Creme fraiche is pronounced 'krem fresh'. It is a thick and smooth soured cream with a rich and velvety texture. This matured cream has a nutty, slightly sour taste produced by culturing pasteurized cream with a special bacteria. (In France, where it originated, the cream is unpasteurized so it naturally contains the bacteria necessary to make creme fraiche.) You will find every brand of creme fraiche tastes a little differently and that is because there is no set standard for making this cream and the butterfat content does vary (although it is usually around 30%).
Here is an inexpensive way to make your own creme fraiche as it is often hard to find in stores.
- 1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon buttermilk
- Note: If possible, use pasteurized heavy whipping cream, as ultra pasteurized will take longer to thicken.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, warm the cream to 105 degrees F (40 degrees C). Remove from heat and stir in the buttermilk. Transfer the cream to a large bowl and allow this mixture to stand in a warm place, loosely covered with plastic wrap, until thickened but still of pouring consistency. Stir and taste every 6 - 8 hours. This process takes anywhere from 24 to 36 hours, depending on your room temperature. The creme fraiche is ready when it is thick with a slightly nutty sour taste. Chill cream, in the refrigerator, for several hours before using. Creme fraiche may be made and stored in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.