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Friday, March 26, 2010

Crème Fraîche

At long last, the crème fraîche post. I've been sitting on this one for forever, trying to use it in different ways. Crème fraîche is heavy whipping cream that has been fermented like yogurt. It is most affiliated with Parisian cooking as the cream from outlying villages, in getting shipped to the big city, would lightly ferment in the course of the journey. That's the food origin mythology anyway.... It keeps for atleast 10 days in the fridge. While ultrapasteurized cream seems to basically keep forever (I have some from December in my fridge that I use, I'm writing this towards the end of March) regular whipping cream doesn't last much after it's sell by date, that's why I first started making the stuff.
Making it is pretty simple and forgiving. You have to heat up milk to make yogurt as it does something to the protein structure. Cream is all fat, no protein, so it's easier. Warming it to room temperature on the stove is best, but using cold cream is fine, too, it will just take longer. So, the jist of the recipe is 1 pint of cream (preferably Straus pasteurized, but Organic Valley ultrapasteurized does work), stir in 2T of buttermilk or yogurt (seems like the bacteria in buttermilk lead to thicker crème fraîche, but could just be the nature of my current yogurt culture), let it sit in a pilot-light-warmed oven for however long it takes -- between overnight and 24 hours or so.

I've used it in sherbets I,II; adding a bit to savory sauces I,II; a dollop on a taco; and the dollop on the side thing with persimmon sorbet. The dollop on the side thing was excellent, and is it's suggested use in french cookbooks (dollop with fresh fruit, though). The contrast between sweet fruit and cool/creamy/fatty/lightly sour crème fraîche is epic. Not blogged about, but the 4th night of my brother being here just now, after plowing through all of the baja flour tortillas, we did those dried ravioli from TJs (which are remarkably good when you are camping, and still pretty good if you are not) with garlic/olive oil/1c red sauce and 1c crème fraîche. Good.

Anyway, here's a partial list of recipes from cookbooks I have. You'll notice some recipe trends. This list is by no means complete as some authors do their index based on ingredients (Jamie O, yeah!) but some base them only on the name of the dish (most others, boo!). Lots of stuff to try out....

-vanilla bean crème fraiche ice cream ; Patricia Wells at Home in Provence p. 289
-apple tart w/ dollop of crème fraiche on side ; MtAoFC p. 637
-noodles a la crème ; la Bonne Cuisine p. 570
-dollops; Jamie's Kitchen p.183, 148
-smoked salmon, lemon, and crème fraiche sandwich; Jamie's Dinners p. 92
-baked potato w/ crab, crème fraiche, spring onion, chili, and mint; JD p.12
-baked trout and potatoes with a crème fraiche, walnut, and horseradish sauce; Naked Chef Takes Off p. 163
-cilantro and crème fraiche salad dressing; NCTO p.80
-crème fraiche and grilled lemon salad dressing; Happy Days w/ the Naked chef p.114
-marinated mozzarella in crème fraiche with lemon and marjoram; HDwtNC p. 93
-medallions of beef w/ morels and marsala w/ crème fraiche sauce; HDwtNC p. 196
-potato salad w/ smoked salmon and horseradish crème fraiche; Jamie at Home p. 186
-mussels steamed w/ fennel and crème fraiche; Cook w/ Jamie p. 254
-pan-fried scallops w/ lentils, crispy pancetta, and lemon crème fraiche; CwJ p.250
-calabacitos con crema; Essential Cuisines of Mexico p. 228
-chiles rellenos de elote con crema; ECoM p. 213
-elote con crema; ECoM p. 225
-tostadas de crema y guacamole; ECoM p. 90
-maroilles cheese tart; Food Lover's Guide to France p. 93
-salmon w/ lentils, bacon, and horseradish cream; FLGtF p. 120
-thin crusted cream, onion, and bacon tart; FLGtF p. 123
-pumpkin tart from millancay; FLGtF p. 153
-graten dauphinois chez lily et gaby; FLGtF p. 217
-gallette bressane; FLGtF p. 245
-onion tart from catton-grammont; FLGtF p. 247
-marjolaine pere bise (chocolate cake); FLGtF p.258
-lamb charlotte with red pepper sauce; FLGtF p. 304
-mouclade; FLGtF p. 501
-pile ou face's rabbit with rosemary; Food Lover's Guide to Paris p. 24
-morels and comte cheese on grilled toast; FLGtP p. 40
-rabbit with mustard; FLGtP p.59
-broiled gratineed chicken; FLGtP p. 64
-fricassee of chicken with morels; FLGtP p.113
-verlet's apricot tart; FLGtP p. 113

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