*Editorial Note 5/26/10: There is seeming confusion as to what this is. This is a lemon infused whipped cream, and not meringue. I simply used that sweet dessert to exemplify a whisking/beating technique used used to peak certain foods. I hope you still enjoy the recipe for the whipped cream!
One of my most fun and delicate things to make at home is meringue. Mami taught me at an early age how to take eggs and tons of sugar and just beat it with a fork, until it was firm enough to eat right from the bowl. She taught me the perfect motion and timing of it so that it wouldn’t break. Ultimately, el merengue was intended to be lightly toasted over open fire, but it was just too good to even last long enough for me to make it to the stove.
When it did, it was heavenly.
Kind of like roasting marsh mellows when enjoying tent camping.
Her keen ability at teaching me cooking technique (til this day) has taken me a long way in my culinary growth and evolution. Reiterating the importance of not interrupting my beating motion has made some wonderful creams and icings.
Since, then, I’ve never really had the need for a mixer. Anything that requires mixing or beating, has always been done with the strength of my hand. And no, it’s not because P90x has given me nicely toned forearms. I just believe in the natural strength I’ve been given. You have it, too!
Well, my friends, that changed a couple of weeks ago while making whipped cream to eat with left over strawberries; and I’m not afraid to admit it. I’ve been fortunate to never break any form of creams, etc… Even when I make plain whipped cream. But I’ll be damned if this time, the one time I decide to get all sassy, my hands couldn’t take it.
However, and to my credit, I think I know why. I didn’t have enough whipping cream and so the ratio to sugar and vanilla extract was off. I thought I could get away with adding evaporated milk.
Yeah, not so much! At that point, I had been beating for about 5 minutes, y nada. *Eye Roll*. So, I put my bowl down, (yes I covered it and put it in the fridge) and quickly took a drive to the farmer’s market next door to buy more heavy whipping cream.
Determined not to eat those berries in a milkshake, I continued beating with my hand, though not getting any closer to my desired consistency. Time to break out the Kitchen Aid. Ugh. I love that thing, I swear I do, but I hate being defeated. I felt like a young Adam Sandler at the beginning of the movie Anger Management.
Just humiliated and shameful.
But, I was redeemed. I added more sugar, more cream, a great amount of lemon zest (because I’m just addicted to adding lemon zest to everything these days) and let the mixer do it’s thing. It took 5 more minutes (while I just shook my head in disdain), but it was done and I was closer to licking the attachment clean.
What I learned from this 1st time experience of having to make whipped cream in the mixer, is that I didn’t go with my instinct in knowing the simplest thing: I didn’t have enough whipping cream to begin with.
Ergo, laziness gets you no where, fast…
So, see. After all, it wasn’t an issue of my lack of beating strength! It was all about the imbalance of ingredients–something we should all know is a key ingredient to making any dish work (and the duly noted laziness).
As for the lemon zest infused cream, I’ll tell you it’s perfect and worth making all Spring and Summer long. It’s silky smooth, has a great tangy twist and compliments all the nice fruit arrangements you’ll have on your soirée menus.
You simply can’t go wrong with it.
Just don’t be defeated. Put that arm to work!
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 4 tbsp. white sugar
- zest from 1 lemon
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
In a glass or metal mixing bowl, add whipping cream, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Start whisking in sugar until the cream reaches a stiff peak, (about 222 beats per minute!). Store in tight container for up to 10-12 hours. I’ve kept mine 2 or so days and simply rewhisked for about 10-15 seconds to reconstitute.