Crème fraiche is a thick, smooth, velvety textured sour crème with slight nutty taste used in flavoring or topping variety of dishes. It is usually made with unpasteurized cream with special friendly bacteria which helps it to thicken naturally with addition of buttermilk and once it gets to the original form it can be stored in refrigerator for around 8-10 days. The best homemade version can also be made by culturing the pasteurized heavy cream which contains no natural bacteria and buttermilk may be added either before heating the cream or later. Sometimes it is blended with little sugar or vanilla and is used similar to the whipped cream. Crème fraiche is used as a substitute for sour cream as it has the specialty of not curdling or breaking but is quite different and is velvety thickened cream not as sour. It may be used to flavor sweet or tangy dishes or for topping fresh fruits, desserts or puddings. There are commercial versions of the cream available but are quite expensive and are available in selected stores only. Thus the readymade versions are not quite popular and preparing a similar tasting cream at home is preferred. The variety of the Crème fraiche made at home is vast depending on the cow breed or the type of thick cream used.
Origin of Crème fraiche
It is derived from a French word that pronounces krem fresh meaning “fresh cream”. It evolved originally in Normandy and Brittany which still owes a respectable position there and is used throughout Europe. Traditionally it is made with unpasteurized cream which is being alternated with pasteurized cream and has also become widely popular.
Methods of Preparation for Crème fraiches
Crème fraiche is a wonderful cream which is used popularly in a number of dishes like any other cream. It can be used in a number of soups like Hungarian Goulash, butternut squash bisque, squash-ginger-shiitake, etc. or other types of sauces or as a thickening agent. The fact that it does not curdles, helps it being boiled with a number of dishes like chicken fricassee, mustard pork chop, etc. The cream is used to enhance the flavors of the steamed vegetables or baked fish garnished with it. By beating Crème fraiche with granulated sugar or vanilla results in obtaining a cream similar to the whipping cream which may be spooned over fresh fruits, berries puddings or desserts and may also be used as filler for crepes, tarts or some low caloric pancakes. The chocolate mousse made with this ingredient also tastes delicious as also the chocolate chestnut gateau and other varieties of cakes and pies. The flavors of the Swedish salad, commonly served in Christmas or the beet salad is enhanced with the French cream.
Cuisines Commonly Making Crème fraiche Recipes
It is an important ingredient in a number of French, Scandinavian and other European countries. It is a common French ingredient predominantly in Normandy and is also popular in other regions of France as also in the dairy regions of Poitou-Charente, Brittany, Lorraine and Champagne-Ardenne. In addition to France, Crème fraiche is also common in Belgium, Netherlands and Scandinavia. The French Crème is made from the traditional styled unpasteurized cream whereas the North American version available in a few stores is pasteurized and thus requires an artificial fermentation.
Preferable Methods of Cooking Crème fraiche Dishes
The commercially available ingredient is quite expensive and the similar cream can be made at home with buttermilk or yoghurt. The homemade cream is very simple to be prepared and is thus very popular in comparison to the ready made available brands. Usually unpasteurized heavy whipping cream is used in the procedure of making the cream which is heated gently mixed with buttermilk. Alternatively addition of buttermilk can be done after heating the thick double cream. Crème fraiche is covered with a lid and is left to thicken for 24 hours in the room temperature or in a warm place probably in a cupboard. After the required consistency is attained it can be put to use or is stirred well and may be covered refrigerated for about ten hours for later use. It is mixed with a number of other ingredients at the boiling stage or as thickening agent in soups and sauces. It can be whipped well to form soft peaks or is mixed with some powdered sugar which is the sweetened version of the Crème fraiche. When stirred with pure vanilla extracts just before refrigerating results in a vanilla flavored cream.
Nutritive Value of Crème fraiche Recipes
It is a calorie-rich food with considerable amount of fat especially saturated fat. It is also rich in cholesterol, sodium, calcium, sugar, protein and fat resources. If it is used as a topping for a caloric dish it results in further increase in the calories of the whole dish. The intake of Crème fraiche is not recommended on a regular basis instead occasional consumption in the diet is advised for those suffering from obesity and trying to lose weight.