Q: For Thanksgiving 2015, I whipped a quart of cream and traveled 150 miles with it in a cooler. It held up well. This year I did the same thing, but our Thanksgiving dinner was two hours later. The cream didn't hold up as well. Is there something I could add that would make the whipped cream stay peaked?
-- Elaine Ebert, Hilliard, Ohio
A: Next year, consider stabilizing your heavy cream when whipping, which will help it to last longer without going soft.
There are several common ways to stabilize whipping cream; the easiest is to add corn starch or cream of tartar to the mix.
For every pint of cream, use 2 teaspoons of corn starch or ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar.
Whip the cream until soft peaks form, then add the cornstarch or cream of tartar along with powdered sugar (1/4 cup) for sweetening and vanilla extract (1 teaspoon) for flavor. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
Another method is to add unflavored gelatin to the cream. This method is preferred when you want to frost or fill a cake with the whipped cream.
First bloom the gelatin in cold water. Use 1 teaspoon of unflavored gelatin for every cup of cream (2 teaspoons per pint).
For each teaspoon of gelatin, pour 2 tablespoons of cold water over it to soften it. Once softened, heat the mixture until the gelatin is dissolved. Cool the gelatin, but not so long that it starts to set up.
Beat the cream to soft peaks. Add in the sugar and vanilla, then add the gelatin in a steady stream while beating continuously. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
Remember when making whipped cream to always start with very cold cream. It's a good idea to chill your bowl and beaters too. The colder the temperature, the better the cream will whip.
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