Cream is made from cow milk. It can be fresh (raw or pasteurized) or sterilized (UHT). Fresh cream is known as whipping cream when it contains at least 30% fat. Light creams (pasteurized or UHT) contain 15% fat.
Fresh, pourable cream (whipping cream or low-fat) is found in the refrigerated food section or dairy section of supermarkets. Sterilized cream can be kept at room temperature. Cream made from raw milk is more flavorful than pasteurized cream. UHT cream has a less interesting flavor.
Cream withstands high temperatures and can be used to make sauces and cream soups, velvety béchamel, glossy crème anglaise, etc.
Cream—whether fresh or UHT—that contains at least 30 percent fat is the only type that can be whipped. Creams are used in a large number of sweet preparations (entremets, ganache, panna cotta, etc.) and savory dishes (certain mousses, etc.)
UHT cream is brought to very high temperatures for several seconds. It can be stored for a number or weeks or months in a cool and dry place. It is normally packaged in small cartons. Raw cream must be used within two days of purchase. Pasteurized cream can be stored for a week in the refrigerator.