Today we are back in the Pastry kitchen for a short tutorial on Chantilly/whipped cream. The terms are synonymous, Chantilly simply being sweetened and vanilla flavoured. After basic mis en plac, weighting and scaling, preparing whipped cream by hand is the first skill you learn in the pastry kitchen.
Whipping cream introduces air bubbles. When the cream is cold, these bubbles are held in place by a network of tiny globules of solid fat, which allow the cream to eventually expand into a light, airy mass. At warmer temperatures, that fat starts to soften and the globules collapse, so the cream can’t whip up as fully, and it takes longer to reach its maximum (diminished) volume. This extended whipping time also gives the cream a grainy texture, as the fat forms small, irregular clumps rather than microscopic, smooth solid globules that surround the air bubbles.
Making Chantilly cream isn't so much about the ingredients, as the procedure. Like most pastry skills, it takes a little practice. Like stated above, the main thing is temperature, COLD! And that means everything, the cream, whip and bowl. I also recommend doing it by hand a few times to get a better sense of what your doing.
To demonstrate, I have three photos above, runny, soft peaks and BROKEN CREAM. Between soft and broken is a fine line, but is the actual sweet spot for RTU cream falls here. Although soft peaks are also used, it's more as an ingredient being added to a more complex recipe. Heavy peaks is the term for perfectly prepared whipped cream as a garnish or topping. Many of you are likely asking why not just buy it in a can? Its not the same thing, and in terms of economy and environment, you lose. C02 siphons are okay, although sometimes not reliable, and also wasteful. Machines like MOMS hand blender or an upright mixer are fine, but take my advice, and do it a few times by hand!
To finish up, I'm providing some alternative additions to change up your basic Chantilly and make it your own. In some cases changing a few elements to better suite the finished plate are fun.
Liquors, food safe essential oils and other natural flavours can be used in place of vanilla.
Maple syrup, honey or other natural sugars can replace white sugar.
Colours may be added to add a more visual effect.
Textures can be added in the way of ground nuts, seeds and grains, these are best folded in at the end.
Stabilized whipped cream for better shelf life is done with the addition of gelatin.
Infusions of herbs, spices and exotic compounds can also be used, but require extra steps.
I thought I would share this one, very handy for filling or masking cakes and pastries.
So there you have it, in a nutshell...the basics of whipping cream. I almost overlooked this one. Cheers, and have a great weekend!