At our gut-healing cafe in Eugene, Oregon what one item flies out the door almost as fast as bone broth and bone broth soups?
It’s no wonder: these beautiful layered desserts are all topping! For anyone who loves decadence, (and that’s me), parfaits give us permission to eat a whole bowl-full of the rich stuff: maple syrup ganache, honey-sweetened compote, fresh local berries, grass-fed egg yolk-rich custard, peppermint whipped cream, vanilla bean creme fraiche, nut-date crumble, sprouted nuts.
They all get layered, depending on the parfait flavor, and eaten with a spoon! We may also layer in some lovely grain-free, sugar-free cookies, brownies, chocolate cake, scones or shortbread; but invariably the rich toppings play the key role, visually, texturally and flavor-wise.
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One conundrum develops: how to keep the whipped cream from collapsing? Once again gelatin plays the silent supporting role, literally and figuratively. Today I’ll share my recipe for keeping your whipped cream bloomy and voluminous. This method works great for cream pies too, anywhere you want whipped cream that will last and that won’t wilt!
As a side note, be sure to use grass-fed, organic cream. Grass-fed, organic cream provides guilt-free pleasure AND helps to support a worthy farm that’s doing animal husbandry, human nutrition and sustainable farming right. (When cows eat grass you get the correct omega-3:omega-6 ratio in your food. See my article on this topic, Conventional Dairy (and Meat) Products, to understand the importance of avoiding American conventional dairy.)
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream, preferably grass-fed and organic
- 1/4 cup filtered water, room temperature
- 1/4 cup local raw honey or pure maple syrup (optional)
- 1 tsp. gelatin, (sustainably-sourced gelatin is recommended with a link below)
- *flavor options- 1/8 tsp. peppermint oil, citrus oil, or 1 tsp. vanilla extract (the strength of different peppermint oil brands will vary; so start with 1/8 tsp., to taste; and add more if needed)
- *flavor variations- use Matcha green tea powder dissolved in the water, 1-2 tsp., to taste, strong, black coffee in place of the water, a favorite liqueur in place of the water, or whisk 1 T. cocoa into the water until it's fully dissolved
- Pour the water into a small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin evenly over its surface.
- Over low heat constantly stir the water until it begins to steam and the gelatin becomes clear and fully dissolved. Do not simmer. Add optional sweetener and stir briefly. Set aside.
- Pour cream into a chilled bowl, blender, or food processor.
- Using a hand-held mixer or food processor, beat the cream just until the soft peaks begin to form; times will vary depending on your equipment, up to 3-4 minutes with a hand-held mixer.
- When soft peaks are forming and the whole mass is happily volumizing, slowly pour the gelatin water in at one side of your bowl, whisking the stream of liquid into the body of your rising cream.
- Stop beating the cream when it is whipped beautifully, and before it becomes butter.
- It is now ready to use on top of pie, layered in parfaits etc. Or chill it for a short period to stiffen it a bit more for a purpose like piping it.