There’s nothing more charming than a spoonful of fresh, creamy, and mildly tangy crème fraîche (pronounced: krem fresh). I remember the time when I tasted a spoon of heaven: it was in Mauritius. Breakfast was quite a spread, with fruits and toast and scrambles eggs, and there was this bowl of white cream that I assumed was sour cream. It was far better than sour cream: rich, nutty and only a hint of tang, and it went well with my scrambled eggs and fruit — so much so, that the taste is etched in my memory.
It’s time to forget the costly store versions — that are also made artificially thick and are unhealthy — making crème fraîche is easy, way cheaper and a lot healthier. Oh, and you’ll also adore the taste. Plus you can make as much as you want. All you need is some heavy or whipping cream, and some buttermilk or curds, and you’re set. Don’t worry about it spoiling when you let it sit overnight — it won’t. The good bacteria multiply, preventing the bad ones from taking over.
Crème fraîche is better version of sour cream and since it won’t curdle as easily, it is a great option to thicken sauces (vegetable, poultry or seafood sauces), add atop soups (half the quantity of your regular cream will suffice). Sour cream is made using cream that has 20% fat and crème fraîche is made using cream that has between 30% and 45% fat. Also crème fraîche is less tangy.
You can use crème fraîche to top your cheesecakes and sweet loaves, or freshly cut fruit by adding 1 tablespoon sugar and beating it lightly, until you get soft mounds when you drop it from a spoon. You could even add a little lime or lemon, orange, coffee or vanilla — it will get a tad runny with the addition of liquid flavours (like the coffee and jaggery crème fraîche picture right on top). Top off with fresh fruit, and you have a great topping! The list is endless really, for you can spoon it over appetizers, jellies, mousses
So, for those of you craving a spoonful of heaven, but do not live in the parts of Europe (where it is made from unpasteurized cream — it contains enough good bacteria) that serve them, here’s how to make crème fraîche at home.
- 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream or whipping cream that has a fat content between 30% and 45% pasteurized, not ultra-pasteurized
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons cultured buttermilk or sour cream or curds (the probiotic kind)
Close the jar and place it in a warm spot that sees less traffic in your kitchen (like on atop your refrigerator or near the stove) for 12-20 hours. The cooler the temperature, the longer it takes.
Keep it in the fridge thereafter — it will continue to thicken on chilling.
Storage: Crème fraîche stays in the fridge for 15-17 days — it will continue to thicken on chilling
Crème fraîche (Wikipedia)
How To Make Buttermilk Substitutions (not just spice)
How To Make Sour Cream (not just spice)