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The Ultimate Guide To Creme Fraiche

Creme fraiche is a versatile french-style soured cream that is thick, rich and great to use in cooking both sweet and savoury dishes. Creme fraiche won’t curdle at higher temperatures, goes equally well with fruits as it does in pasta dishes and as such, is the perfect cooking companion. Keep reading to learn more about creme fraiche, and add a few great recipes to your collection.

What is it & what to do with it

Originating from France, creme fraiche was originally made with raw milk, however in many other countries it is now made with pasteurised milk (such as in Australia and the United States), and then the desired bacteria is added back in. This means that there are variations in flavour depending on where you are in the world, but what defines creme fraiche is the higher fat content and milder flavour when compared to sour cream, as well as the tradition in which it is made.

Many recipes request or require creme fraiche, and this is owing to it’s versatility and usefulness in the kitchen. Creme fraiche is great for everything from soups and cooked sauces to pasta, sweets, and even pancakes. Use it to add flavour to dishes, as a standalone cream, for pastries or even hot dishes.

Creme fraiche and sour cream

In Australia sour cream is very common, so what’s different about creme fraiche? Like sour cream, creme fraiche is a cultured milk product, but creme fraiche is made from heavier creams, and has a higher fat content and a more subtle taste. While in many cases, creme fraiche can be substituted for sour cream to little detriment, there are other circumstances when creme fraiche may work better for your recipes.

Creme fraiche can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. It’s also great for cooking at higher temperatures, as it it’s high fat content means it won’t curdle (think perfect pasta sauces or simmered dishes like beef stroganoff). With a little sweetener it can complement desserts – or even become the centrepiece of the dessert, with the addition of some fresh berries. It can also be used as a substitute for yogurt or mayonnaise in most recipes.

Recipes using creme fraiche

Creme fraiche can be purchased in supermarkets, delis and gourmet food stores. Here are a few recipes using creme fraiche to get you started.

Pancakes dressed with creme fraiche, coconut and banana

 

Maybe you already have a go-to pancake recipe, if that’s the case, great! Use it and then dress with creme fraiche, banana, caramel sauce and shredded coconut. Creme fraiche can form a perfect base for pancake toppings – go wild! For a delicious and easy pancake recipe, combine 1 cup of flour, 2 tablespoons of white sugar, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 beaten egg, 1 cup milk and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. You can combine dry and wet ingredients in two separate batches and then progressively mix them together, or just use a stick blender to get the job done quickly. Scoop out and cook, top and serve!

Smoked salmon and creme fraiche – savoury pikelets

 

This recipe is great for serving at parties or events, and makes for great savoury finger food. A pikelet recipe is similar to that of pancakes, however is generally a little thicker. Use a little more flour with the above pancake recipe, buy some ready-made, or bring your own recipe. Creme fraiche opens up options for delicious savoury toppings, such as smoked salmon. Mix together 200 ml of creme fraiche, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, a dash of tabasco and 2 teaspoons of horseradish cream. Then top the pikelets and finish with smoked salmon on top. Variations can involve using fresh chives, dill, or parsley, along with salt and pepper. Yum!

Butternut pumpkin and creme fraiche pasta

Using 300g of penne pasta as base, create a delicious topping with 1 butternut pumpkin, 350ml vegetable stock, 100g creme fraiche, 200g baby spinach, and 50g of cheddar or parmesan cheese. Cut up the pumpkin into small cubes, boil in a saucepan with the stock and reduce down. Make a rough puree with a potato masher. You will combine this the creme fraiche and cheese to make a smooth sauce. Boil the pasta, and as you drain it when ready, pour over the baby spinach in a colander which will wilt the spinach. Combine all and serve with grated cheese. Creme fraiche is great for forming pasta topping bases, this is just one great example of its potential.

Now that you a now a little bit about creme fraiche and how to use it, you can add it to your arsenal of cooking techniques. It’s a great a versatile cream that can bring to life great recipes and an extra dimension to your cooking. Enjoy it!