Cream is sold in pints or quarts, while recipes are often written in cups and ounces, making it tricky to figure out yields when whipping up fresh cream for your favorite desserts. The temperature and amount of butterfat in the cream are other factors affecting the success of those fluffy peaks. In general, chilled heavy cream doubles in volume when whipped, yielding twice the amount of dairy deliciousness for every 8 ounces of cream.
Eight ounces of cream is the equivalent of 1 cup. When whipped using chilled utensils, 8 ounces of heavy cream gives you about 2 cups of whipped cream. Cartons of heavy whipping cream are sold in your grocery store in pint, 1/2-pint, or quart containers. If the recipe calls for 1 pint of whipped cream, this is the equivalent of 2 cups; 1/2 pint equals 1 cup. A quart of heavy cream equals 4 cups, a good choice if making whipped cream for a crowd because it yields 8 cups.
Weighing the Fat
Cream is ranked according to the amount of fat it contains. Milkfat weighs less than plain milk -- allowing it to rise to the surface -- and is the basis for how cream is ranked. By definition, cream must contain at least 18 percent milkfat, and heavy cream contains as much as 36 percent milkfat. The higher the fat content, the higher the yield of whipped cream and the quicker it whips. Ironically, the butterfat in cream allows it to cut the sweetness of rich desserts, thus providing the perfect complement to your pies, puddings and other sweet treats.
Tricks for Fluffy Cream
To get the most whipped topping out of your 8 ounces of cream, place your bowl and whipping utensils in the freezer for about 10 minutes before using them. If using a copper bowl – an excellent choice for keeping cream cool – do not add acidic flavorings such as lemon or lime. Avoid cartons of heavy cream that are marked "ultrapasteurized"; they won’t whip as readily and often have a burnt-milk aftertaste.
Freezing and Storing
You can make your whipped cream ahead of time by freezing the whipped dollops on waxed paper. Eight ounces of heavy cream yields enough 2-tablespoon dollops for 16 pieces of pie. To freeze, line a cookie sheet with waxed paper, drop your spoonfuls of whipped cream onto the waxed paper, and slide it into the freezer. Once set, cut your wax paper into strips and slide individual groups of whipped peaks into zip-top baggies to avoid loss of quality during longer storage.
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