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Whipping Cream for Meringue Gelato Cake

Asked by lilsis. Answered on 12th July 2019

Full question

I made Nigella's Meringue Gelato Cake. I used single cream (double impossible to get in France) and whipped until like soft ice cream but found that the cream split and I have a lot of milk in the bottom of the bowl. What did I do wrong? The first time I made it all went well. Does ambient temperature, temperature of cream and length of whipping make a difference?

Meringue Gelato Cake With Chocolate Sauce
Photo by Petrina Tinslay
Meringue Gelato Cake With Chocolate Sauce
By Nigella
  • 14
  • 2

Our answer

Nigella's Meringue Gelato Cake With Hot Chocolate Sauce (from NIGELLISSIMA) is a very easy to make dessert that uses whipped cream and crushed store-bought meringues for the gelato cake. The recipe uses double cream for the UK, but as this is difficult to find outside of the UK it is possible to make the gelato cake with fresh whipping cream as long as the fat content of the cream is 30% or more. If you whip cream with a lower fat content it will tend not to hold air but the fat molecules and water will separate and if you keep whipping you will eventually get a small pat of butter plus watery liquid.

In France the labelling of cream can be a little confusing. Many are labelled as "épaisse" or "semi-épaisse" but this is misleading as it means that the cream is thickened, but this can be due to added thickening agents or heat treatment rather than from the fat content. Crème entier has a fat content of around 30% and crème légère has a fat content of 10-15% (so is not suitable for whipping). In addition many creams sold with a higher fat content are UHT and UHT cream is hard to whip successfully, even if it has a higher fat content. We suggest that you look in the chiller cabinets for a "crème fleurette entière" that has a fat content of 30% or more - it should say "30% MG" somewehere on the packaging or in the nutritional information box you should be able to see the fat content per 100 g/mls and look for one with 30g fat or more. There is also a creme à fouetter mascarpone (made by Elle & Vire) that has a fat content of 35% and is ideal for whipping. You can often find it in the chilled dairy section of larger supermarkets and hypermarkets.

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