Pronounced as “krem fresh”, this is a matured cream that contains between 30% to 40% fat. It originated in Normandy, one of the strongholds of the French dairy manufacture. This delicate yet flavorful product is similar to the American sour cream, thick with hints of tanginess and nutty flavors. Crème fraîche is the staple companion for caviar, smoked salmon, and many other gourmet products.
Rob Feenie, Lumière, Canada
This staple of French cuisine is a cultured cream. Its tangy flavour and silky smoothness make it useful in both sweet and savoury dishes. It's a great accompaniment to fresh fruit and desserts in place of whipped cream.
Most speciality food stores carry crème fraîche, but you can make a good substitute:
- Combine 1 cup cream with 1/3 cup buttermilk and 1 tsp. lemon juice in a glass container. (The standard proportions are 3 parts cream to 1 part buttermilk, plus a little lemon juice.)
- Cover and let stand at room temperature in a warm place for 8 to 24 hours, or until very thick. Give it a shake every hour or so to keep it from breaking up. Stir well before covering, and refrigerate up to a week.
This crème fraîche is an ideal addition for sauces or soups, but it must be put in at the last moment and should not be boiled.
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