Chantilly Cream, or la crème Chantilly, sure sounds like some kind of elaborate dessert topping. It must take a deft hand and some precise techniques to whip up such a fancy French inspired cream.
Well, no, you just whip it up. Chantilly cream is simply whipped cream, usually heavy or double cream, that has been sweetened. Vanilla might also be added, or other flavorings, although vanilla is traditional. So, it is simply whipped cream which is sweetened and/or flavored.
Some chefs might quibble over the name, saying that Chantilly cream is the correct name for sweetened whipped cream, etc. but in reality, it is just a fancy name that was once given to a tasty but mundane culinary creation. You may come across elaborate custard-like creations, with eggs and other ingredients, that are also called Chantilly cream, but rest assured, if you can whip cream, you can whip up some crème Chantilly. Rather than finding a recipe calling for Chantilly cream, you might find it in the name of a dish that contains Chantilly.
Usually, the kind of sugar used for a sweetened whipped cream is either castor sugar, aka super-fine sugar or confectioner’s sugar, which also has cornstarch. Some recipes suggest adding the sugar (and flavoring, if desired) at the beginning of the whipping process. Others advise that you should wait until you get soft peaks before adding any sweetener so that more air can be incorporated into the foam. Either method should work fine. Just make sure to start with a chilled, preferably metal (stainless steel is good) bowl.
The term Chantilly cream, or crème Chantilly, has been around since the middle of the 19th century. There are several stories as to the origin of the name, such as it cam from Chantilly, France, or the chateau Chantilly, a castle near Paris, where the eminent Chef Vatel supposedly served it up. Whatever. The idea that there is a “difference” between crème Chantilly and sweetened whipped cream is nothing but air, which is mostly what whipped cream is, as well. Most people would sweeten whipped cream! Here are the basic steps to making a sweetened whipped cream.