Crème fraîche is a wonderfully rich and versatile cream that’s slightly thickened. The French translation is ‘fresh cream,’ but it’s actually heavy cream lightly soured with live culture. You can whip it, cook with it, pile it on anything from Tomato-Onion Pie to pizza to chocolate pudding. I’ve been known to eat it off a spoon. Even the cheapest chain-store brand in France is good. In the US, unless you have a good, local diary, it tends to be sticky and dense. Happily, you can make your own. Here’s how. Sam
1 pint heavy cream
2 tablespoons cultured buttermilk
In a one-pint glass jar, combine the cream and buttermilk. Cover tightly and shake thoroughly. Set in a warm place, outside in summer or on a sunny windowsill, and leave for 6 to 8 hours. Once the crème fraîche has congealed, store it in the fridge.
Makes 1 pint.
NOTE: You can substitute live-culture sour cream for the buttermilk, but commercial sour cream has no live bacteria and will not work.