We have had lots of interest in making creme fraiche so I am reposting an entry from April. If you didn’t try it then, this is a wonderful time to make up a batch to use in salad dressings or to have with berries for dessert.
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 heavy cream from Sea Breeze Farm. I was planning to buy their creme fraiche at the University Farmers Market but they were sold out and were nice enough to tell me how to make it.
Add 2-3 tablespoons buttermilk to 11/2 cups 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 it looks thick enough to test. When it’s ready, store in the fridge for up to 10 days.
I used it in the best quiche I’ve ever made and it was the perfect “secret ingredient”. According to Alice Water’s cookbook, The Art of Simple Food, creme fraiche is well-behaved and won’t separate when boiled as sour cream tends to. She suggests stirring it into a vinaigrette for a creamy salad dressing, using to thicken a pasta sauce, adding to potato gratin, flavoring 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’ve seen some recipes for creme fraiche ice cream that sound sublime…