Your strawberry shortcake will thank you.
Whipped Cream
Credit: Getty / MichellePatrickPhotographyLLC

I might just make more whipped cream in summer than any other season. From a simple topping for fresh fruit to all those pies, crisps, and crumbles, not to mention ice cream sundaes, it seems that I am forever pouring cream into my stand mixer to make a delicious cloud. Which of course is complicated, since summer is the season that is hardest to keep cream whipped. Heat is the enemy of whipped cream, and I hate when you can't even get everyone at the table served before your beautiful swirl has begun to sag and puddle.

They make all kinds of stabilizing agents for whipped cream, but they often affect the flavor a bit much for me. Think about whipped cream frosting on grocery store birthday cakes. They are a particular pleasure as a unit, but not really your preferred whipped cream experience separated from the whole.

How to make whipped cream that won't wilt?

So, how to make whipped cream that doesn't wilt? The answer is to add acid and fat, and those come courtesy of either sour cream or crème fraiche.

Adding one of these cultured creams to your whipping cream will do two things that make it perfect for summer whipped cream. It will help to stabilize the result so that it doesn't break down as quickly, meaning you can make it up to 4 hours in advance, or top a cream pie with it and refrigerate, and get no weeping. And two, it adds a little bit of tang, which is a wonderful balance for the sweetness of summer desserts.

How to add sour cream or crème fraiche to whipped cream

The ratio is simple. For every cup of whipping cream, add 4 tablespoons of either sour cream or crème fraiche, and then whip as you always do. If you want to sweeten your whipped cream, use confectioners' sugar, which will dissolve immediately and prevent the cream from being grainy or getting overwhipped. You can also add vanilla for a traditional Chantilly. Once you start adding a cultured cream to your whipped cream, you'll be amazed at how well it keeps aloft; it can even be used as a whipped cream frosting for cakes.

So, whether you are layering strawberry shortcake, garnishing a Key lime pie, or topping a fresh berry crumble, be sure to whip your cream with a little something extra this summer.