Chantilly cream is the French term for sweetened whipped cream, often used in pastries and as toppings for desserts. It is believed to have originated at a party at the Chateau de Chantilly, where chef Francois Vatel first served Louis XIV and his guests the now popular cream. Chantilly cream is very simple to make and can be flavoured with liquors and extracts to accompany any dessert.
Making a basic cream
To make Chantilly cream, you must aerate double cream by whipping it vigorously. Only use heavy whipping cream, not half and half, because the light, airy texture can only be achieved with a high-fat cream. Icing sugar works best to sweeten the cream because it does not have the gritty texture of granulated sugar. Granulated sugar is acceptable, however, if you do not have icing sugar on hand. Combine 1 cup of double cream with 2 tbsp of sugar in a large mixing bowl. With a hand mixer, beat the cream in a circular motion on high speed for 3 to 5 minutes until the cream forms stiff peaks and it holds its shape. If you do not have a hand mixer, beat the cream with a whisk for 5 minutes. Hold the bowl with the ingredients in the crook of your arm and, with the whisk in your other hand, use quick and continuous back-and-forth motions to beat the cream. Refrigerate the cream until you are ready to serve dessert.
Do not beat it too long, or you will end up with a buttery consistency rather than a light, creamy topping. If the cream is beaten for too long, use the buttery cream as delicious topping on toast or as a frosting for cakes.
Chantilly cream in the United States often has liquor added to it. Add your flavouring to the ingredients before mixing to incorporate the flavouring thoroughly. Try mixing in 1 tbsp of limoncello if you are using the cream as an accompaniment to a berry dessert. For chocolate pies, tarts or cakes, beat in 1 tbsp of orange or raspberry extract or liquor. Vanilla extract and almond extracts are very popular additions to Chantilly cream, and their flavours will be heightened if you add ½ tbsp of finely grated lemon zest as well. For an elegant and mature taste, add 2 tbsp of rum or cognac to your cream. This is a perfect topping for spiced cakes or citrus desserts. Add 2 tbsp of a sweet dessert white wine along with 1 tbsp of vanilla extract for a lighter cream, perfect for flaky pastries or fresh fruits.