I want to put homemade whipped cream on a banana cream pie for a co-worker's birthday. Will the whipped cream "fall" during the trip from my kitchen to the office? Should I just get whipped cream in the can?

I want to put homemade whipped cream on a banana cream pie for a co-worker's birthday. Will the whipped cream "fall" during the trip from my kitchen to the office? Should I just get whipped cream in the can?

— Terri P., Talent

There are situations for which even the most discerning foodies among us endorse flourishes of canned whipped cream. If you were serving strawberry shortcakes to let's say about 100 people, as our newspaper staff cum amateur caterers did last summer, we'd say focus on slicing fresh strawberries and then reach for that can.

Because we're only talking about a single pie here, we're confident you can pull off whipping the cream in advance. The pie will travel better if you take a few steps to ensure success.

First, make the pie and chill it. Then beat the whipping cream with a little confectioners' sugar, maybe 1 tablespoon to 1 cup of cream. Confectioners' sugar has cornstarch, which helps stabilize the cream.

Take the pie and the whipped cream to work in separate containers. Top the pie when you get there and serve it as soon as possible.

If you want the whipped cream to travel even better, put a sieve or colander in a large plastic container with a lid, line it with a coffee filter and spoon in the whipped cream. That will let any excess liquid drain off while keeping the cream fluffy.

If your co-workers are like us, the pie won't be around the office longer than a few minutes anyway — regardless of the state of its whipped cream.

Send questions to "Since You Asked, A la carte" Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com.