Cream

Cream

By
From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery
Serves
6-8

The fatty part of whole milk which rises to the surface on standing, or it can be separated from the milk. There are few dishes which do not improve with the addition of cream. It adds richness and smoothness to sauces, soups and casseroles. It is often used to decorate and fill cakes, and as an ingredient in flavoured creams and custards. Cream is served with puddings, fruits and many desserts.

Types of cream:

Cream: Fresh cream is just ‘cream’; it has a minimum fat content of 35%.

Thickened cream: This is cream with a small amount of gelatine added to thicken and stabilise it. It holds well when whipped, and has a longer storage life than ordinary cream.

Sour cream: This is cream with a culture added to give it a sharp tangy flavour. Its thick consistency means it can be swirled through soups, either hot or chilled. It is used to accompany paprikas and goulash or with chopped spring onions (scallions) and fried crumbled bacon in potato salad. Serve sour cream in a separate bowl with smoked fish such as mackerel and trout. It is the traditional accompaniment with caviar for the buckwheat pancakes called Blini, and is used as a topping for Idaho potatoes baked in their skins.

Light sour cream: This has a lower fat content than sour cream, and is not as thick or sharp. It adds freshness and lightness to salad dressing, soups and sauces. It is particularly good with iced soups such as cucumber, lettuce, spinach and pumpkin.

Reduced cream and light cream: These have lower fat contents than ordinary cream. They provide richness without adding so many kilojoules (calories). However, because of the lower fat content, these creams do not whip successfully.

Tinned creams: These are heat-treated to last without refrigeration. Treat as fresh cream and refrigerate after opening.

UHT creams: These are subject to ultra-high heat treatment, which gives them a long shelf life. Once opened they should be refrigerated. They usually whip successfully.

Ways to use cream:

Pan sauces: Add 2–3 tablespoons cream with 60 ml stock or wine to pan after sautéing fillet steaks, chicken fillets, fish fillets or pork chops. Stir rapidly and continuously until thickened, scraping up pan juices. Season as desired and pour over previously cooked meat, fish or poultry. Pan gravy for roast chicken may be made in the same way. Remove chicken and all but 1 tablespoon fat from the pan, then proceed as above, using more cream and stock.

You may whip 250 ml cream with 1 egg white if you want to use the cream for piping. This helps to stabilise the cream and it holds its shape better. It is best to add flavour to cream after whipping by folding through quickly and lightly. Avoid using sugar if possible, as the cream can separate and does not retain its freshness for as long as plain whipped cram. Flavour whipped cream with liqueurs, wines such as sherry or port, extracts or sweet spice. If making Crème Chantilly, which is sweetened, use as soon as possible.

Ice Cream: Cream is essential to all true ice creams. This is a rich, quickly made ice cream. Beat 4 egg whites with 4 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar until stiff and glossy. Beat in 4 egg yolks, with 1 tablespoon brandy, 2 tablespoons strong black coffee or 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract. Fold 250 ml whipped cream through egg mixture. Pour into ice cream trays, cover and freeze for 4 hours or overnight. Use within 7 days.

See also Ice Cream.

Frozen Fruit Cream: Whip 500 ml cream and fold through 250 g (9 oz/1 cup) sweetened fruit purée. Freeze until beginning to set around edges, then remove and beat well. Replace in freezer and allow to freeze for 4 hours. This cream is served slightly soft. Place container in refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving, if it has been frozen for longer than 4 hours. Use within 7 days.

Ingredients

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