A few years ago I began a quest to find the perfect faux whipped cream. It came out of desperation when I demanded something that would make a suitable vegan pumpkin pie topping. While there is a delicious store-bought substitution called Soyatoo , it is not always economical for me so I prefer to make my own from scratch (not to mention the repeated dispenser malfunctions I have experienced with this product.)
After trying countless recipes, most involving tofu as a main ingredient, I chose to exercise the phrase, “less is more”. Thus, my soy-free version of whipped cream was created. I think my version tastes just like the real thing, and has great body and texture as well. It is very easy to make and only requires a few simple ingredients. You will need to use an electric hand mixer to achieve the best texture. I guess some vigorous whisking would do the trick as well, but do not take my word for it as I have never tried it myself. Here we go:
1 can coconut milk
2 tablespoons powdered sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Begin by refrigerating the can of coconut milk in an upright position for a minimum of 4 hours. This should be sufficient to allow the separation the resulting “coconut-cream” which rises to the top from the remainder of the can’s liquid contents. Once the can is thoroughly refrigerated, carefully open it without shaking or stirring the contents. Using a spoon, scoop out the cream from the top portion of the can and place it in a chilled bowl. Do not discard the liquid remaining in the can, as it can be used later in smoothies or other recipes. Also, try to work quickly so that the coconut cream does not start to melt or soften.
NOTE – Sometimes I get a “defective” can of coconut milk that does not separate properly into two distinct layers. If this happens to you, do not freak out! You may want to try to remove the portion of the milk that has the thicker consistency, leaving behind only the clear liquid in the bottom of the can. Place the “cream” into a bowl and stick in the freezer for about 30 minutes. This should help to thicken it up and allow you to continue with the rest of the recipe.
Before continuing on, you will want to briefly sift the powdered sugar to insure it is lump-free, and then set it aside. Using your hand-mixer (or your forearm for you brave manual-mixers out there), whip the chilled coconut cream on high speed until it is creamy and fluffy. This should take one or two minutes. Once you are satisfied with the consistency, you then want to add in the vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Continue to whip the mixture for a couple more minutes to make sure everything is combined. The cream should be thick and fluffy at this point. Simply place your whipped cream in the fridge to chill until your ready to serve it. That’s it!
I use this recipe to top my pumpkin pies, shortcakes, or any other dessert I would normally use whipped cream on. It is also delicious on fresh fruit. Keep in mind that the texture is slightly thicker than traditional whipped cream, but the flavor is light and delicious.
I included the specified amount of sugar because I prefer my whipped cream to be on the sweet side, but you can vary the amount if desired. If you prefer it less sweet, try starting with a teaspoon of sugar and gradually add more (whipping again each time you add more sugar) until it is to your liking. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!