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Crème Fraîche

Servings: Makes approximately 1 cup
Crème Fraîche

Definition: [krehm FRESH] This matured, thickened cream has a slightly tangy, nutty flavor and velvety rich texture. The thickness of crème fraîche can range from that of commercial sour cream to almost as solid as room-temperature margarine. In France, where crème fraîche is a specialty, the cream is unpasteurized and therefore contains the bacteria necessary to thicken it naturally. In America, where all commercial cream is pasteurized, the fermenting agents necessary for crème fraîche can be obtained by adding buttermilk or sour cream. A very expensive American facsimile of crème fraîche is sold in some gourmet markets. The expense seems frivolous, however, when it's so easy to make an equally delicious version at home. Crème fraîche is the ideal addition for sauces or soups because it can be boiled without curdling and it can also be whipped where sour cream cannot. It's delicious spooned over fresh fruit or other desserts such as warm cobblers or puddings.

Source: The New Food Lover's Companion, Second Edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons cultured buttermilk

Place the heavy cream in a small bowl or mason jar, then add the buttermilk. Stir the mixture well and cover tightly with plastic wrap or lid. Let sit on countertop at room temperature (about 70°F) from 8 to 24 hours or until firmed. Refrigerate once it has thickened well, enough to hold a spoon upright. Crème fraîche will continue to thicken once it has been in the refrigerator. Use all the crème fraîche within 7 to 10 days.

You can adjust the buttermilk to get a creamier or more sour flavor, depending on your preference. Use in sauces where you would sour cream, or spoon over fresh fruit.

Makes approximately 1 cup.

Date: February 27, 2002