Whipped cream is cream that is whipped by a whisk or mixer until it is light and fluffy. Whipped cream is often sweetened and sometimes flavoured with vanilla, and is often called Chantilly cream or crème Chantilly.
Methods of Whipping
Cream is usually whipped with a whisk, an electric or hand mixer, or a food processor.
Whipped cream is often flavoured with sugar, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, orange, and so on. Many 19th-century recipes recommend adding gum tragacanth to stabilise whipped cream; a few include whipped egg whites. Various other substances, including gelatin and diphosphate (E450), are used in commercial stabilisers.
Whipped cream may also be made in a whipping siphon, typically using nitrous oxide as the gas, as carbon dioxide tends to give a sour taste. The siphon may have replaceable cartridges or be sold as a pre-pressurised retail package. The gas dissolves in the butterfat under pressure, and when the pressure is released, produces bubbles and thus whipped cream.
Crème Chantilly is another name for whipped cream. The difference between “whipped cream” and “crème Chantilly” is not systematic. Some authors distinguish between the two, with crème Chantilly being sweetened, and whipped cream not. However, most authors treat the two as synonyms, with both being sweetened, neither being sweetened, or treating sweetening as optional. Many authors use only one of the two names (for the sweetened or unsweetened version), so it is not clear if they distinguish the two.
The invention of crème Chantilly is often credited incorrectly, and without evidence, to François Vatel, maître d’hôtel at the Château de Chantilly in the mid-17th century. But the name Chantilly is first connected with whipped cream in the mid-18th century, around the time that the Baronne d’Oberkirch praised the “cream” served at a lunch at the Hameau de Chantilly – but did not say what exactly it was, or call it Chantilly cream.
The names “crème Chantilly”, “crème de Chantilly”, “crème à la Chantilly”, or “crème fouettée à la Chantilly” only become common in the 19th century. In 1806, the first edition of Viard’s Cuisinier Impérial mentions neither “whipped” nor “Chantilly” cream, but the 1820 edition mentions both.
The name Chantilly was probably used because the château had become a symbol of refined food.
Imitation Whipped Cream
Imitations of whipped cream, often sold under the name whipped topping or squirty cream, are commercially available. They may be used for various reasons:
- To exclude dairy ingredients:
- for milk allergies
- for vegan diets
- for religious reasons, such as dietary laws forbidding mixing meat with dairy
- To provide extended shelf life (often in the freezer).
- To reduce the price—though some popular brands cost twice as much as whipped cream.
- For convenience.
Whipped topping normally contains some mixture of partially hydrogenated oil, sweeteners, water, and stabilizers and emulsifiers added to prevent syneresis, similar to margarine instead of the butter fat in the cream used in whipped cream.
Whipped cream or crème Chantilly is a popular topping for fruit and desserts such as pie, ice cream (especially sundaes), cupcakes, cake, milkshakes, waffle, hot chocolate, Jello and puddings. It is also served on coffee, especially in the Viennese coffee house tradition, where coffee with whipped cream is known as Melange mit Schlagobers. Whipped cream is used as an ingredient in many desserts, for example as a filling for profiteroles and layer cakes.