Mixed Greens Blog

Mixed Greens Blog
Living Sustainably in the Pacific Northwest

06
April
2008

Make Your Own: Creme Fraiche

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Creme Fraiche is a beautiful, versatile ingredient you can make easily and use in any recipe that is begging for a tangy, creamy flavor. I started with 11/2 cups of heavy cream from Sea Breeze Farm. I was planning to buy their creme fraiche at the University Farmers Market but they didn’t have any and were nice enough to tell me how to make it. Add 2-3 tablespoons of buttermilk (the closest I found to “local” is from Oregon at the Pike Place Market Creamery) to the cream, heat in a saucepan until it feels warm to the touch, pour into a bowl, cover with a tea towel and let it sit on the counter for 24 hours or so, depending on the temperature in your kitchen. It will continue to thicken as it ages. Try not to disturb it until you feel it is thick enough to test. When it’s ready, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

I’m planning to use mine in the “best quiche we’ve ever eaten” recipe that I’ll share with you later in the week. I checked in Alice Water’s cookbook, The Art of Simple Food and found that creme fraiche is well-behaved and won’t separate when boiled as sour cream tends to. She suggests stirring into a vinaigrette for a creamy salad dressing, using to thicken a pasta sauce, adding to a potato gratin, using flavored with herbs as a garnish for soups or sweetening for a simple dessert sauce. It can also be whipped as long as you are careful not to overwhip. I can hardly wait until the summer berries start to ripen. Visions of a sublime creme fraiche ice cream are dancing through my head….

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4 Responses »

  1. Great recipe….

  2. Have you since found other sources for buttermilk? I’m wanting to make creme fraiche (and buttermilk, which starts with milk instead of cream) but the buttermilk I used must have been pasteurized as nothing happened.

  3. I’ve used buttermilk from the grocery store and had good results. I’m pretty sure it was pasteurized, so I’m not sure what happened to yours. Maybe try it in a warmer room.

  4. The recipe I have is 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream and 1 tablespoon Buttermilk, heat to 105 degrees (some say it thickens better if you do not go past 80 degrees as too high a heat will kill the good bacteria). Loosely cover and let sit overnight (stirring every few hours or when you think of it) in a warm place in the house.

    I have used both Ultra Pasteurized Heavy Whipping Cream when I cannot find the suggested Pasteurized Whipping Cream. The Ultra will take sitting out a day or two more than the non-heavy one, but will work. And I added one tablespoon Buttermilk that was Pasteurized to both recipes. Any buttermilk so far from any store works okay.

    Creme is not readily available where I live so I have to settle for Whipping Creme.

    I think I am going to try not going over 80 degrees on my next batch to see if it thickens better.

    But all the recipes I have made so far have all turned out wonderful in flavor.

    It has been trial and error so far, but eventually I will find the best way to make it. But either way, I know I can never go back to using sour creme after discovering this recipe.