Basics: Crème Fraîche

I’m sorry.  It has been two months since my last post.  The end of the school year and the end of my grad school semester have gotten the best of me,  and I just have not had the time or stamina to blog, let alone cook.  Even my husband complained about my absence from the blog.  However, this post marks a turning point.  Grad school is over for the year, and I just have a couple weeks left of teaching.  Over the summer, this blog will be my job, and you are going to see a lot of recipes inspired by summer produce and the farmers’ market . . . starting later this week.

For now, because it has been such a long time since I blogged (or cooked), I’ve decided to ease back into it.

Now, if you’re like me, you’ve bought a quart of buttermilk to make waffles, scones, or biscuits, and after using half a cup, you’re left with three and a half cups of unused buttermilk.  After placing the carton back into the refrigerator, three weeks later, you find it unused and expired, and you end up throwing away more than half of the container of buttermilk.  Annoying.

For this reason, I was excited when I found a recipe for crème fraîche in The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato & Sorbetto.  Why did I find a recipe for crème fraîche in a book of ice cream recipes?  The answer: crème fraîche gelato.

Some recipes seem simple, but they’re actually quite difficult:  hollandaise sauce, a moist chocolate cake, homemade pizza dough . . . That is why I get so excited when I come across a recipe that I assume is hard to make and find out it’s actually a cinch.

The latter is the case with crème fraîche.  Now, later this week, I will post the recipe for Ciao Bella’s gelato, but today, crème fraîche is the focus.

If you’re unfamiliar with crème fraîche, or think it sounds really fancy, it’s just a mild sour cream.  It can be used for a multitude of things and can take the place of sour cream in many recipes.  What I really like about crème fraîche is its ability to pair with sweet desserts (such as chocolate pots de crème) and cut through the sweetness.

The other thing I like about crème fraîche is that it consists of two ingredients (buttermilk and heavy cream), and the most difficult part of making it is measuring the ingredients.  Like I said, I’m easing back into blogging.

Crème Fraîche

From The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato & Sorbetto

Ingredients (makes 1 3/4 cups)

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • In a bowl, stir together the cream and buttermilk.
  • Cover loosely and set aside at room temperature overnight*, or until thickened to the consistency of thick cream, slightly thinner than sour cream.
  • Refrigerate.
*Ciao Bella says not to worry about the cream going bad:  “Regan Daley, in her book In the Sweet Kitchen, tells us that ‘the benign live bacteria in the buttermilk will multiply and protect the cream from any harmful bacteria.'”

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