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Making Créme Fraiche

July 4, 2014
by Cornelia Emlen

Like many homes, the lexis of activity in ours while growing up, was the kitchen.  We cooked and ate there, hung out with friends and did homework around the old table at its center.  It had a wood stove and in our huge, drafty house the kitchen was one of the only warm places to be.

My mom, who was much more interested in reading the NY Times at the end of the day than making supper, did, however, listen religiously to Julia Child.  That was it for food shows back then.  In competition with the blasting songs from my Janis Joplin and Beatles LPs, I still recall Julia’s booming voice emanating from our tiny television set as she oh so casually described making coq au vin or boeuf bourguignon.

Between Julia Child and my high school French class with its annual “cuisine francaise” day, there were numerous opportunities to pick up an occasional recipe. One that I loved then and consider a staple to this day is crème fraiche which in 10th or 11th grade, the teacher brought in for us to sample.  It is incredibly easy to make and delicious in soups, on vegetables or fresh fruit.  So here’s to Julia,  my French teacher and Janis, too.  Bon Appetit.

Easy to make and incredibly versatile, it is both creamy and slightly tart - - a perfect companion to both desserts and vegetables.
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. Combine the buttermilk and cream and warm ever so slightly in a saucepan until it reaches 85 degrees. Pour into a clean glass jar and cover with a cotton napkin or dishcloth. Let sit in a warm location for 8 to 24 hours until it thickens to the consistency of yogurt. Stir and refrigerate. The crème fraiche will keep about 1 week in the refrigerator. That’s all there is to it!