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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Creme Fraiche

Excellent Ingredient of the Week
Basically crème fraiche is a soured cream containing about 28% butterfat. It is soured with bacterial culture, but is less sour than American sour cream. Originally a French product, it is available everywhere now. It is traditional to France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia. It can be made at home by adding a small amount of cultured buttermilk or sour cream to heavy cream, and allowing it to stand for several hours at room temperature until the bacterial cultures act on the cream.

homemade crème fraiche

1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons buttermilk

Combine 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a glass container. Cover and let stand at room temperature (about 70°F) from 8 to 24 hours, or until very thick. Stir well before covering and refrigerate up to 10 days.

So what do you do with it? Crème fraiche is particularly useful in finishing sauces in French cooking because it does not curdle. However, "light" crème fraiche with a low fat content curdles when heated.

Use creme fraiche in a non traditional version Pasta carbonara. Cook off some nice bacon in a pan and then add garlic til soft. Meanwhile, boil the pasta and throw in some greens to the pasta water at the last moment to wilt. Drain pasta and greens, add to pan and then put in a few dollops of creme fraiche. Stir, plate and serve.

Fold creme fraiche into custard, then chill and top with raspberries and sugar and briefly broil the sugar to form a brulee like crust. Fold some into your mac and cheese. Just mix it with banana slices or strawberries and eat it
Add some to your salad dressing to make a creamy vinegrette.