Ina’s Tip for Gravity-Defying Make-Ahead Whipped Cream

Plus, her secret for enhancing the flavor of make-ahead desserts.

The warm weather of spring also heralds the arrival of the outdoor party. Woo hoo! But when the sun is shining no one wants to wait over a hot oven for a dessert to bake, am I right? Follow Ina’s tips from Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like a Pro for elegant make-ahead desserts that don’t sacrifice flavor.

Make Your Whipped Cream Ahead of Time

One issue with make-head desserts is the whipped cream. If you whip cream ahead of time, it tends to deflate before you top a dessert with it. Ina’s solution is to add two tablespoons of creme fraiche in with the cold cream, sugars and vanilla extract. She then whips the mixture on high speed until soft peaks form. The creme fraiche “makes the cream stable so that it can be made ahead,” Ina said.

Turn Up the Flavor Volume with Liqueurs

Ina bumps up the flavor of make-ahead desserts with complementary liqueurs. She uses coffee liqueur in many of her chocolate desserts inlcuding Chocolate Banana Cream Pie and Mocha Chocolate Ice Box Cake.

She also keeps a stash of fruit liqueurs. “I actually keep a lot of fruit liqueurs in the pantry,” said Ina. “It really enhances the flavor of make-ahead fruit desserts.” Here are her favorite ways to use them:

Framboise - Framboise is raspberry liqueur from France. “It's really magical in Red Berry Trifle,” Ina says. She also uses it in her Raspberry Creme Brulee and Mixed Berry Pavlova. To be safe, just toss it in everything that has berries.

Limoncello - Ina uses this Italian lemon liqueur to make cheesecake squares sing. “I add it to the filling to enhance the lemon flavor and bring the cheesecake to life,” she said. She also uses it to dress up fruit salad.

Calvados - Use this French apple brandy to turn up the volume on French Apple Galettes, suggests Ina. “I heat it up with apricot jelly and brush it onto sliced apples arranged on store-bought puff pastry, and it adds a really professional finishing touch.”

Creme de Cassis - Ina uses this French black currant liqueur in three ways in her Chocolate Cassis Cake. “First, I add a splash to the cake batter, then more to the ganache. And finally, I add it to a mixture of strawberries, raspberries, and sugar that I serve on the side,” she said. “I love the chocolate and the berry combination, and the cassis really makes the flavors pop.”

Get more Ina-approved tips and tricks on Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like A Pro Sundays at 11:30a|10:30c.

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