Or something like that.
So! A funny thing happens when you write a cookbook and your friends buy it. Since they have ready-access to you, you get to hear all sorts of questions that you never thought you would.
First, let me assure you that this story has a mostly happy ending:
But getting there… that was a process.
A couple weeks ago, Raider* Lyssa calls me up with a question about the Mini Quiche recipe in Little Shop of Tapas. (Please note, the Mini Quiche (p.65) is, in fact, a Skill Level 5 dish–her last attempt was a skill level 1, we were making a bit of a jump, here, but I applaud her enthusiasm.) Her question?
What do you mean by cream?
Pardon me if I do the confused puppy head-tilt, here.
What do you mean, what do I mean by cream? Cream is cream!
Not to everyone, apparently!
So, just in case you were ever curious, here’s the dairy rundown:
- Milk: comes from the cow (or, you know, goat in some instances); “whole” cow-milk contains about 4% fat
- Cream: the higher-fat layers that really does rise to the top of un-homogenized milk, gets skimmed off and used to make things like butter, whipped cream, etc. Theoretically anything over 10.5% fat can be considered cream, but most folks (including myself) consider cream to be in the realm of 30%+. See:
- Half-and-Half: can be “made” by mixing half milk and half cream, resulting in a liquid that’s 10.5-18% fat
- Light Cream: (which you don’t usually see in many stores, these days) has between 18-30% fat and is used for mixing into your coffee
- Medium Cream: 25% fat–if you have this in your store, I’d love a picture (I’ve never seen it!)
- Whipping Cream: 30-36% fat
- Heavy Whipping Cream: 36%+ fat
Now, sometimes you’ll see, depending on your store, whipping cream and heavy whipping cream in the dairy case. As you can see, they are virtually the same, and can generally be used interchangeably. With shelf space more dear, what you’ll usually see is Heavy Whipping Cream.
Truth is, either would work for quiche–even half and half would, in a pinch or if you wanted a slightly lighter calorie-wise end product, but you’ll sacrifice a little flavor with the reduction in fat content–since what it’s giving you is a richness of flavor and texture that milk alone will not give (without adding thickeners, that is). If you’re making whipped cream, though, you’re definitely going to want the Whipping or Heavy Whipping cream, as the name implies.
What struck me the most was that Lyssa thought I might have even meant canned milk products (aka Carnation or PET). So a few more factoids for you:
- Evaporated milk: whole milk that has had 60% of the water removed
- (Sweetened) Condensed Milk: Evaporated milk that has had sugar added to it
Neither of these things are cream. No where close. However, some old cookbooks (notably the ones from women’s groups or church fundraisers) may call something PET cream (referring to the brand of canned milk). And though condensed milk (almost always found sweetened, as the unsweetened variety spoils much quicker) is thick and cream-colored and, well, “creamy” it’s still not cream and not applicable for most savory recipes.
That wasn’t Lyssa’s only obstacle, though.
See, I listed Muffin Tins as a substitute for individual tart molds, equipment-wise, and Lyssa thought maybe I meant mini-muffin pans. Yeah, not so much. See, pie dough has a tendency to puff up if it isn’t filled, and by smooshing a 3″ piece of pie dough into a mini-muffin well, what you end up with is a dough tart. No room for filling.
So it was back to the store for Lyssa.
But wait, there’s more!
The original event these were for didn’t happen. Well, it did, but without Lyssa (she ended up with pneumonia, poor thing!), so, feeling better, she decided to make them for our recent gaming day.
A couple hours before I get a frantic/frazzled phone call:
How much do I get for a failed attempt? I forgot the milk!
Yup, she’d puzzled out the cream conundrum only to forget to add the milk to the mixture and wonder why the filling wasn’t going very far?!
But she brought them over anyway and, except for being a little saltier than intended (the milk does make up the majority of the liquid filling, after all, so the seasoning was a smidgen off), they were actually fine!
Not every fail is really a fail. In parlance, this was more like rolling a 2. Or, well, maybe more than that, we ate them, after all!
(And, yes, Lyssa knew I was going to write a post about this, I wouldn’t have used her name if she wasn’t cool with it!)
*So, yeah, I kinda need a way to refer to community members that isn’t as cumbersome as “community member so-and-so”… whaddya think about being Raiders?