A couple of years ago I decided to lessen my dairy intake for a couple of reasons--not a monumental change, but it has made a difference in how I feel. Now I consciously pick and choose when it comes to consuming cream, cheese, ice cream, milk, butter, etc. (great motivation to share treats with others when I do bake!). I prefer to save my calories for things like smooth, creamy, tangy-but-not-sour, good-in-just-about-anything crème fraîche (many thanks to the French for inventing it!). Unlike sour cream, crème fraîche can handle heat without curdling, so it's ideal for making sauces as well as baked goods. The only unfortunate thing about crème fraîche is its availability and price. Unless you live near a Trader Joes, where it's only $2.99, or in France, where it's even less, then you likely don't have access to it or if you do, it's marked up to a whopping $8 for just 8 ounces. Ouch.
But oh, I have some delightful news for you...
Over the years I've experimented with making my own crème fraîche, looking up recipes online here and there, but never found one that mimicked the creme fraiche you find in any French grocery store...until now. Romina Rasmussen, Kouing Aman extraordinaire and the owner of Les Madeleines, kindly shared her recipe with me and I have to tell you that it's top notch perfection. Today, I am beyond thrilled to share that very recipe with you and can only imagine the decadence that will be created in your kitchens as a result :)
Romina's recipe for crème fraîche takes less than 5 minutes...five. It isn't labor intensive, but will require your attention to detail. You need just two ingredients--buttermilk and heavy cream. You'll notice she is very specific about the brand of heavy cream used in this recipe. Romina has experimented with many different brands of heavy cream and found this one to be the best for this recipe. I have to back her up on this too...I've used several other brands in the past as well (local, organic, etc.) when I've attempted to make crème fraîche and it's never turned out this well. She really hit the nail on the head with this one (although let's be honest, she always does...hello carrot cake cookies!).
Recipe and suggestions for how to use creme fraiche after the jump. Simply click "read more" below.
Romina's Creme Fraiche
serving size: 2 cups
2 T. buttermilk
1 3/4 cup + 2 T. Darigold Heavy Cream (found at your local Costco and also PNW grocery stores)
Place a 16 oz Pyrex glass measuring cup on the counter, in a spot where it can hang out for a day or so without being disturbed in any way. Pour 2 Tablespoons of buttermilk inside the Pyrex. Then, add enough Darigold heavy cream to make the liquid mixture a solid 2 cups. Give it a good stir (key step!). Cover tightly with good plastic wrap (coincidentally enough I like the commercial grade plastic wrap also found at Costco). Allow to sit on the counter for a full 24 hours before stirring and then chilling in the fridge. Try to use your delicious, homemade creme fraiche within the week.
Here are some of my favorite recipes incorporating creme fraiche, if you're needing a little inspiration as to how to use it when cooking and baking. And as always, please feel free to share your favorite recipe calling for creme fraiche too. I'm always on the lookout for a new favorite...
ina garten's chicken with morels / cake / with strawberries / easy french bistro menu