Homemade Creme Fraiche

Creme Fraiche 

I can see Matt approaching my side of the counter, pencil and paper in hand.  Today, for once, everything is under control. The tart’s cooling, the tuiles are baked, and my station is ready for service.

He leans over the counter. AND LAUREN, WHATS FOR DESSERT TODAY?

WARM APPLE TART TATIN WITH MAPLE CREME FRAICHE.

AND HOW DO YOU SPELL THAT? Pencil tapping.

I raise an eyebrow.  DEPENDS, HOW FRENCH DO YOU FEEL? 

NOT VERY. HOW DOES WARM APPLE TART TATIN WITH FRESH MAPLE CREAM SOUND TO YOU?

I’D ORDER IT.

GOOD. DONE. And he marches off to print the Daily Specials.

 

Creme Fraiche or Fresh Cream, however you wish to call it, has more depth and structure than whip cream and is especially nice as a counterpart to very sweet or very chocolate desserts. Creme Fraiche is also wonderful with savory dishes.  Add herbs and finish soups with a dollop, or use it between the layers of a potato gratin.  It is a great things to have around.  I always keep a batch in the fridge, both at the restaurant and at home.

To make Creme Fraiche simply make a mixture of 1 part cultured buttermilk to 3 parts heavy whipping cream, cover, and let sit at room temperature over night or until thick. Once your cream is the thickness you desire (I like mine to hold up a spoon) keep it in the fridge. It will last weeks if you don’t use it first. And once you have a culture started you can use it as a starter for your next batch, in the same proportions. Mix in maple, honey, lavender, herbs or whatever other variations you can think of after your cream is cultured.

(If you are interested, the culture you are growing is either Lactococcus or Leuconostoc, depending on your starter culture. Both are “cream cultures” and have three important qualities: they grow at room temperature, they produce only moderate acid during fermentation so your cream stays sweet, and they convert citrate, a component of milk, into a diacetyl, a compound that highlights the flavor or butterfat. (Thanks, Harold McGee. On Food And Cooking, p.49)

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~ by Beth on September 21, 2007.

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