Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It's Fat Tuesday: Make Your Own (No Cook, No Sweat) Creme Fraiche!

Creme fraiche is one of those things that is in every European supermarket but only in gourmet stores here in the U.S. It is similar to our sour cream; creme fraiche has a less tangy and more buttery flavor. It's wonderful with both sweet and savory dishes. Try it under berries with a touch of honey, or on top of warm, wilted greens. 
If you buy it in a specialty store, you'll pay a pretty penny. But if you make it yourself, it is much more affordable -- plus, you can control the quality of the ingredients (think organic, grass-fed dairy!).
It's ridiculously easy to make. Most recipes call for buttermilk and cream. I never have buttermilk in the house, but I always have kefir so I used that. It came out perfect!
Put two tablespoons of plain kefir in a glass jar:

Pour two cups of heavy cream on top of the kefir.

Cover and shake gently, just to combine. Now here comes the really easy part: let it sit on your kitchen counter or other warm-ish place (inside your turned-off oven or on top of your fridge are good spots) for about 24 hours. This lets the active, beneficial bacteria (aka probiotics) from the kefir multiply and culture the cream. You'll know it's ready because it will be super thick and smooth.

Creme fraiche is high in fat and therefore quite caloric, so watch your portions. I like to add it to low-calorie foods, like fruits and veggies; it's a tasty balance. Try a teaspoon swirled into a bowl of pureed vegetable soup...


...or a tablespoon or two mashed into a couple of cups of steamed cauliflower and topped with chives: 
Chives make everything better.


Enjoy!

Note: if you put the jar in a really, really warm spot, it'll be ready faster; in a cooler spot, it'll take longer. You can check it at about 12 hours. 24 hours works for me in my oven.

9 comments:

  1. Justine,

    If you don't have Kefir, how much buttermilk do you use?

    Thanks!

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  2. Same amount. It's a 1T cultured milk (kefir or buttermilk) to 1c cream ratio. My recipe is 2:2.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had no idea that creme fraiche could be made at home but I guess I shouldn't be surprised! I actually needed creme fraiche last week for a dish but I used greek yogurt because I didn't want to pay for the CF!

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  4. YUM I always wondered how you made this yourself. After it sits and is ready, how do you store it and how long will it last in the frig or etc.

    BTW - creme fraiche is called for in my fav Nigella Mushy Peas but I never have it so usually omit or substitute. Now I can add it right in to an already fav dish.

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  5. Nancy - Yeah, it's like six or seven bucks for one cup if you buy it in the store. Not in my budget, for sure. I bought a 16 oz bottle of fresh cream at the farmer's market for five bucks.

    Jen - It will take your Nigella's Mushy Peas to the next level, trust me. And I know you are a Sour Cream Appreciator, so you will love this.

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  6. Jen - forgot to answer your question. As soon as it is thick and creamy, put it in your fridge. Should last a couple of weeks there (unless you eat it all first, as i do).

    One other note (and i will add this to the post): if you put the jar in a really really warm spot, it'll be ready faster; in a cooler spot, it'll take longer. You can check it at about 12 hours. 24 hours works for me in my oven.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for checking it out :-)

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  8. Like what you do Ladies...

    ReplyDelete

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