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One of the best things about whipped cream is that, using this ingredient, you can create the most delicious and luxurious desserts, really, very simply.
Below are three example recipes. Having read them though, you will perhaps object that yes, they are all very easy, except for the task of making the freshly whipped cream itself.
And of course, this is true, potentially the most labour intensive, time consuming, and awkward part of producing any of these glorious dishes, IS whipping the cream to the required consistency. Which is perhaps why this kind of dessert is hardly ever freshly made at home.
Food mixers can help here, but they are often hit and miss, and messy. The answer these days is to use a nitrous oxide whipped cream dispenser. These are now available at very reasonable prices, and provide whipped cream whenever needed, and at the required consistency, ‘on tap’.
See sections (2) and (3) for instructions on how to use a dispenser.
Now for those example recipes:
I. Strawberry Pavlova
This is one of the simplest and most effective desserts going. It is named after Anna Pavlova, the 1920s ballet dancer. The dish is believed to have been created for her; how and when this happened, though, is not entirely clear.
1 Pavlova meringue base (approx. 20cm), OR
if unobtainable, sufficient meringue nests
to cover the base of a 20cm pie dish.
1 punnet strawberries, plus any other fruit you may
wish to add (kiwi fruit is especially good for this)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups whipping cream
Method: Whip the cream with the vanilla extract until it forms stiff peaks. Cover the Pavlova base with the whipped cream . If you are using meringue nests instead, arrange these at the bottom of the pie dish, breaking them carefully to fit. Spoon the cream on top of the meringue, then pile the fruit, in a visually appealing way , on top of the cream: usually the fruit is halved first. And that’s that, it really is this simple!
It is best to let the dish stand in a fridge for around 20 minutes, to allow the cream to set a little.
II. Raspberry Fool
An old standby, but always good.
2 punnets raspberries
1 jar of honey (will use half over half)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups whipping cream
Method: Chop the contents of one of the punnets of raspberries into a bowl and mix with 1/3 of the jar of honey, then taste this mixture, and if it is too sharp, add more honey to make up to ½ the jar. Mix the other punnet of whole raspberries (carefully, in order to keep them whole) in a separate bowl with another 2 tablespoons of honey. Leave all for around 20 minutes. Using a potato masher or fork, crush the chopped raspberries only, until this mixture becomes the texture of chunky jam.
Whip the cream and vanilla extract until it forms stiff peaks. Gently fold the crushed berry mixture into the whipped cream. Scoop this mix into serving dishes and, finally, sprinkle the whole raspberries (from the second punnet) on top.
. A syllabub is basically whipped cream with wine, and (occasionally) some type of fruit; the cream is whipped until it has a quite light and fluffy texture. Sometimes it is then floated on top of wine, or another alcoholic beverage. This dish is quite ancient: originating in the sixteenth century, when no desert was complete without significant alcoholic content.
1 small glass white wine (sweet)
60g caster sugar
300ml whipping cream
Method: Whip the cream until soft and fluffy, soft peaks formed. Fold in the wine, the zest of half the lemon, the juice of the all the remaining lemon, and then the caster sugar. Chill (briefly) and serve in small serving bowls or large wine glasses. Of course many things can be used to garnish, fruit, chopped nuts, mint. As you can see, the basic recipe is simplicity itself.