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I'm following this recipe to make cream brulee: http://www.masterchef.com.au/creme-brulee.htm

I'm a little confused over the correct type of cream to use. They list "thickened cream" but because this mixure will be heated, should I be using "cooking thickened cream", and is it possible to use a light version of the cream, or will this alter the cooking process?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

What you want is cream with 35%-40% milkfat, and no gelatine or other stabilizers for whipping. If you use a lighter cream, then it will not have the rich, creamy texture, and evenly thick consistency you seek. In fact, if you use a light enough cream, it will not thicken properly.

Now we enter the murky realm of regional naming differences, trying to find the appropriate kind of cream!

In Australia, this would be called pure cream (35-56% milkfat)... which might be the same as "cooking thickened cream." Read the label and make sure it is just cream, not gelatin or foam stabilizers like "thickened cream". It could also be labelled "single cream" too (~35% milkfat).

In America, we call it heavy cream, or heavy whipping cream, and it is defined as 35%+ milkfat, and is generally around 38%.

In the UK, a recipe I found the uses a mixture of milk and "double cream" (cream with 48%+ milkfat). They mix 100 mL whole fat milk + 426 mL of double cream. The final milkfat content is somewhere around 40%.

In the rest of the EU, the same procedure appears to be the best bet, since I can't find clear names for heavier creams besides double cream (which appears to be the same as the UK).

Edit: You may also be able to get a good result using straight double cream. I'm looking at a French recipe that uses it. The catch is, of course, that while the minimum fat content is specified, actual fat content in double cream can vary considerably, potentially giving erratic results.

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I can complete for Italy and France. Double cream is used in both countries (respectively as crème double and panna doppia) for cream with >48% fat. Lighter creams are panna da montare/crème entiere (whipping cream/full cream) with >30% fat; panna da cucina/demi crème (kitchen cream/half cream) with >20% fat. Finally panna da caffetteria/Crème à café (coffee cream) has >10% fat. –  nico Jun 30 '11 at 5:40
    
I'm in Australia so "cooking cream" sounds like the way to go. Thanks –  ForeverDebugging Jun 30 '11 at 6:05
    
In Germany, there is double cream (Sahne Doppelrahmstufe or Konditorsahne), but it isn't available for consumers. The whipping cream seldom reaches 35%, it is 30% to 33% depending on brand. –  rumtscho Feb 27 '12 at 0:37
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I live in Oregon, USA and can buy whipping cream with either 4 grams fat or 6 grams which is heavier and when used in baking takes longer. The 6 grams also whips much faster and needs less stabelizers.

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