I know, I know. Who in the world has a problem with leftover whipped cream?
But let's imagine a hypothetical situation wherein you have misjudged your guests' enthusiasm for whipped cream-topped pie following a big holiday meal, and now you find yourself faced with a fairly large amount leftover.
Do you throw it away? Do you save it, knowing that it will likely lose its billowy magic over the next few days?
Let me offer a third option: Freeze your leftover whipped cream for later.
Whipped cream freezes - and thaws - surprisingly well. Just drop mounds of it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze overnight. The next day, peel off the frozen whipped cream clouds and transfer them to a freezer bag or container for longer storage.
When a situation arises for a few spoonfuls of whipped cream, just pull out what you need.
In my opinion, the very best use of these frozen whipped cream puffs is to top a hot mug of cocoa or coffee. Not only do they melt slowly into the hot beverage, providing time-release doses of cream, but they take the edge off a steaming hot cup (without cooling it too much!).
You can also use the leftover whipped cream to top a slice of pie or other dessert - yes, this works! Place the frozen whipped cream on top of your dessert, then let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes or so to thaw before serving.
As a dessert topping, the whipped cream holds its shape quite well without becoming grainy or separating, but it does lose some of its perkiness. The frozen edges also have a tendency to crumble as you handle them, as well.
This is perfectly acceptable for a midweek dessert casual family gathering, but less ideal for situations where looks are important, like a dinner party or a special occasion. For those, I'd recommend making a fresh batch of whipped cream.
How to Freeze Leftover Whipped Cream
Any whipped cream can be frozen - sweetened or unsweetened, plain or with other ingredients mixed in. Whipped cream that has been stabilized with some cornstarch or cream cheese tends to keep its shape a little better when thawed.
Be sure to transfer the frozen whipped cream to a freezer container within a day or two; it can quickly start to pick up off-flavors in the open air of the freezer.
- Leftover whipped cream
Line a baking sheet with parchment (or a Silpat) and spoon the whipped cream on top in small mounds:
If you're feeling fancy, you can pipe the whipped cream in pretty twists using a piping bag. Aim for single-serving portions.
Freeze overnight, until the whipped cream is frozen solid.
Peel the whipped cream off the parchment and store:
Transfer the frozen whipped cream mounds to a freezer bag or other freezer container. Don't worry if the edges crumble a little as you handle the mounds; this is normal. The whipped cream is best used within a month, but will keep for up to three months. (You may notice that it picks up off-flavors from the freezer over time.)
To use the whipped cream:
The frozen whipped cream can be placed directly on top of hot cocoa or coffee and served. You can also place the mounds on top of a dessert: place on top of the dessert and allow to thaw at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serve.