Thursday, December 1, 2011

Crème fraîche

Crème fraîche noun. (krem-fresh): heavy cream thickened and slightly soured with buttermilk; often served on fruit.

Crème fraîche is something that I would like to have on hand more often as it is just too expensive to buy at the store and just too good to pass up in a dish that calls for it. I like to think of it as a super flexible sour cream, because that is basically what it is. You can drop this stuff anywhere you would use sour cream and many more places. You can use it with fruit, caviar, starches and carbohydrates, put it in sauces or even make a cake frosting from it. It basically goes with anything, as long as it is thoughtfully used. Having a lot in the fridge is no big deal. You'll end up using all of it before it goes bad. On top of that, I think it gets better with age. So letting it sit in the bottom of the fridge is actually a good thing.

While it is hard to find in the store, try and use pasteurized heavy cream instead of ultra-pasteurized heavy cream. The less pasteurized the quicker the crème fraîche will come together. If you do have to use the ultra-pasteurized version thats okay, just realize that the times involved will be longer than stated below.

Crème fraîche:
2 cups heavy cream
1/8 cup buttermilk (Available at most stores in the dairy section.)

1. Slowly heat the sour cream over low heat until the cream registers 104F to 105F with a thermometer.
2. Remove from heat and add the buttermilk. Stir.
3. Pour the mixture into a noreactive bowl. Leave at room temperature.
4. Once the cream is at room temperature, lightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Leave the bowl in a safe place at room temperature, 24 to 36 hours. Stir and taste the cream every 8 hours.
5. After sitting at room temperature, the cream should have thickened a bit and taken on a very light yellow hue.
6. Refrigerate until the crème fraîche has thickened to your desired consistency, but use it all within two to three weeks.

**Note: The pictures below are from a quadrupled size of the recipe above.
You can also use containers that are half closed when you store it at room temperature

Heating up the heavy cream before adding the butter milk

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