The creaminess of classic Alfredo, the smoothness of Veloute and the richness of Bechamel are all made possible with a heavy whipping cream reduction. Reduced heavy whipping cream imparts richness unattainable by using standard heavy cream. With a combination of ideal temperature control, timely skimming, and regular stirring, you can reduce heavy whipping cream at home.
Pour one quart of heavy whipping cream in a nonreactive saucepan.
Set the pan on the range over low heat.
Using a spoon, skim and discard the froth from the surface of the heavy cream.
Cook one quart of heavy cream for approximately 30 minutes over low heat to reduce in volume by half. Gauge the viscosity and volume of the reduction visually and cook until the desired amount is reached.
Stir the reducing heavy cream with a wooden spoon after skimming. Do not scrape the bottom of the saucepan with the spoon as scraping the pan dislodges the caramelized whey, altering the color and flavor of the cream.
Always use grade A heavy whipping cream for reductions. Lower grades have a higher proportion of impurities that can diminish the quality of the reduction.
Be sure to keep your range on low heat. Milk solids in heavy cream scorch can easily and give the reduction a burnt taste.
- "The Professsional Chef 8th Edition"; The Culinary Institute of America; 2006
- Colorado State University Extension: Food Storage for Safety and Quality
A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.