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It really is quite simple; all you do is gently heat heavy whipping cream (36 – 40% butterfat) and then stir in some buttermilk. This mixture is left to sit, slightly covered, in a warm draught-free place for around 24 hours. It is ready when it is thick, with the consistency of thick cream. If it still looks a little runny after 24 hours, leave it another 8 to 12 hours but move it to a warmer spot. And don’t worry about the cream going bad. Regan Daly 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”.
Once the creme fraiche has thickened sufficiently, cover and place in the refrigerator. It will continue to thicken and take on a more tangy flavor as it ages. Creme fraiche will keep in the refrigerator for about 7-10 days. It is used in both savory and sweet dishes and makes a wonderful topping for fresh berries, cobblers and puddings. It can also be whipped, along with a little sugar, and used in place of whipped heavy cream.
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.
Creme Fraiche Frosting:
In bowl of electric mixer, with whisk attachment, beat the Creme Fraiche with 1-2 tablespoons (14-28 grams) of granulated white sugar until stiff peaks form. Can be used in desserts instead of whipped cream.
Preparation time 20 minutes.
- 500 g cream
- 30 g buttermilk
- 1 spoon
- 1 saucepan
- 1 bowl
- 1 tea towel
Step 2: Heat the cream:
Place the saucepan onto a medium heat. Add the cream and heat it to body temperature. You can check it by dipping your finger into it. It should feel just warm. Then remove it from heat.
Step 3: Leave it to ferment:
Pour the warm cream into the bowl. Add the buttermilk and stir it in. Cover with the tea towel. Leave overnight in a warm place to ferment and thicken.
Step 4: Serve or store:
Use immediately by putting a dollop over some fresh fruit. Or you can store it for up to a week in the fridge. This cream is very versatile and has a multitude of uses. So get experimenting!