I am usually a whipped cream purist. Heavy cream doesn’t need to be flavored, as it already has a flavor—the flavor of cream. I rarely sweeten heavy cream before whipping, especially if it’s destined for something that is sweet. (Just let the cream be rich and fatty and creamy!) But a friend recently mentioned that she adds a little umeboshi vinegar to her whipped cream, and I could not help but be intrigued.
What is umeboshi vinegar?
Umeboshi vinegar isn’t a true vinegar, but ume su–the liquid leftover salt curing umboshi (pickled Japanese plums). It’s salty and tart and just a little funky, with hints of fermented stone fruit. I love it. It’s one of my top 10 vinegars.
You can use it as a seasoning (kind of like you would soy sauce), and stir it into summer beverages, but it is shocking fun in whipped cream. The salty, sour qualities of the vinegar play exceptionally well with the fatty whipped cream, making the topping even more irresistible. Add sugar and you get sweet, creamy, salty, and sour in one bite.
How to make whipped cream with umeboshi vinegar
Start with a cup of heavy cream, and add a couple of tablespoons of sugar if you like. I left the sugar out when I made mine, because I knew I would be dolloping it on heavily sweetened fruit, but a sweet and sour whipped cream has its merits. Whip the cream, the add a teaspoon of umeboshi vinegar and gently fold it in. Taste it, and add a little more if you think it needs it. Taste again. You’ll know when you’ve added enough because you’ll immediately want another spoonful.
Umeboshi whipped cream is dreamy on fresh sugared fruit, matcha cake, or any kind of cake, really. I don’t have any zucchini bread lying around, but I think it’d be good on that, too.