Creme fraiche is a delicious type of cream that originated in France. It can be added to your favorite dishes as a topping or sauce and substituted in many recipes to create a rich texture. Although it can be expensive to buy in stores and restaurants, making it at home is simple and easy.
Basic creme fraiche
Pour one cup of heavy cream into a jar with a lid. If you prefer, you can use yogurt instead of heavy cream but the results will be a bit runnier than traditional creme fraiche.
Add one tablespoon of buttermilk. Put the lid on the jar and shake well for fifteen to twenty seconds.
Place the closed jar on a windowsill. The cream needs to sit for 24 hours in order to form. Stir one to two times during this waiting period.
Stir the thickened creme fraiche. It should be quite thick now, peaking with the spoon. Refrigerate for six hours before serving.
Serve and enjoy! The creme fraiche is good for 7-10 days before needing to be discarded. Keep refrigerated in a sealed container.
Variations of creme fraiche
Make sweetened creme fraiche. Add one to two tablespoons of powdered sugar to taste, and stir well. If desired, add one teaspoon of vanilla as well.
Whip your creme fraiche. Use a whisk or an egg-beater to beat the creme fraiche. It should peak, but will not become stiff like classic whipped cream. 
Try herbed creme fraiche. Add chives and tarragon with a bit of lemon juice, salt, and pepper for a savory variation that perfectly complements meat.
Cooking with creme fraiche
Try scrambled eggs with creme fraiche. For the lightest, creamiest eggs add one to two tablespoons and whisk well before cooking over low heat.
Substitute creme fraiche for cream in soups. Using your favorite cream-based soup or chowder recipe, switch out the cream for creme fraiche in half the amount. This will provide a more rich texture as well as a slightly enhanced flavor.
Make creamy mashed potatoes. After boiling and mashing your potatoes, add in half a cup of creme fraiche with a bit of softened butter and blend. The resulting mashed potatoes will be creamy and light, a perfect side dish.
Serve creme fraiche with grilled fruit for dessert. Choose a fruit to your liking, although peaches and apricots work well, and grill them with a little brown sugar. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche.
Creme fraiche will thicken faster in a warm room, so if your house is cold you may need to let it sit for a bit longer than usual.
Creme fraiche can be used as a direct substitute for sour cream in many recipes.
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Sources and Citations
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