Freebie alert: there is a free handout download at the bottom of this post. You will find a PDF with 2 pages which include this strawberry recipe plus a bonus recipe for chocolate covered strawberries.
Do you love ice cream? Everyone does! But a half cup of ice cream is typically around 160 calories. This can equate to more than 300 calories for one measly cup and you often end up with a whole tub of ice cream in your freezer. Here is a way to indulge in a delicious dessert with fresh fruit and whipped cream for just 100 calories per cup. (And it has 4 grams of fiber, too.)
First, here is a little lesson on heavy cream from our chef, Judy Doherty:
Light whipping cream has 30-35% butterfat by weight as required by the USDA, which is about double that of half and half. Light whipping cream contains about 3 grams of fat per tablespoon, 1.5 g saturated fat, and 30 calories. But one tablespoon of whipped cream over fresh fruit is very satiating and only half that amount since it contains about 50% air. This dessert featured here is a great alternative to ice cream where people often eat a whole cup at a cost of over 300 calories. Light whipping cream works well for toppings. It will whip better if the bowl and whip or beaters are kept very cold.
Heavy whipping cream contains 36% butterfat. It contains about 5 g of total fat per tablespoon, 3.5 g saturated fat, and 50 calories per tablespoon. Heavy cream will stay whipped for several days. You can whip it to very stiff peaks, which is a good stage for piping or making shapes. This cream is often used in pastries or chocolate truffle confections or chocolate icing glazes. You can also whip it to a softer stage called soft peak and that is good for toppings. You should keep the bowl and whip or beaters very cold.
Manufacturer's heavy cream usually has about 36-40% butterfat but that amount is not regulated by the USDA. This is a more industrial-use heavy cream for foodservice and is not commonly available for home use.
Cost comparisons: Heavy cream that comes in a pint or quart in the grocery store is almost 1/4th of the cost of the light whipping cream that comes in a can with nitrous oxide (about .13 cents per ounce versus .46 cents per ounce). Most of the aerosol cans of cream contain about 15 calories and 1 gram of fat per tablespoon serving. At first glance this seems lower in calories than regular cream but that is because it contains 50% air whereas the regular cream is not whipped. If you want a can of cream on hand for a couple of weeks, the convenience (and portion control) can be worth the cost. The flavor and texture from the canned variety is not as rich as the one you whip by hand.
How to whip: For best results, just add about a teaspoon of sugar per pint, along with vanilla extract to make a cream called Creme Chantilly. Start adding the sugar after the cream is thick so the sugar will stay suspended in the cream. Cream often doubles in volume when whipped. So one tablespoon of whipped cream by volume is really around a half tablespoon of cream. Be careful not to overwhip the cream because it can easily turn to butter or get very grainy.
This elegant dessert is also a fun food project for kids, but it can be made by absolutely any member of the family. Here's what you need to do.
Step One: Pour some light whipping cream into a small bowl and whip it with a bit of vanilla and a pinch of sugar until it's firm.
Step Two: Hull, slice, and feather a few strawberries. Fan them out on a plate and surround them with fresh blueberries.
Step Three: Use a tablespoon to scoop an egg-shaped "quenelle" from the bowl of whipped cream. You can also use an oval scoop.
Step Four: Place the quenelle over the fresh berries and serve.
You can add any number of garnishes to this dish. Lemon zest, slivered mint, or chocolate shavings would all be pretty touches. A sifted layer of cocoa powder or powdered sugar is a great idea too. You can even add a drizzle of chocolate sauce, as pictured here.
To make the dish extra kid-friendly, skip the slicing and scatter an assortment of small and fresh berries all over the plate. Raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries are delicious contenders.
For even more ideas about healthful, balanced, yet show-stopping fruit desserts, check out the free eBook, Fruit Tooth. Our amazing chefs have put together truly wonderful delights, and they're all free. Get your copy today!
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FREE Handout: Recipes for Berries and Cream PLUS BONUS RECIPE: Chocolate covered strawberries - Berries and Whipped Cream + Chocolate Strawberries - FREE Photo Recipe Handout
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.