Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Crème Fraîche

I discovered crème fraîche while enjoying a proper high tea at the Drake Hotel in Chicago when I was a child. I was initially perplexed at why everyone was putting a dollop of sour cream on their scones and, not wanting to appear uncouth, I put a smidge on mine next to the strawberry preserves. Crème fraîche and I fell in love.

Crème fraîche, French for “fresh cream” has the subtle nuttiness and luxurious texture which reminds me of my adoration of all things dairy. For years I have bought it at the store for a treat to serve with pancakes, scones, as a topping for various fruits, and in savory, creamy dishes too. For ultimate comfort, I have been known to take a piece of crusty baguette, spread it with crème fraiche and drizzle it with orange blossom honey.

I knew that it could be made at home but didn’t attempt it until this weekend. After such minimal effort, I just feel foolish for buying it all these years.

For a cup of crème fraîche, combine 1 cup heavy whipping cream and 2 tablespoons of buttermilk in a glass bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. I figured it would do better with some warmth so I just set the bowl on the radiator in my kitchen and looked at it every now and then. After 24 hours, it was quite thick, and once refrigerated, it thickened even more. Voila!

Here are some recipes that use crème fraîche in all its creamy, French glory:

Cherry Lime Cobbler with Crème Fraîche Biscuits from Bon Appetit

Crème Fraîche Ice Cream from Gourmet

Mussels in White Wine and Crème Fraîche from The New York Times

Roasted Figs with Vanilla Crème Fraîche from Williams Sonoma

Coddled Eggs with Wild Mushrooms and Crème Fraîche from Martha Stewart


Eric said...


Meema said...

Oooh, this is naughty goodness.

thecelticcookinshanghai said...

Have just been directed to your site and look forward to reading more. I like what I see.

sheila b. said...

I made the Clementine Cake you posted a few weeks ago for my book club friends and, being über-frugal lately, decided to try making crème fraîche, too. I also used my kitchen radiator to move things along. The cake, the crème fraîche and the fresh almond whipped cream all received rave reviews -- and several requests for your URL. Thanks for the inspiration!

Erin, A Crafty Lass said...

Sheila, I am so excited you made TWO things! Those radiators work like a charm...