I live in the Middle East and the only cream that is regulary available is in the form of UHT. Can I use UHT the same way as regular cream or do I have to treat it differently?
UHT (sometimes known as ultra-pasteurized) cream is often popular as it has it has a longer shelf life than regular pasteurized cream and also in some cases does not need refrigerating (storage should be clearly marked on the packaging but if in doubt refrigerate the cream). There is also sterilized cream (occasionally called cooking cream) which is usually sold either in cans or sealed tetra packs and is usually an ambient product so does not need refrigerating.
Some feel that the taste of UHT cream is slightly different to pasteurized cream but for most people this is not an issue. Generally UHT cream can be used in cooked dishes as a direct substitute for double, heavy or whipping cream. However UHT cream can be more difficult to whip. You need a minimum of 30% fat content in any cream to be able to whip it, so you may need to check the fat content of your cream - and if it is suitable for whipping this is often stated on the packaging. However it can be more difficult to get the cream to whip to a decent volume or to a consistency that can be piped and quite often the whipped cream doesn't hold for that long (tends to start to loose volume and may separate slightly). you can sometimes get better volume by making sure that the cream, bowl and whisk are thoroughly chilled though it will still not hold that well.
Sterilized cream only has a 23% fat content so cannot be whipped but it can be used for cooking and pouring. The sterilization process will tend to affect the taste a little more than for UHT cream so you may prefer to use it for items like sauces, where it is mixed with other ingredients.