How to Make a Thick Sauce With Heavy Whipping Cream

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Heavy whipping cream and heavy cream both contain a high percentage of fat at 30 and 36 percent respectively. Both types of cream are suitable for incorporating into sauces since they both thicken and add richness. The high fat content ensures that the sauce will not break, or separate, which would result in an ugly and unappetizing sauce. Heavy whipping cream by itself will not thicken a sauce -- other steps are required, such as making a reduction or liaison.

Things You'll Need

  • Meat (chicken, steak, fish, pork chops)
  • Butter
  • Plate
  • Foil
  • Large spoon
  • Wine (optional)
  • Stock
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Saucepan
  • Whisk
  • Egg yolks
  • Ladle
  • Candy thermometer
  • Strainer (optional)

Reduction

  • Sauté your preferred cut of meat in butter or oil in the pan. Once it is done, remove it from the pan and cover with foil to keep it warm. Meat isn't necessary, but it does add flavor to the sauce.

  • Spoon the excess fat from the pan, being careful to leave the flavorful bits in the bottom of the pan. For added flavor, you can add wine to the pan, though this step is optional. Heat over medium heat, scraping the pan to loosen the cooked-on bits from the bottom of the pan.

  • Pour stock into the pan and simmer until the volume reduces by half. Do not put a lid on the pan because it will inhibit the evaporation process and the volume won’t reduce.

  • Pour the heavy whipping cream into the sauce and whisk thoroughly. The proportion of stock to cream is approximately two to one. Make sure to whisk or stir the sauce often to keep it from sticking to the pan or scorching. Continue to simmer until the sauce has thickened to your liking. Depending on the volume of sauce you’re making, this could be an hour or longer.

Liaison

  • Measure your sauce in a heat proof container and return the sauce to your pan. For each pint of sauce, mix together one egg yolk with 2 ounces of heavy whipping cream. Mix these ingredients in a separate bowl.

  • Add one ladle of the hot sauce to your cream and egg mixture. Continue ladling the hot sauce to the mixture until you use approximately 1/3 of the sauce. Whisk the mixture together well.

  • Pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining sauce. Tempering the egg and cream mixture in this manner prevents the eggs from cooking and ruining the sauce.

  • Cook the sauce until it reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer. Stir the sauce frequently to prevent it from scorching.

  • Strain the sauce if you prefer, and enjoy over your meat, vegetables or pasta.

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  • Photo Credit Digital Vision/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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