Homemade whipped cream. Try it just once and you'll never look at the store brands again. Nothing beats the flavor or texture, and preparation 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 before getting started, 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, and you see it 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 I demonstrate in the video above.
Cooking is fun – at least it should be! No matter how long you've been in the kitchen, there is always something new to learn, whether it's a simple twist on an old technique, or a handy tip to save time and energy. In this series of short videos, I demonstrate a variety of kitchen tips, ranging from how to hold a chef's knife for maximum control to using a spoon to peel fresh ginger. If you have any gadgets, kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Total time: About 1 hour | Serves 8 to 10
3 pounds strawberries
1/2 cup sugar plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 vanilla bean, seeded
4 teaspoons Amaretto
1 1/2 cups (6.4 ounces) flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold butter, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup cold buttermilk
1/3 cup sliced almonds
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Hull the strawberries. Cut the strawberries, keeping the pieces large (leave the small strawberries whole, halve the mediums, and quarter the large). Place the strawberries in a large bowl. Toss with 1/2 cup sugar, the vanilla seeds and Amaretto, making sure the vanilla and amaretto are evenly distributed.
3. Pour the strawberry mixture into a 9- by-13 baking dish.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry cutter or fork until the butter is reduced to small, pea-sized pieces. Pour in the buttermilk, and stir until the mixture is combined to form a thick, sticky batter. Gently stir in the almonds to combine.
5. Scoop the batter into 8 to 10 portions, using a large soup or small serving spoon. Space the dumplings evenly over the strawberries. Place the baking dish in the oven and bake until the dumplings have risen and are golden brown and the strawberries are softened and bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the dumplings should come out clean.
6. Remove and cool slightly on a rack. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.
Each of 10 servings: 257 calories; 4 grams protein; 41 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 9 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 19 mg. cholesterol; 22 grams sugar; 236 mg. sodium.