Today’s guest post is compliments of my friend Melanie McMinn, who also gave us her Chinese Pork Pearl Balls, her famous Cinnamon Pumpkin Seed Brittle, and her Christmas Down Under Pavlova Recipe. Melanie, a US expat living in New Zealand, is a goddess of cheap and easy household DIY – and coaching people on buying household goods that last forever. Things are insanely expensive in her neck of the woods, and she’s figured out how to live the good life on the cheap. This post is the ultimate in budget luxury!
Why would you want to learn how to make creme fraiche? In these cash strapped times, we can’t always squeeze luxury ingredients into our Ramen Noodle budgets. So what’s a food lover to do?
DIY. Some specialty ingredients, like creme fraiche, are expensive to buy, but cheap to make. And not only cheap. Easy. Fun. Not to mention satisfying.
Creme fraiche, thicker and less sour than sour cream, is gorgeous on fresh fruit – and if that is the only thing you use it on, you’ll be glad you did. It’s also excellent to substitute for sour cream in recipes because it does not curdle. Plus, it’s a standard ingredient in many French, Scandinavian and other European recipes.
I can see you are chomping at the bit already, so here’s what you need to learn how to make creme fraiche. Cream. Plain yogurt or real buttermilk (milk with vinegar will NOT work). A thermometer. Time. That’s it. Crazy, I know. For this they charge the earth!
Don’t be worried if you add a bit more or less yogurt or buttermilk than noted. Your creme fraiche recipe will still get there in the end. More will make it tangier, less will take longer to thicken.
Once you’ve got your creme fraiche recipe made, how about an authentic Scandinavian dish for test driving your new dairy delight? The second recipe is a Swedish salad, commonly served at Christmas, from Swedish expat Sven of Chez Sven Bed and Breakfast in Cape Cod. This recipe is courtesy of his lovely lady and co-owner, Alexandra.
- Serves: 8 servings
- Serving size: 2 tablespoons
- Calories: 104
- Fat: 11g
- Saturated fat: 7g
- Unsaturated fat: 3g
- Carbohydrates: 1g
- Sodium: 12mg
- Protein: 1g
- Cholesterol: 41mg
- 4 cups of creme
- 1/4 cup of plain yogurt or buttermilk
- Any kind of cream will work when learning how to make crème fraiche - whipping cream, heavy double cream, single cream, etc. I use single or "regular" cream since I can't get anything with higher fat content at the grocery store here, but heavy cream will set up faster.
- Slowly heat your cream in a heavy sauce pan to 162°F (72°C) whilst constantly stirring. Once it reaches 162°F, turn off the heat and cover the pan. Leave for half an hour. Place the pan in a sink full of cold water and stir to prevent a skin from forming.
- When it cools to 88-95°F (31-35°C) add in the yogurt or buttermilk and stir well.
- Now comes the part that Western minds have trouble handling. Place the mixture in a warm place for 1-3 days. Cover to keep out kids, pets and bugs. Cultures need warmth to grow and we are creating beautiful cultured cream here. The warmer the space, the faster your cultures grow and thicken the cream. In New Zealand, the warmest part of the house this time of year is the hot water cupboard, so that is where mine goes and at three days it can still be pretty runny.
- When the cream is thickened, store in the refrigerator and you've got 1-3 weeks to use it. Your nose will tell you when it is time to go.
- Serves: Serves 2
- Calories: 132
- Fat: 5g
- Saturated fat: 3g
- Unsaturated fat: 1
- Carbohydrates: 22g
- Sodium: 121mg
- Fiber: 5g
- Protein: 3g
- Cholesterol: 13mg
- 3 beetroots, cooked
- 1 Granny Smith apple
- 2 tablespoons crème fraiche
- 2 tablespoons horseradish paste
- Peel the beets and apples, then cut them into 1-inch cubes.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix beets, apples, crème fraiche and horseradish, adjusting horseradish to taste.
- Serve with some akvavit for a real taste of Sweden. Skål!