Crème Fraîche – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Chocolate & Pastry Ingredients Glossary

I. What is Crème Fraîche?

Crème Fraîche is a French-style cultured cream that has a rich, tangy flavor and a velvety smooth texture. It is commonly used in both savory and sweet dishes to add a creamy richness and depth of flavor. Crème Fraîche is a staple ingredient in French cuisine and is often used in sauces, soups, desserts, and pastries.

II. How is Crème Fraîche made?

Crème Fraîche is made by combining heavy cream with a small amount of buttermilk or a commercial culture containing lactic acid bacteria. The mixture is then left to ferment at room temperature for 12-24 hours, allowing the bacteria to thicken and sour the cream. The result is a thick, creamy product with a slightly tangy flavor.

III. What is the difference between Crème Fraîche and sour cream?

While Crème Fraîche and sour cream may look similar, there are some key differences between the two. Crème Fraîche has a higher fat content (usually around 30-40%) compared to sour cream, which typically has a fat content of around 20%. This higher fat content gives Crème Fraîche a richer, creamier texture and a more pronounced tangy flavor. Additionally, Crème Fraîche is less likely to curdle when heated, making it a better choice for cooking and baking.

IV. How is Crème Fraîche used in chocolate and pastry recipes?

Crème Fraîche is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of chocolate and pastry recipes to add richness and depth of flavor. In chocolate desserts, Crème Fraîche can be used to make ganache, mousse, or frosting. Its tangy flavor helps to balance the sweetness of the chocolate and adds a creamy texture. In pastry recipes, Crème Fraîche can be used in tarts, pies, and pastries to add a rich, buttery flavor and a velvety smooth texture.

V. Where can you buy Crème Fraîche?

Crème Fraîche can be found in the dairy section of most grocery stores, usually near the sour cream and yogurt. It is also available at specialty food stores and online retailers. When purchasing Crème Fraîche, look for brands that use high-quality cream and natural cultures for the best flavor and texture.

VI. Are there any substitutes for Crème Fraîche in recipes?

If you are unable to find Crème Fraîche or prefer not to use it in a recipe, there are a few substitutes that can be used. One option is to make a homemade version by combining heavy cream with buttermilk or a commercial culture and allowing it to ferment. Alternatively, you can use sour cream or Greek yogurt as a substitute for Crème Fraîche in some recipes, although the flavor and texture may be slightly different. Experiment with different substitutes to find the best option for your specific recipe.