There is much debate about how cream should be classified, especially when it comes in so many forms. When testing and developing our recipes at Gourmet Traveller, we like to place creams into four categories:
1. Pouring cream: When we specify pouring cream - which has a fat content of only 35% and the lowest cream fat to milk ratio - it is of a pouring consistency. It's commonly used in sauces, desserts and soups.
2. Heavy cream: We note this has a fat content of 45%, and is what many chefs call double cream but, as there is only one brand that sell this cream commercially, we call it heavy cream (45%).
3. Double cream: This has a fat percentage of anything higher than 50% and is usually a very thick cream, which can only be scooped. It's best used to serve as an accompaniment and not necessarily good to cook with.
4. Thickened cream: This cream always has the addition of gelatine to act as a stabiliser.
Most creams are likely to be differentiated by their fat content, the higher the fat content of a cream, the thicker the consistency.
However, just to confuse the situation further, the reason we state heavy cream in our recipes and put the fat content only on this cream is that it's packaged as pure cream, which some 35% creams are also sold as. And in reality, pure cream really should be double cream since it has the highest fat percentage and is therefore the purest.
The cream fat is usually marked on the ingredient section of the packaged label of all creams, and this is the best guide to go by instead of what each company specifies their cream to be.