This thickened French cream
has a rich, velvety
texture and a slightly tangy, nutty flavor. It's often used as a
topping for fruit, applesauce
, and it's also
employed as a thickener in sauces. Loved by cooks, crème fraiche
doesn't curdle or separate when boiled, and it has a longer shelf life
than double cream.
In France, where it is a specialty, crème fraiche is made from
unpasteurized cream that contains "friendly" bacteria to thicken it
naturally. The best crème fraiche comes from a strictly controlled area
of Normandy, which is famous for its rich, luscious dairy products.
When you open a container of "real" crème fraiche, it has a telltale
the U.S., all commercial cream is pasteurized
are added as agents to ferment the crème fraiche to the
proper consistency. You may find that each brand tastes a little
different, since there is no set standard for butterfat content.
Full-fat crème fraiche ranges from 30-40%, while some brands may also offer half-fat varieties.
Crème fraiche is available at gourmet food shops and some supermarkets. Check the date on the package to make sure it's fresh.
While pre-made crème fraiche is convenient, it can be rather expensive,
especially when it's so simple to make your own
. The only ingredients
needed are heavy whipping cream and buttermilk (or sour cream).
Refrigerate in an airtight container and use within 10 days.
• Flavor crème fraiche by stirring in fresh herbs
, crystallized ginger
• Add a spoonful to soups and sauces.
• Drizzle over grilled vegetables, salads, crab cakes
• Serve with caviar
and smoked salmon
• Sauté crème fraiche with shallots
and dry white wine
for a delicious, all-purpose sauce.
• To make a frosting, beat crème fraiche with granulated sugar
until stiff peaks form.
• When making at home, use pasteurized heavy whipping cream instead of
ultra pasteurized (which will take much longer to thicken).
, a topping used in Spanish and Latin American cooking, is a good substitute.
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