cream has thickened a bit, add in some sugar (superfine is nice because it dissolves quickly), a pinch of salt and a wee splash of flavoring.  Taste, and add a little more sugar if you need to.  Whisk until the cream is at the perfect thickness for what you want to do with it.    As you can see, whipped cream isn’t really a recipe.  It’s more of a technique.  It’s more about keeping things cold and whisking well and less about how many teaspoons of sugar you are using.  Here’s a tip for getting really dense, creamy whipped cream.  I don’t think that many people know about this secret, so come a little closer.  If you whip your cream in the food processor, it will be dense and smooth and creamy. You have to be careful, because the food processor is pretty harsh, and you could end up with butter if you don’t pay close attention.  I’m serious, though, guys–cream whipped in a food processor or with an immersion blender has a dense texture that you just can’t get when whipping by hand or with a hand or stand mixer.
  2. Whipped Creme Fraiche–This is some seriously good stuff, folks.  While true creme fraiche is pretty pricey, a very reasonable facsimile can easily be made at home.  Stir buttermilk and heavy cream together.  For every 1 cup of cream, you’ll need 1 TBSP of buttermilk.  We used to make a 12 quart recipe at the restaurants, so this formula scales up very easily.  Okay, so you just stir them together and let it sit out at room temperature, covered, until thickened.  This can take anywhere from 12 to 36 hours, depending on how much you’re making and on the temperature in your kitchen, so be patient.  Once your cream has thickened, refrigerate until cold.  The chilled creme fraiche will be pretty thick–almost like soft-serve ice cream.  Don’t worry, though.  You can whip it just like cream.  When you start whisking, it will thin out and then start to thicken again.  Use the same technique that you used for making whipped cream.  The tang of the creme fraiche is a nice complement to very sweet dishes and is a little more of an adult flavor.
  3. Italian Meringue–This kind of topping won’t be as rich as whipped cream or whipped creme fraiche, but it is fat free!  Yay for you guys who are looking for a fat-free topping to counteract all the fat in the big old American Hummer Pie you’re putting it on!  That’s kind of like ordering the Monster Thickburger, large fries and a Diet Coke, but what do I know?  Back to the meringue:  take a cup of sugar and put it in a pot with a little water, just enough to get it wet.  Heat and stir to dissolve the sugar, and then bring to a boil.  Put the lid on and let it boil for a couple of minutes to wash any sugar crystals off the sides of the pan.  Bring the sugar syrup up to 245 degrees, F.  While the sugar is coming to temperature, whip 5 egg whites together with a pinch of salt and either a teaspoon of lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar.  Whip the whites to medium peaks.  With the mixer on low, slowly and carefully pour the sugar syrup in a thin stream down the inside of the bowl.  Once you’ve added all the syrup, increase the speed to medium-high and whip until the whites are stiff and glossy and cool.  Flavor it with some vanilla or mint or lemon or any kind of extract.  At the restaurant, we used to pipe little dollops of Italian meringue on parchment and store them in the walk-in freezer.  (They don’t get hard in the freezer, they just keep nicely).  Then, when it was time to plate, we’d bring out a frozen dollop and hit it with a torch to brown it.  You don’t have to brown this meringue, though.  It’s cooked!
  4. Whipped Sour Cream–This is an easy topping with a slight tang.  Whip cold, heavy cream to medium peaks, and then add an equal amount of sour cream.  Sweeten, salt and flavor as desired.  Don’t think that you can mix the sour cream and the cream together and then whip them.  It doesn’t work.  Trust me; I know.  Make sure you bring your cream to medium peaks before adding the sour cream.
  5. Silken Tofu Whipped Topping–This one is for you lactose intolerant type folks out there.  I will not let you be reduced to using Cool Whip.  Try this instead. In a food processor or blender, mix together a package of firm tofu (10.5 oz.), 2 TBSP sugar/brown sugar/agave nectar/what have you, a pinch of salt, and a wee splash of vanilla and lemon juice.  Blend or process until smooth.  If it’s too thick, thin with a little soymilk and blend again.  If you want it sweeter, add another TBSP or two of sweetener.
  6. Sour Cream Topping–This one might be my favorite.  It’s not whipped and poofy.  This this the topping that my mom bakes on top of my chocolate cheese birthday pie–vanilla wafer crust, cheesecake, ganache, sour cream topping.  I know, right?!–and I love it.  All you do is add 1/3 cup of sugar and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla per cup of sour cream.  Stir in a pinch of salt, and that’s pretty much it.  You pour this on top of a just-out-of-the-oven cheese cake or a hot chocolate pie, put it in the oven for 5 minutes at 300 degrees, F, let cool, and you’ve got a fantastic tangy-sweet semi-set topping that, well, it’s just the best.  And that’s why I saved it for last.

Some other ideas for you:  try using brown sugar, honey or maple syrup in place of the sugar when whipping cream or creme fraiche or even your tofu.  Also, there’s no rule against adding citrus zest or cinnamon or espresso powder.  Give some thought to what you’ll be putting your topping on and use complementary flavors.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with just using a little vanilla.  Sometimes, less is more.

I Hate Cool Whip

21 Nov
It's time for a Cool Whip Intervention

It's time for a Cool Whip Intervention

I’m sorry, but I do. No, wait a minute.  I un-apologetically hate Cool Whip.  I wince when I see folks put Cool Whip on foods–and don’t get me started on recipes that actually say “Fold in a tub of Cool Whip!”  Ack!  Do you know what is in this stuff?  Allow me to elucidate you, if you are unaware:  water, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated coconut and palm kernel oils, sodium caseinate, vanilla extract, xanthan gum, guar gum, polysorbate 60 and beta carotene.  For “color.”  It might as well be called “Non-Edible”, let alone “Non-Dairy.”  And then they went and made the chocolate kind and–ugh–French vanilla.  Sign of the end times, my friends, sign of the end times.

If I sound harsh, it’s partly because my spell-checker recognizes those words and partly because I’m a believer in real food, not Frankenfood.  So, for those of you who need your Cool Whip–or those of you who have friends that need their CW, please allow me to offer you some natural and yummy alternatives to top this year’s holiday desserts.

Whipped creme fraiche.  Creme fraiche is easy to make, so make some.  Once you have it and it’s chilled, you can whip it like cream.  Use brown or white sugar, or even some maple syrup or honey as your sweetener.  You can also add ground spices or extracts.  Don’t forget your pinch of salt, people.  When you whip creme fraiche, it will thin out initially.  Fear not, keep whipping and it will thicken up nicely, even to the point where you can form an elegant quenelle to perch atop your dessert.  And no, there is no real recipe–just do this to taste, and use flavors that will be complementary to your dish.

Another alternative is whipped cream.  You can treat this the same way as the creme fraiche.  The only difference will be that your creme fraiche toppings will whip up a little firmer and have a bit more of a tang to them.  You might consider saving the creme fraiche for the grown ups and pass whipped cream at the children’s table.

And if for one minute you try and tell me that you don’t want all those calories from heavy cream, I ask you “You’d rather have high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils mixing with your lovely homemade creation?”  Please.  It’s the holidays.  Eat a tablespoon or two of the real stuff.

And that is what I have to say about that.  Feel free to weigh in with your comments.  I’d love to hear from you!  You can also check out my site for some more Thanksgiving dessert ideas.

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