01 March 2012

Creme Fraiche

the beginning
Crème Fraîche: "This matured, thickened cream has a slightly tangy, nutty flavor and velvety rich texture. The thickness of the creme fraiche can range from that of commercially produced sour cream to almost as solid as room-temperature margarine. In France, where creme fraiche is a specialty, the cream is unpasteurized and therefore contains bacteria necessary to thicken it naturally. In America, where all commercial cream is pasteurized, the fermenting agent necessary for creme fraiche can be obtained by adding buttermilk or sour cream. A very expensive American facsimile of creme fraiche is sold in some gourmet markets.
the waiting
The expense seems frivolous, however, when it's so easy to make an equally delicious version at home. To do so, combine 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a glass container. Cover and let stand at room temperature (about 70 degrees F) from 8 to 24 hours, or until very thick. Stir well before covering and refrigerate up to 10 days. Creme fraiche is the ideal addition for sauces or soups because it can be boiled without curdling. It's delicious spooned over fresh fruit or other desserts such as warm cobbler or puddings."
source: The New Food Lover's Companion, 3rd Edition, Sharon Tyler Herbst, 2001

I read this "recipe" at Accidental Epicurean last week and thought since I'm making asparagus soup this week that some crème fraîche would be good to go with it. It's also ridiculously expensive in the markets. This is just stupidly easy and I had what I needed so I thought let's give it a go. Mix on cup of heavy cream with one tablespoon of buttermilk and let sit until thickened (twelve to twenty-four hours). Stir, refrigerate. Keeps for seven to ten days.
Not terribly exciting, but at least it's easy. I expect I'll be doing this on a regular basis from now on. Now on to the challenge of yogurt, or maybe even Greek-style yogurt. 

tastes amazing

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