You need to learn to make crème fraîche – [krem fresh, kreem; French krem fresh]. I am so glad I did. My only regret is I did not do it sooner. If you cook you need it. It will enrich your food. It is a close cousin to sour cream, think of it as the luscious French cousin. It will keep you from chasing over town trying to find it. Even the stores that have it may be out of stock. Even after you find it you may cringe over the hefty price tag for just a small amount. There are just two ingredients, cream and buttermilk. It’s almost too easy. We have been lulled into convenience when just a step or two and we could be having better. The most difficult part was to leave it alone and not peek to see what it was doing.
Don’t laugh, but this is one of the best things you can make for the upcoming holidays. I am serious. Let it sit on a counter for 24 hours, and then into the refrigerator. It’s done! This will glam up your other recipes. A dollop on your crêpe, a smear on your salmon toast, or some on anything on a crostini, you will be a star.
I usually always have buttermilk in my refrigerator so I only had to pick up the cream. I have come to think of it as a staple. I use buttermilk for baking cakes and cupcakes, sherbets, pancakes, biscuits, and now to make crème fraîche. I use the remainder of the cream for ice cream or for another dish that I have not posted. As long as I plan well (my biggest weakness), and use it all (another weakness), I feel it amortizes out to be fairly inexpensive.
Be brave. I get really anxious about leaving something “out”. I worried that it may go bad. Much like I worried about my cured lemons I made that have been just such a flavor booster. Chef John and Thomas Keller would not steer us wrong.
I checked with Dorie Greenspan and Chef John - Their instructions are the same. I trust them so I went with it. Dorie says she could eat it with a spoon. Chef John says all food bloggers need this in their recipe box. It is so creamy, and it mixes without breaking your sauces or separating. They do warn against not using ultra-pasteurized. Do not put a lid on the jar until it is ready for the refrigerator – the gases need to be able to escape.
It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. In that amount of time you will be able to use it up. You will learn to use it in both savory and sweets. A spoon or two in your vegetables will enrich them. You can even use it in mashed potatoes if you want an extra richness. Add a dash of vanilla, and a little sugar, and then dollop some on your crêpe; dust with powdered sugar will doll up your crêpes.
Thank you Chef John. Thank you Dorie Greenspan.
Stay tuned for next week’s crêpes with crème fraîche.
- 1 cup cream
- 1 tablespoon buttermilk
- Combine in a sterilized jar. Stir and cover with a clean cloth or a clean coffee filter and let sit on counter or somewhere that is approximately 70°F for 12 – 24 hours. Then cover with a lid and refrigerate for another 24 hours.
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