Homemade Crème Fraîche

February 20, 2014

Crème fraîche, by definition, is simply cream that has been made sour with buttermilk, though not quite as tangy as sour cream (think of it as sour cream's glamorous French cousin).  Like sour cream, crème fraîche is extremely versatile--it can be used in literally every course, from soup to nuts--but somehow it elevates any dish it's used in. You can find it in specialty and gourmet shops, and some grocery stores may carry it, but it's far less expensive to make it yourself and surprisingly easy to do--there's no cooking required!

Crème Fraîche
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons buttermilk

Pour whipping cream and buttermilk into a clean glass jar and seal. Shake until well combined, then let it sit, covered, at room temperature for 8 to 24 hours, or until thickened. If you don't have a glass jar, simply mix the ingredients together in a bowl, then store at room temp in a covered plastic bowl. Give it a good stir, then refrigerate for 24 hours before enjoying (although I skipped this step as I couldn't wait to eat it with some gorgeous strawberries I picked up). Store in the fridge and use within 2 weeks.  
Serving suggestions:
Use it to top blinis then add caviar or smoked fish
Drizzle it on soups, like roasted red pepper & tomato, cream of asparagus, or pea
Blend it into mashed potatoes with fresh chives
Top fresh berries with it
Serve it with grilled or poached fish
Sweeten it and use to frost cakes or fill cream puffs

Citrus Crème Fraîche
Mix ¼ cup crème fraîche with ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice and ¼ teaspoon lemon zest.

Vanilla Crème Fraîche 
Split ½ of a vanilla bean lengthwise, then scrape the beans into 1 cup of crème fraîche and stir.

Herbed Crème Fraîche
Mix 2 cups crème fraîche with 1½ tablespoons minced fresh rosemary, basil, or mint.

Spiced Crème Fraîche 
Mix 1 cup crème fraîche with ¼ teaspoon each salt, freshly ground black pepper, ground ginger, and freshly grated nutmeg. 


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