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Homemade Crème Fraîche

Crème Fraîche

In the states, crème fraîche has gained an unfortunate reputation as a snooty, gourmet ingredient with little or no use to the average home cook. That it’s unnecessarily expensive serves only to make matters worse. It is just cultured cream after all. How much extra could adding a small amount of bacteria to the cream and letting it culture really cost? Certainly the backwards-slash è and funky looking î don’t inherently make a product more expensive… do they? If so, be on the look out for büttér and mîlk prices to be on the rise.

Luckily, good ol’ home grown ingenuity is here to save us all– making crème fraîche at home is seriously simple and just as inexpensive. Mix a bit of cream with a little buttermilk, sit out at room temperature for 24-48 hours, and voilà! You’ve made a full-bodied crème fraîche complete in all of it’s rich, buttery, tangy and slightly nutty glory.

If you’ve been using sour cream your entire life, you’re in for a treat. Crème fraîche is everything that sour cream wishes it was and then some. Plus, due to it’s butterfat content being much higher, crème fraîche is far more versatile– add a rich tang to pan sauces, garnish soups, dip your nachos — you name it, crème fraîche has it covered.

So tell us, what’s your favorite way to use the infamous crème fraîche?

Basic Crème Fraîche Recipe:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk

Pour the mixture into a sanitized mason jar and allow to sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours or until thick. The mixture will keep for 2 weeks.

More crème fraîche recipes…

Cilantro Crème Fraîche (from the Hot and Hot Fish Club Cookbook):

  • 1 ¾ cups crème fraîche
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together the crème fraîche, lime juice, and lime zest until smooth. Stir in cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and store mixture in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before using. Mixture will keep for up to 5 days.

Honeysuckle Crème Fraîche (from the Hot and Hot Fish Club Cookbook):

  • 1 ¾ cups pre-prepared crème fraîche
  • 2 tablespoons honeysuckle simple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped honeysuckle blossoms

Whisk ingredients together until the mixture begins to stiffen and forms medium-soft peaks. Refrigerate for 4 hours to allow the flavors of the honeysuckle to intensify.

For the honeysuckle simple syrup:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water

Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil for 30 seconds, or until the sugar is completely dissolved.

  • 2 ¼ cups hot simple syrup
  • 3 ounces fresh yellow honeysuckle blossoms

Pack the blossoms into a mason jar, carefully pour in the hot simple syrup, and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cool, tightly seal and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Citrus Crème Fraîche with Tarragon (from New York Times):

  • ¾ cup crème fraîche
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 scallion, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Whisk together crème fraîche and zest in a small bowl. Stir in orange juice and add in the tarragon, scallion, and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until serving. Mixture will keep up to 1 week.

Note: If you’re really serious about making great crème fraîche at home, instead of using buttermilk, try using either the last remaining spoonfuls of your favorite commercial brand or buy a culture from the New England Cheese Making Company.


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