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Crème fraîche

What is crème fraîche?  I have several recipes that call for it but I can't find it anywhere.


Crème fraîche [pronounced 'krem FRESH'] is a common ingredient in French cooking.  It is a fermented cream product with 30% or more butter fat, by weight, and is used to garnish soups or desserts.  It is also used as an ingredient in sauces, and may be incorporated into cheese cakes.  Crème fraîche is somewhat thicker than American sour cream and has a distinctly nutty and tangy flavor.

Because cream products in the United States and Canada are pasteurized, it is not easy to get an authentic crème fraîche, which is made from raw milk.

In some recipes, particulalry sauces, you can substitute commercial yogurt or sour cream thickened with a small amount of corn starch, but for a more accurate taste and texture, especially when it is used as a garnish for fruits or other desserts, try combining two tablespoons of buttermilk with one cup of whipping cream.  Store in a sealed, sterilized jar for 8 to 24 hours at room temperature.  The longer you leave it, the thicker it will be and the more the flavor will develop.

After that time, your crème fraîche can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Crème fraîche is not suitable for whipping.

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