Sunday, 27 December 2015

What to do with leftover cream

My friend texted me this morning demanding recipes for leftover cream, so I leapt to it (and out of bed) to gather up a range of options, which also reminded me we have 220ml leftover from yesterday's liver paté. She has 450ml left over and it's hard to find a recipe that uses more than 100ml, though soured cream will do the trick, so here are the options - the coffees, the desserts, the savouries, and the soured cream! Each batch of ideas is arranged easiest to most cookish. Plus it also leads to ideas for how to use leftover clementines, vegetables, and meat!


  • Put it in your coffee: easiest option, uses 30ml (two tablespoons) of coffee per cup (or more if you like it really creamy)
  • Irish coffee: whisky, coffee, bit of sugar, and 50ml cream per cup. Here's a good recipe - the trick to keeping the cream and whiskied coffee separate is to have the coffee HOT, the cream COLD (and some say lightly whipped), and to pour the cream over the back of a teaspoon (to lessen the impact as it hits the coffee). ***UPDATE*** Cheffy man, who was asleep when I wrote the post, tells me that it's best to have the cream warmer, not cold: steam it a bit, or hear it gently. And better to pour it into the inside of a spoon (bend a long spoon, he suggests, if you do this much). Even less impact than over the back of a spoon. You could also froth the cream with a cappuccino milk frother, if you have one, for a slightly different experience.

Desserts that use cream

Kesari shrikand (a super-easy Indian dessert), any kind of fool, ice-cream (easy cheat version and trad), and sherry syllabub

Kesari shrikand

Another from my beloved Balti Bible (sadly out of print). Uses 150ml of cream. Mix that with 550g of yoghurt, 2 tablespoons of ground almonds, 3 tablespoons of honey, 1 teaspoon of ground green almonds, and 6-10 saffron strands. Pop it in the fridge for a bit to infuse, then garnish it with some freshly grated nutmeg and chopped pistachio nuts. Pictured above in proper trad style, served in a martini glass, with a shard of sesame brittle.

Any kind of fool

Generally uses 300ml of cream. A fool, for the non-English, is a dessert of whipped cream, fruit, and a dash of sugar. To be seasonal, you could make a rhubarb fool, unless you cunningly froze a clutch of blackberries this autumn,  and you could also make a clementine fool if you have plenty of clemetines lying about as well. I thought the citrus might turn the cream, but Google turned up plenty of promising results. Here's a recipe, with the charming/naff/retro touch [delete according to taste] of serving it inside the clementine skins. And here are a range of BBC recipes for fools.

Easy ice-cream

From my mum's calligraphy recipe book, uses 250ml of cream, crazily easy for ice-cream. Click on the picture to see the enlarged version. (The first big word is "MIX", it's a bit hard to read in Gothic script.)

Traditional ice-cream

This is from the same book and is her mother's recipe, uses 250ml of cream, and makes the most sumptuous ice-cream imaginable. Soooo creamy! She was known as Granny Mom to her many grandchildren (early confusion on the part of my sister, the oldest grandchild); her real name was Christine Vlietstra, and you can see her here, as a WREN during the Second World War.

Sherry syllabub

Another from the same book, uses 250ml cream. This is a South African recipe and is teeth-wincingly sweet (South African desserts are very sweet), so you could use half the amount of condensed milk - or double everything but the condensed milk. It sets quite solidly, so you could also halve the amount of gelatine, or leave it out altogether and have it more the consistency of an alcoholic fool. (Plus then you get to walk into a room and announce, "Who wants an alcoholic fool?!")

Savoury dishes that use cream

  • Soups: Most soups look great with a garnish of cream (two tablespoons = 30ml of cream per serving) plus any vegetable soup that you've blended up can have cream mixed into it (about 60ml of cream per serving, so a soup that serves 4 could take about 250ml of cream). This is great if you also have various leftover veg, cooked or raw, that needs using up.
  • Creamy sauces: make for pasta or baked potatoes: Depending on the sauce, this would probably take about 50ml per serving and could also use up any leftover fish or meat. Eg parsley and smoked haddock, tarragon and salmon, turkey and bacon... whatever you have in the fridge. To see what herbs or spices go with a particular ingredient, just Google the ingredient + "recipe" and a glance at the search results should give you some good ideas.
  • Luxury omelette: add 1 tablespoon (15ml) of cream per egg, plus then you can put in the omelette any leftover veg or meat. Revive peas by pouring boiling water over them, slice pigs in blankets up to sprinkle in, etc etc, whatever's in the fridge.
  • Korma: To make a basic curry into korma, add cream, creamed coconut, almonds, bay leaves, cassia bark / cinnamon, cardamoms, and cloves. For a curry that serves 4-6, use 100ml cream, 100g creamed coconut, 20 whole almonds, 4 bay leaves, 5 cm (2 in) cassia bark / cinnamon, 5 cardamoms, and 5 cloves. The spices go in at the start, the cream and coconut about 20 minutes before it's cooked, and the whole almonds 10 minutes before it's cooked.

Soured cream

If you have loads of cream leftover and little inclination to cook extensively, turn the whole lot into soured cream - which will prolong its life and can be used with heaps of things, like nachos, chilli con carne, tortillas, and kedgeree. Tortillas and nachos are both a great way to use up leftover cooked meat - just tear up the leftover meat and chilli it up with tomatoes, paprika, chilli, limes, and maybe some kidney beans as well.

  • Cheat soured cream is made by adding white fruit vinegar or lemon juice - 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or 1 teaspoon of lemon juice per 250ml of cream, and whip it in. Some add a sprinkle of salt as well (1/4 teaspoon per 250ml of cream).
  • Real soured cream is not just cream that's had something sour added - it's made the same way as yoghurt, and you can use yoghurt as a starter-culture. It's basically yoghurt made with cream instead of milk. This method does prolong its life. I'm not sure the cheat method does. So make it exactly the same way you do yoghurt - here's the recipe - but don't let the cream boil! Cream separates when it boils, and then you'll end up with curds and whey. I judge this without a thermometer by stirring it consistently and waiting until a fair amount of steam rises, on the logic that water evaporates at 100°C so it must be almost there! 220ml of cream took about 10 minutes to cool to the right temperature.
 Happy cooking and waste nothing!

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