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What's a good substitute for heavy cream?

I want to make the halibut w leeks from All About Braising. It calls for a quarter cup of cream...If I buy the cream, I'll never use the rest of it. Would Greek yogurt which I have on hand be an OK replacement? Thanks....

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  1. I'm going to go with "no" only because I think it will be too sour. In my experience, there is no substitute for heavy cream in most recipes. It doesn't separate so you can cook it at high temps. Couldn't guarantee what might happen to the yogurt-- generally yogurt is added at the end of recipes once the dish is away from the heat. If this is the case with your recipe, it might work. But the taste might suffer. Yogurt and fish doesn't sound appealing. Just get a 1/2 pt. of cream. It lasts a long time-- why won't you use it? You can use HC in almost anything that calls for milk-- baked goods, waffles, eggs (quiche, scrambled, etc.).

    1 Reply
    1. re: Procrastibaker

      Greek plain yogurt and fish go very well in the right contexts. Yogurt, mayo and lemon with some herbs is great with tilapia. I try to never say one ingredient shouldn't go with another. It seems like a defeat.

    2. In a pinch, I've used up to 1/2 C. of condensed milk to sub for heavy cream - but in a pseudo-curry, where the cooked flavor of the condensed milk is overshadowed by all the different flavors. I would NOT recommend using this substitution in your fish dish. I also wouldn't go with the yogurt - I agree with Proscrastibaker on that. I'm not sure how the cream is used in the recipe - if the fish is braised in the cream, I don't know that you'll be able to find a substitute. My inclination would be to use regular milk, but I'm afraid it would separate if it was being cooked at a high heat.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Jeda

        I think you may have confused condensed with EVAPORATED? Condensed is way too sweet, and is reserved mostly for desserts.

        1. re: Veggietales

          Oops - yes, I meant evaporated. Funny, as I typed I was thinking "make sure you write the right kind down!" Thanks for catching this.

          1. re: Veggietales

            Oddly, depending on where you live, Condensed and Evaporated mean different things. Both mean water has been removed. But in some regions only those cans labeled "sweetened Condensed" will have sugar added. So for some people, the terms are interchangeable.

        2. For all of the resons mentioned above, I'd say just get the real thing. First off, cream is not that expensive - less than $2. Second, nothing else with a similar flavor profile will withstand higher heat or longer cooking without separating. Third, it is ok to use, health-wise - it is the processed foods that really are bad for you- and fourth, cream will last forever in the fridge so you won't have to use it up in a week or even two.

          Plus, Thanksgiving is coming up and there are plenty of ways to use whipped cream - pies, coffee topping, etc.

          I say throw caution to the wind, let loose, and get a 1/2 pint of good heavy whipping cream!

          11 Replies
          1. re: LizATL

            Cream does not last forever in the fridge. It sours about as quickly as milk.

            Don't buy the kind of whipping cream with stabilizers and gums added.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Sadly in some places that stuff is all you can get and I have had ultra-pasturized last over a month in the fridge.

              I had a grocer tell me that it in not legal to sell heavy cream that is not ultrapasturized in Indiana. I did buy some good stuff at Whole Foods in Chicago and have froen it with success for later use. It is Country Dairy brand and produced in Michigan.

              1. re: Candy

                Wow. All ultrapasteurization does is extend the shelf life of *unopened* containers of cream. Once it's opened, it tastes worse and sours just as quickly as regular pasteurized cream...

                1. re: Karl S

                  I am really certain that heavy cream lasts longer than milk. Only my own anecdotal evidence is at work here (will have to consult McGee when I get home). Seems to me that 1/2 and 1/2 is the most unstable milk product. I agree with LizATL-- I've definitely kept cream opened in my fridge and it's been fine for at least 2.5 weeks.

                  1. re: Procrastibaker

                    I agree. I go through a lot of dairy, and I'm picky about it - I chuck milk really fast. And I've had heavy cream last freaking forever, opened.

                  2. re: Karl S

                    when i said I have had the ultrapasturized stuff last a month, I meant opened. Really. I always have some on hand and use it frequently.

                    1. re: Candy

                      Yeah, it stays "good" for a loooong time. The ultrapasteurized milk that has been out on the market seems to last longer, too.

                    2. re: Karl S

                      I've not had any experience with the cream not tasting good when it is ultrapasteurized. I use it in my low carb panna cotta all the time (where cream is the primary flavour), and I replace milk and butter with cream in most recipes simply because it has way lower carbs.

                      1. re: Morganna

                        I would love your low carb panna cotta recipe, if you'r willing to share. I'm always looking for low carb recipes (I'm type 1 diabetic). Also, have you baked at all with almond milk or Calorie Countdown low carb milk?

                      2. re: Karl S

                        compare the sell-by dates next time you're in the store -- milk is 2-3 weeks out, cream is 4-6.

                    3. re: Robert Lauriston

                      You can freeze the cream that you do not use for later use.

                  3. I was stuck in a similar situation once (needed a small amount of cream, it was a holiday and the grocery stores near me were closed). I went to the Dunkin' Donuts up the street from me (which was open), and asked them for a little bit of cream in a cup.

                    They didn't even charge me (though I threw a dollar in the tip cup)

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Biggie

                      But if you ask a coffee place for "cream" is it really heavy cream? When I ask a resto for cream I get half-and-half. . ..*shrug*

                      1. re: Covert Ops

                        beggars can't be choosers - but it worked out for me

                      2. re: Biggie

                        A friend of mine worked at DD back in the 80's, and at least then, when you asked for your coffee "light" (In NJ, that means cream...) they put in something called "coffee lightener" which has never been even near a cow. Doubt that it was half & half.... Adam

                      3. I have, on occasion, used a thin bechamel sauce in place of cream. The trick is cooking the bechamel long enough to get rid of the floury taste. Heat 2c milk in a sauce pan. Make a roux with 1T butter and 1T flour--heat for about 1 minute. Whisk in the warm milk. Heat mixture on the lowest flame possible for a full 25 minutes. You can infuse the sauce with any number of herbs during the cooking time. Just make sure you strain before you use it in your recipe. It is just the thickness of cream. Good luck!