Monday, March 15, 2010

Strawberries and Whipped Cream

I love strawberries and whipped cream. Actually I love them together and independently of each other. When I was a little girl my favorite nursery rhyme was Curly Locks:

Curly Locks! curly locks! wilt thou be mine?
Thou shall't not wash dishes, nor yet feed the swine,
But sit on a cushion and sew a fine seam,
And feed upon strawberries, sugar, and cream!

That seemed idyllic to me. The leisure of being able to just sit and do handwork while eating strawberries, sugar and cream. Ah! As I grew up, my tastes refined and not just any strawberry would do. I prefered fresh picked ripe strawberries directly from the field and the whipped cream had to be homemade. Unfortunately, other than growing my own, the local strawberry fields are open only for a few weeks each year for public picking and the roadside stands are fewer and harder to find. When I can find organic locally grown berries it is pure heaven. When I was young I was happy with the "whipped cream" that came in a spray can as well as the tubs of "whipped topping." Neither of which actually had no real whipped cream in them. One day someone made me real fresh whipped cream and I became a whipped cream snob.

Here is my favorite recipe for whipped cream:

Take 1 cup of heavy whipping cream (don't use that lower fat stuff, go for the real stuff) and put it in a glass or stainless steel mixing bowl (preferably one you have chilled). Set your mixer to whip and let it go. Watch it, because there is a fine line between whipped cream and butter. When nice soft peaks start to form add up to 1 tsp of vanilla (I like to use the Wilton clear vanilla as it doesn't distort the lovely whiteness of the whipped cream, but any will do) and 1-2 Tbl of confectioner's sugar. Now if you happen to be lucky enough to live somewhere that actually sells the ultra-fine table sugar (not just regular table sugar, but the really fine not quite confectioner's sugar) you can substitute that, but I have not seen it in stores since cake flour disappeared. Start with 1 tablespoon and if that isn't sweet enough for you add more at 1 teaspoon at a time. Eat. With strawberries or even a spoon or if one is too far across your kitchen your finger.

I've had many a dessert ruined because of imitation whipped cream or out of season strawberries. Both deserve to be fresh. Treat yourself to some soon.

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