If there’s one downside to freshly whipped cream—an otherwise perfect and surprisingly versatile food—it’s that you have to whip it just before serving. At any time besides the holidays, this is no big deal, but trying to track down the mixer while people are milling around asking about cake or mince pies adds an extra layer of chaos to an already chaotic situation.
This is where stabilised whipped cream comes in handy. With the addition of a gelling agent or thickener, you can whip up cream that stays fluffy and creamy for days without weeping or melting. Professional bakeries typically stabilise whipped cream with gelatin, but there’s a much cheaper, simpler, easier-to-find, option: milk powder. Its high protein content helps those stiff peaks stay that way, and unlike gelatin, it’s vegetarian.
The recipe is extremely simple. For each 450mL of very cold heavy cream—be sure to buy “heavy” cream or “heavy whipping” cream for the highest butterfat percentage—you’ll need about a tablespoon of nonfat dry milk powder. Any brand will do; just add it in with your sugar and/or vanilla and beat normally. Whether it’s made the day before or the morning of, you’ll have thick, pipe-able whipped cream that holds its shape through dessert and every late-night pie snack to come.