Crème fraîche marries well with both the sweet and the savory, as well as the cool and cooked. Dollop it on fresh fruit or just about any pastry dessert for a tangy contrast. A classic pairing is with tarte Tatin, a caramelized apple tart. Crème fraîche is refreshing on a slab of ripe tomato with salt and a little fresh pepper or with a shaving of smoked salmon, dressed with capers, red onion, and a squeeze of lemon. It’s perfect with potatoes, tucked in a gratin, topped on a steaming baked potato, or tossed with steamed red-skinned potatoes, parsley, and chives. You can serve a dab of it on a little canapé, such as a rice cracker, with a slice of avocado. Whisk it into your beef Stroganoff (see Beef section), or use it to finish a braised chicken dish. Dress up a green-chile and pork burrito, or pair it with anything elegant, like caviar.
- 1 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
- 1 cup buttermilk (with active cultures)
Heat the cream to 80˚ to 85˚F, being careful not to overheat. Transfer it to a clean container, stir in the buttermilk, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit in a warm spot at room temperature until slightly thickened, about 24 hours. Chill well before using. After chilling, the crème fraîche should be about as firm as loose yogurt. Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.