Cream is the fat
that rises to the top of whole milk. It has a smooth, satiny texture and
is labeled according to its butterfat content (heavy to light). Creams are
usually labeled "pasteurized" or "ultra-pasteurized". Ultra
pasteurized creams have a longer shelf life than pasteurized creams, but taste
is affected (some say it has a cooked flavor). For superior taste,
although it can be hard to find, buy 'pasteurized' not 'ultra pasteurized'
Cream or Heavy
"Whipping" Cream has 36 - 40% butterfat and when
whipped it holds its form and
doubles in volume. Heavy cream is used for filling and decorating pastries.
Whipping Cream has a
butterfat content of 30%. It whips but not as well as heavy cream, and will not
hold its form long. Good for fillings but does not hold up well for
Light or Coffee Cream
has 18-30% butterfat.
Half and Half Cream is a
mixture of cream and whole milk and contains 10 - 18% butterfat. Mainly used
in beverages and does not whip.
Single Cream has a 20%
butterfat content and is used in both sweet and savory cooking.
Double (rich) Cream has
a 48% butterfat content and can be whipped and is also used in pies and sauces.
Clotted Cream (Devonshire or Devon
Cream) is a thick, rich, yellowish cream with a scalded or cooked flavor
that is made by heating unpasteurized milk until a thick layer of cream sits on
top. The milk is cooled and the layer of cream is skimmed off.
Clotted cream has 55-60 percent fat content and is so thick it does not need
whipping. Traditionally served with scones and fruit. Clotted cream
is produced commercially in Devon, Cornwall, and Somerset England.
In the States it is sold in small jars and can be
found in specialty food stores or else through mail order catalogs (The Baker's
Catalogue 1-800-827-6836 or kingarthurflour.com).
Creme Fraiche is pronounced 'krem
fresh'. It is a thick and smooth heavy cream with a wonderfully rich and
velvety texture. This matured cream has a nutty, slightly sour taste produced by culturing
pasteurized cream with a special bacteria. (However, in France, where it originated, the
cream is unpasteurized so it naturally contains the bacteria necessary to make
creme Fraiche .) The butterfat content varies
(usually 30%), as there is no set standard so you will find every brand tastes a
Creme Fraiche can be found in specialty food stores and some grocery stores
although it is quite expensive. To make your own, simply combine 1-cup
(240 ml) heavy cream (preferably pasteurized, as ultra
pasteurized will take much longer to thicken and will not taste as good)
with 1-tablespoon buttermilk. Warm the cream to about 105 degrees F (40
degrees C). Remove from
heat and add the buttermilk. Allow the mixture to stand in a warm place, loosely
covered, until thickened but still pourable. This can take anywhere from 8 to 36
hours, but taste every 6 hours. The
fraiche is ready when it is thick with a
slightly nutty sour taste. Refrigerate. Will keep up to a week in the
is used in both sweet and savory dishes. Makes a wonderful topping for
fresh berries, cobblers and puddings.