Crème Fraîche: Step Aside, Sour Cream
Hi everyone! It's been a while (2-3 weeks) since I've worked on posts for the blog. It's been busy at work. My parents and some friends have been visiting or having birthdays, events, etc. But, I'm back! I know you've all missed me and my good looks. So, today, I want to talk about something almost as delicious as me: Crème Fraîche. Look at all those accents on those vowels. Even the spelling is fancy. Pronounced as "KREM-FRESH" (not "CREAM-FRY-CHAY", you silly duck), Crème Fraîche is a soured cream, which is weird because it's French for "fresh cream". However, it's not the same as sour cream. It's distinctively richer, less sour, and less viscous. A lower viscosity means that it's less thick and there is less internal friction.
FUN FACT: The most legit Crème Fraîche is from Normandy, France.
Crème Fraîche is made by adding a mix of cultures, that may include L. cremoris, L. lactis, or L. biovar diacetylactis, to heavy cream. But, if you're low on bacterial cultures (it happens to the best of us), you can just use buttermilk. The culture/buttermilk will cause the cream to thicken and become more acidic, which makes it less prone to spoiling. SCIENCE. On the other hand, sour cream is made with thickeners (like rennin or gelatin), cream, and milk.
Crème Fraîche has a fat content of about 30%. It also has more fat and less protein than sour cream, which means that it will melt easily under heat. Sour cream has 20% fat and is distinctively acidic. It has a low amount of fat and a higher protein content, which means that it will curdle easily. Not to hate on sour cream, which can do well as a topping for any dish that needs a nice tangy, acidic flavor, but Crème Fraîche is like sour cream's cooler, multi-faceted sibling that can be used in anything ranging from soups to desserts. In terms of taste, Crème Fraîche is thinner and has a richer flavor. It is also less acidic and less tangy.
Here is one savory recipe and one sweet recipe that uses Crème Fraîche:
Spicy Crab Linguine with Mustard, Crème Fraîche, and Herbs: Link
Summer Berries with Lemon Crème Fraîche: Link
If you're interested in making it yourself, here are a few recipes: