A handful of years ago, I asked my babysitter Sara to pick up some heavy whipping cream for a butternut squash soup I had planned for supper. When I went rummaging around the fridge later in the day for that half pint of cream, I landed instead on a large canister of Reddi Whip. With dinner imminent and my sitter long gone, I made the soup creamless, leaving the whipped cream to be discovered the next morning by my children. They squealed with delight that finally mom had bought the “good” kind and within minutes were squirting it into their mouths straight from the bottle.
I’m sure my kids thought the Reddi Whip was the start of something really terrific in our house. But alas, on the occasions when I do buy whipping cream, it remains the version that requires a bit of elbow grease or a set of beaters to turn into soft peaks. And the recipe has to be worth the indulgence.
This recipe here is certainly worthy. It comes from my Scottish friend Margo, and belies the notion that the only foods coming out of the kitchens of her rugged homeland are the likes of fried Mars bars and haggis. Margo served this luxurious cream with strawberries following a dinner amongst friends who had gathered one uncommonly warm night a couple of summers ago. I’ve since made it many times.
The “cloud” in the recipe has just four ingredients: Greek-style yogurt, heavy whipping cream, brown sugar and vanilla extract. The yogurt lends an appealing tang and a bit of heft to the whipped cream, yet remains delicate enough so as not to interfere with the flavor of the fruit. I use low- or non-fat yogurt, which makes it both a little lighter on the palate and in saturated fat than bare naked whipped cream.
You can serve this with whatever berries you like and can adjust the brown sugar depending on the sweetness of the fruit (and the seriousness of your sweet tooth). The cream is also fairly heavenly over grilled peaches or pineapple, rolled into crepes, or sandwiched between strawberry shortcakes. You can also spoon it into a pastry bag and aim it straight into your children’s mouths. They’ll think you’re crazy and wonderful.
Summer Berries in a Cloud
This is one of my go-to dishes for dinner parties and gatherings. As such, the recipe serves eight. Feel free to cut it in half for a smaller crowd.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup low- or non-fat Greek-style yogurt
1/2 cup gently packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 cups berries, if using strawberries, cut them to the size of a blackberry
Pour the whipping cream into a medium bowl and beat with a whisk or electric beaters until soft peaks form.
Put the yogurt, brown sugar and vanilla in a separate medium bowl and whisk vigorously until the ingredients are combined and the yogurt is silky smooth. Spoon the whipped cream on top of the yogurt and use a rubber spatula to gently fold the cream into the yogurt until the ingredients are one consistency, trying your best not to deflate the cream.
Divide the cream into eight glasses and top with berries. Serve immediately.
Makes 8 servings