The process of incorporating air into fat molecules, commonly known as whipping cream is as easy as saying "Boston Cream Pie." Like many things, there are a few tricks that make the process a snap.
I'm using a balloon whisk in these photos, but you can also use an electric beater. Just know that everything will happen faster so at the end you'll need to be very watchful.
When you begin to whisk, your arm gets tired before it begins to look as if anything is happening. You want to move the whisk in a back and forth direction rather than a circular direction as this will create more friction and have the job going faster.
There are a few stages of whipping – soft peaks and stiff peaks. Soft peaks are shown in this photo. When you lift the whisk out of the cream, the peak that forms on the end of the whisk should stay on the whisk, but flop over. If you are using an electric beater it's a good idea to finish by hand so you don't go too far.
The cream is at the stiff peak stage when the cream sticks to the whisk and the peak is not floppy. It's a few short whisks away from breaking at this point, so you need to stop immediately.
If you happen to go too far, especially when using the beaters, you can fix it, but again, you need to go slowly.
Pour some unwhipped cream into the broken cream and with a wooden spoon, stir gently until just barely incorporated. You'll need to serve it immediately as it is very unstable at this point.
When cream breaks, the fat is separating from the milk and you are left with two products – butter and buttermilk.
© 2008 Anne Mahle