Do- It-Yourself Sublime Crème Fraîche

Apr 2, 2009 by

Creme fraiche Crème fraîche is a perfect example of French ingenuity with dairy products.  A cultured cream, it’s thicker, heavier, smoother and sweeter than sour cream, with a lovely, velvety texture. It’s delicious on plain fruit, especially bananas, mangoes or berries, or other desserts (I think of crêpes or pie), as well as in soups, stews or sauces, which it thickens without curdling as sour cream tends to do.  

We have no parallel product here in the U.S., though you can find crème fraîche in some grocery stores. It’s quite expensive. I make my own for much less. It’s something so simple, yet extremely satisfying to make yourself.  Very young children could make it, except it requires a lot of patience. My son used to make it to sell at the tiny local farmer’s market when he was about 13.

You need a glass jar with a lid. Pour in about 2 C heavy cream, then 1-2 T buttermilk (well shaken first). Amounts are of little importance.  I do not measure.  I just fill the jar mostly with cream and then splash in some buttermilk on top. Close the lid tightly and set the jar in a quiet spot on the kitchen counter.  If the weather is cold, I put it near, but not too near, the toaster, where it will get a little warmth. Leave it undisturbed for at least 24 hours.  Depending on the temperature, it can need up to 48 hours.  Check it after one day, and if it’s fairly well set, stir it gently but thoroughly, put the cap back on, and put it in the fridge for another 24 hours.  I’ve tried various proportions of cream to buttermilk, and have discovered that all that matters is the stirring step: the one essential ingredient to getting a crème fraîche with the proper firm, smooth texture.  

© French Kids Don’t Get Fat / Anna Migeon  / 2 April 2009 / all rights reserved

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  1. […] Then there are the several yogurts, and other categories unto themselves like my particular favorite, faisselle (sold dripping whey through its own strainer within the pot), the tiny Petit Swiss (almost like cream cheese, but eaten as a snack) and the glorious crème fraiche. […]