Simple gifts, simple goodness. The most beautiful food is sometimes the most simple, fresh, and wonderful. Beautiful, wholesome and nourishing, creme fraiche, pronounced “creme fresh” is European style sour cream. It is cultured, creamy, wonderfullness….it is absolutely out of this world. I think it is so amazing that so many “gourmet” foods are really food prepared in a traditional, wholesome and nourishing way. I love to culture dairy at home, especially when I have my own beautiful raw milk. Using the best quality cream you can find for this recipe is best.
However, the frugal homesteader also knows, that if you are out of dairy on the homestead, using sale cream also works. Dated, discounted, or coded cream works. I was able last week to buy close-dated heavy whipping cream for $.49/pint. To compare, the cultured gourmet sour cream that is available in our local grocery is $2.89/pint. It also contains three different thickeners, and extra preservatives. I am making all of my discount heavy whipping cream into creme fraiche. This will help to preserve it, and also gives me a wonderfully discounted gourmet sour cream, with no additives.
With that said, one must also realize that the more processed your cream, the less nutrition that is left in it. So whenever possible, use the highest quality cream possible, on your homesteading budget. The beautiful, creamy, texture that is creme fraiche is one that is hard to duplicate with purchased, American-style sour cream. It is less pungent, with a very creamy, mild, slightly nutty, very velvety texture. What we have available locally, even the gourmet style, is nowhere near the wonderful quality, and creaminess of homemade creme fraiche. Use creme fraiche anywhere you would use sour cream, and also in a few more places! Use it over fresh berries, to top or fill cakes, pies, or pastries. The slight tang of creme fraiche brings out the flavors of the fruit. Sprinkle a bit of homemade powdered sugar, or a lovely drizzle of raw honey, and a squeeze of fresh lemon to add to the color and brightness of the flavors. The addition of vanilla and sugar or honey create a wonderful contrast to its slight tang to create some truly wonderful and simple desserts. It is also a wonderful addition to any cream soups, sauces, and gravies. Warmed with fresh herbs and garlic, it is also glorious over pasta. Creme fraiche will not break down or curdle in the cooking process. It maintains its wonderful creaminess, and invokes beautiful flavor to anything you may add it to.
Simple Creme Fraiche
1 pint best quality heavy cream
1-2 T. buttermilk
*I also use of a previous batch of creme fraiche once I have it established in my kitchen, and just keep it going. I reserve the 2T. of a previous batch of creme fraiche, and simply stir into a new pint of cream. For the first batch, use buttermilk.
Place heavy cream into a clean pint jar. Wide mouth works best, but a regular top works, too. Stir in buttermilk, or reserved creme fraiche until well mixed. Cover tightly, and place in a warm spot for 20-24 hrs. Chill well.
May you find blessings in the simple moments, in the simple gifts.
‘Tis a gift to be simple, ’tis a gift to be free….