There's no need to resort to frozen whipped topping because you don't have time to make real whipped cream. You can make this whipped cream a day in advance. Or, just freeze stabilized or regular whipped cream in serving size portions on a wax paper lined baking sheet.
A little unflavored gelatin is all you need, and it just takes an extra few seconds of time.
This recipe is easily multiplied for pie toppings or larger desserts.
Put the bowl and beaters in the refrigerator or freezer about 10 to 15 minutes before beginning.
Put the unflavored gelatin in a microwave safe bowl or 1-cup measure. Add the 2 tablespoons of cold water and let stand for 5 minutes, until very thick.
Put the thickened gelatin in the in the microwave.* Microwave the gelatin until the gelatin dissolves and becomes liquid, about 7 to 10 seconds. I check after 5 seconds, then check it every few seconds until it is completely liquified.
Pour the cream into the mixing bowl. Beat the cream with an electric mixer on high speed until it begins to thicken; beat in the confectioners' sugar. Add the vanilla or other flavoring and continue beating until thick, but not quite to the soft peak stage.
While still beating constantly, pour the liquid gelatin into the cream in a thin stream (if the gelatin has thickened again, heat again for a few seconds, just until liquid). Continue beating until soft or stiff peaks form, as desired.
*You could also heat the gelatin in a small bowl over simmering water.
Tip: You can freeze this whipped cream (or any whipped cream) in serving-size portions. Just line a baking sheet with wax paper and pipe or spoon the portions onto the paper. Put in the freezer until frozen, then transfer to a container and store in the freezer.
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