Thursday, May 21, 2009

What Do You Do With a Half Gallon of Cream?

Last month at the Westside Community Market we ran into a friend of ours we hadn't seen in quite a while. She told us one of the dairies with a stall there was selling some close-date cream at rock bottom prices. We bought a half gallon and then set to work figuring out how to use it.

First, my co-conspirator used some to make a batch of a wonderfully rich vanilla ice cream that was swirled with dulce de leche. OK, that's three cups down and five to go.

For the next application I turned to one of my perennial favorites from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. There is a simple dish called Oeufs en Cocotte or Eggs Baked in Ramekins. First, you warm some cream in a buttered ramekin in some water on the stove top.

Next, break a couple eggs into the cream and spoon some more cream over the top and add a little pat of butter, as if it's not rich enough already.

Then put the whole thing in the oven until the eggs are just set. A little salt and pepper on top finish it off. It's so good! If you want to get fancy you can add herbs and various sauces but I like mine relatively plain.

Great! OK, now we've still got over four-and-a-half cups of cream left. Harkening back to my grade school days I recalled a time when the teacher showed us how to make butter. She put some cream in a jar and we passed it around the room, each of us taking turns shaking it as hard as we could. Eventually we ended up with a little blob of fresh butter. At the time I was too squeamish to taste it, though. Hard to believe, I know. Well, times have changed.

Not wanting to spend my whole weekend shaking a jar, I gained some help from technology. I allowed a cup of the cream to warm a bit. Placing it in the bowl of the stand mixer with the whip attachment and the splash guard in place I set to work. In only a short time I had whipped cream. Then the only job was to go to far! The butter quickly formed and started splashing the milky water that had been in the cream out of the bowl.

The next step required switching to the paddle beater and working the butter some more to remove more of the water.

After it looked like the machine had done all it could, it came time for some hand work. I added a small amount of very cold water to the bowl and kneaded the butter with a spatula to work out the milky water that had been in the cream.

I repeated this step a couple more times until the water stayed clear. Leaving too much liquid in the butter makes it go bad faster. Now I was left with a smooth blob of fresh butter.

Nothing left to do now but eat it! The flavor is very fresh and creamy, of course. In the end the last four-plus cups of milk were made into butter in three batches, only one of which was salted. The last, largest batch was made into little rolls wrapped in waxed paper and frozen. I'm thinking there may be some cupcakes with buttercream frosting in the future!

1 Responses (Leave a Comment):

Michigoose said...

Hmmm. Looks like you need some scones to go with that butter....and many scone recipes use cream. One of my favorites, ginger-lemon scones with cranberries. :)