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The simple pleasure of infused cream
(article, Kim Carlson)
Whipped cream is a rich, dependable garnish for your favorite dessert. But once you've had it 10 or 20 times, it can become, well, a little uninteresting. Infused whipped cream, however, is not difficult to make, and can enliven even the simplest dessert.
As its name implies, infused cream is nothing more than cream that's been infused with another flavor, such as tea, brandy, or espresso. Recently, Jehnee Rains, the pastry chef at Bluehour in Portland, Oregon — and a former pastry chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California — showed us how to make Hazelnut-Infused Whipped Cream.
Use Jehnee's infused cream to top such desserts as chocolate pudding, flourless chocolate cake, pear tart, or — in summertime — a simple bowl of berries.
Or try Rains' delicious ], both creamy desserts that rely on a slightly different technique.
Here then is the how-to:
#(clear). [%image choppingnuts float='clear left' width=350]Toast 2 tablespoons hazelnuts in a baking pan in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes. Remove the nuts from the oven, let cool for a few minutes, and then rub off their skins. Chop the nuts in a food processor or with a knife.
#(clear). [%image cream float='clear left' width=350]Heat 1 cup cream over medium heat until the cream is scalded but not boiling.
#(clear). [%image nutsincream float='clear left' width=350]Add the chopped nuts to the cream, cover the pan, and set aside to cool for about 30 minutes. Transfer the cream to a bowl and refrigerate it overnight.
#(clear). [%image straincream float='clear left' width=350]Strain the chilled cream into a mixing bowl through a fine-mesh sieve.
#(clear). [%image pressnuts float='clear left' width=350]Press the nuts with the back of a spoon to extract every last drop of the hazelnut-flavored cream.
#(clear). [%image whippedcream float='clear left' width=350]Add 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar and whip the cream until soft peaks form.
#(clear). [%image finishedcream float='clear left' width=350]Serve the freshly whipped cream atop your favorite chocolate dessert, apple pie, or pear tart.