Homemade whipped cream. Just try it, and you’ll probably never look at the store brands again. Nothing beats the flavor or texture of the stuff you make yourself, and it’s hardly a complicated process. Purists are right — using a hand whisk is one of the best ways. But some of us think that the food processor method is even better.
Here are some tips for making perfect whipped cream:
Start with cold ingredients and utensils: cold cream, cold whisk, cold mixing bowl (put your bowl and whisk or beaters in the freezer before getting started, if you can and there’s room). 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, or the additions won’t properly incorporate.
It’s easy to over-whip, so watch what’s happening. 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 add a little more cream until you regain the proper texture. Or, if you whip long enough, you can just make homemade butter instead.
As for the food processor method, it’s a trick from former Test Kitchen director Donna Deane. 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 fantastic, and it’s the method demonstrated in our video.
Regardless of how you make it, whipped cream is a natural for this pumpkin pie recipe. Happy Thanksgiving.
PUMPKIN PIE WITH BOURBON AND BACON CRUST
Total time: About 1 1/2 hours, plus chilling times | Makes 1 (9-inch) pie
Note: Refrigerate the dough at least 2 hours, preferably overnight, to give the dough sufficient time to relax; otherwise, it may toughen and shrink while baking. If using shortening instead of the bacon grease, increase the salt by 1/4 teaspoon (to 3/4 teaspoon). For a nice sheen, brush the crust with egg white before baking.
1 1/2 cups (6.4 ounces) flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons cold bacon grease or shortening, cut into 3 pieces
5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons cold bourbon
2 tablespoons ice water, more as needed
1. To make the dough using a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add the bacon grease and pulse until incorporated (the dough will look like moist sand). Add the butter and pulse just until the butter is reduced to small, pea-sized pieces. Sprinkle the bourbon and water over the mixture, and pulse once or twice until incorporated. Remove the crumbly mixture to a large bowl and gently press the mixture together with a large spoon, rubber spatula or the palm of your hand just until it comes together to form a dough. Mold the dough into a disc roughly 6 inches in diameter. Cover the disc tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
To make the dough by hand, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add the bacon grease and incorporate using a pastry cutter or fork (the dough will look like moist sand). Cut in the butter just until it is reduced to small, pea-sized pieces. Sprinkle the bourbon and water over the mixture, and stir together just until incorporated. Gently press the crumbly mixture together with a large spoon, rubber spatula or the palm of your hand just until it comes together to form a dough. Mold the dough into a disc roughly 6 inches in diameter. Cover the disc tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a round roughly 13 inches in diameter. Place in a 9-inch baking dish, crimping the edges as desired. Freeze the formed shell for 20 to 30 minutes before filling and baking.
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups half-and-half
4 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Combine pumpkin, brown and granulated sugars, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt in mixing bowl. Beat until well-blended. Add half-and-half, eggs and butter, and stir to combine. Pour filling into the prepared pie shell. Bake at 425 degrees 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake until toothpick inserted comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool to room temperature or chill before serving.
Each of 8 servings: 273 calories; 6 grams protein; 37 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 12 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 94 mg. cholesterol; 21 grams sugar; 281 mg. sodium.
Love cooking as much as I do? Follow me @noellecarter