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….