Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Technique of the Week: Whipping

Whipping is the process of beating an ingredient vigorously to incorporate air, which makes the ingredient foamy. Whipping transforms heavy cream into whipped cream. Egg whites when whipped form stiff peaks which can be used to make meringue for pies, pavlova, or nougats. Whipped egg whites are also used in mousses, soufflés, and angel food cake. Potatoes and squash are also good candidates for whipping.

One item we use frequently in our house is whipped cream cheese. While it is an obvious accompaniment to bagels, we love it on banana bread! Interestingly, whipped cream cheese is more expensive than regular cream cheese (especially if you prefer the flavored varieties) even though what you are paying for is added air. You can save up to 60% by making your own and the flavor possibilities are endless…

Whipped Cream Cheese
1 - 8 oz. block of cream cheese (or Neufchatel)
3 - 4 tablespoons of milk

Allow cream cheese to come to room temperature. Place cream cheese and milk in a food processor or blender and blitz for a few seconds until smooth and “fluffy.”

Flavor Variations (added to the above ingredients):
  • Fruit - add 3 tablespoons of your favorite jam or preserves;
  • Maple Nut - omit milk and add 3 tablespoons maple syrup and chopped nuts of your choice;
  • Cinnamon - add 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon;
  • Hot pepper - add 1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped, 2 tablespoons chopped green onions or chives, and a pinch of salt;
  • Herb - add 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley (or herb of choice,) 1 tablespoon chopped green onions and 1/2 teaspoon paprika;
  • Roasted Red Pepper - add 1 red bell pepper, roasted, seeded and peeled and ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese;
  • Smoked Salmon {shown above and at left} - add 3 oz. smoked salmon or lox bits an (optionally) 2 tablespoons chopped red onion and 1 teaspoon capers.

Yum

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