Now this is a ‘naughty but nice’ cream. It is great on the side with baked fruit, but also useful as a filling for those last-minute fruit tarts. Just fill a pastry case with it, cover with fruit, give it a quick glaze if you like (1 tablespoon jam and 1 tablespoon water warmed in a pan) and Bob’s your uncle and Fanny’s your aunt.
This cream has a lighter texture than mascarpone cream. It goes well with almost any dessert.
Whip the cream and sugar until the mixture stays in soft peaks. Don't over-whip.
Don't buy vanilla essence and don't buy ready-made vanilla sugar. It's so expensive, you don't get much and you can so easily make a much better version yourself. You should use vanilla pods. Although the pods are quite expensive, the recipe works out much cheaper in the long run because of the amount you can make.
VANILLA SUGAR: Don't buy vanilla pods that are dry and hard -- buy them fat, sticky and squashy. What we want to do is infuse the natural vanilla flavor of the vanilla pods into the sugar. It is perfectly fine, and obviously quicker, just to pop the pods in an airtight container with the sugar; you will achieve a more subtle flavor. I really like this recipe, though, because you get the maximum flavor from the pods.
You need a food processor for this one. Put your vanilla pods in the mixer, blitz, scrape the sides and blitz again. Add all the sugar and blitz for about 2 minutes. Sieve the mixture into a bowl, return any lumps to the food processor and blitz again. (You may want to repeat this process if you want it really fine). The result will be a slightly ashy-colored mixture -- now that's real vanilla sugar!
Store it in an airtight container. It should last you for ages.