It sounds so fancy. “Would you like crème fraîche with your baked potato?” Dollar signs flash in your mind and you ask if you could just have some low fat (low cost) sour cream instead. But crème fraîche does not need to be expensive and you can make it yourself at home with just two ingredients. And it does not require any special equipment or fussy cooking techniques. All you need to do is combine heavy whipping cream with buttermilk. Then just let it sit out on your countertop until it gets thick and rich. Then you put it in the refrigerator and use it like you would sour cream.
I can imagine the first time centuries ago that someone left the cream sitting out and found it later after it had thickened. First they would have taken a sniff and found that it wasn’t unpleasant smelling. Then I am sure they asked the person next to them to taste it.
According to Wikipedia, crème fraîche is “a dairy product, a soured cream, containing 10-45% butterfat, with a pH of approximately 4.5.” A bacteria culture is used to sour the cream and in Europe in order to be called “crème fraîche,” it can only have those two ingredients (cream and bacteria). Commercial “sour cream” on the other hand may contain thickening agents and other ingredients.
Using the following recipe for crème fraîche creates a wonderfully light Fresh Herbed Mousse that is not only good with tomatoes and cucumber, but also in omelets, on baked potatoes or with Grilled Mushroom and Roasted Red Pepper Tacos. [I have some other delicious new taco recipes in my upcoming Tacos and Tequila class on October 2 at vomFASS.] Or you could just sit on the front porch feeling the warm summer breeze while enjoying a crystal bowl full of this mousse with silver spoon.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons buttermilk
Method: Whisk the cream and buttermilk well. Let sit on the counter for 8-24 hours until thickened. Refrigerate and use as desired, including in the following recipe.
Fresh Herbed Mousse with Cherry Tomatoes and Cucumbers
1 cup crème fraiche
1 tablespoon minced basil
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 tablespoon minced chives
¼ teaspoon lime zest
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Thin slices of cucumber
Method: Fold together the crème fraiche, basil, parsley, chives and lime zest in bowl. Slice the tomatoes and cucumbers and top slices with a dollop of mousse. Enjoy!