We all love cream. It is interesting how cream can easily add flavor to different recipes. If you are new to creams, you may want to give them a try today.
This guide focuses more on creme fraiche, its benefits, applications, and where to buy crème fraiche. By the end of the guide, you will have more information on why you need crème fraiche and how you can make some from home too. Let us dive in already.
What is Crème Fraiche
Crème fraiche is simply French for fresh cream. Yes, do not let French words make you think it is too exotic and probably scare you from trying it out.
Crème fraiche is characterized for being thick and cultured cream. This means that it is sourced with bacterial culture just as you would with Mexican crema and sour cream.
Anyone who has used crème fraiche agrees that it has a nutty tangy sour flavor. This is the type of flavor you would want to experience in different types of recipes.
With a fat content of around 30 percent, it should provide you with enough fat for your daily needs. As such, it is not advisable to binge on it, but rather use it occasionally.
Crème fraiche can still be a top choice as a condiment or sometimes a thickener in desserts, dinners, and appetizers.
Applications of Crème Fraiche
Crème fraiche is an extremely versatile cream to have in your kitchen. One thing is for sure, most people love the nutty flavor in toppings and condiments.
Since it is high in fat content and low in protein content, it should be a great thickener too. You can easily use it in hot dishes without it curdling.
Other than those mentioned above, here are more uses of crème fraiche in the kitchen.
- Mix with pan sauces and soups to further thicken them
- Blend with herbs or citrus to make amazing toppings for meat
- Serving with scones
- Mix with spices to make a creamy salad
- Adding to scrambled eggs
- Mix with vanilla or sugar then serve with fresh fruits
If you are creative in the kitchen, there is so much more you can do with crème fraiche. So, do not be afraid to experiment from time to time.
Common Differences Between Crème Fraiche, Mexican Crema, and Sour Cream
When researching different cream types, you are likely to come across Mexican crema and sour cream too other than crème fraiche.
As much as these three creams might be good in the kitchen, they will still have some subtle differences too.
- Sour Cream vs. Crème Fraiche
Sour cream has its origin in Eastern Europe. Over the years, sour cream has managed to get the top position as most used cultured cream in the USA. From the name, you will easily tell its flavor. Well, it is savory and sour than crème fraiche.
Sour cream also has low fat content and higher protein content than what you get with crème fraiche. This means sour cream can easily curdle if heat is applied to it. As such, it is mostly used as a condiment rather than a thickener.
You can only use it as a thickener if the sauce is already off the heat.
- Crema vs. Crème Fraiche
Mexican Crema has its origin in Mexico and it is thinner than sour cream and crème fraiche. Also, it has a milder taste than the sour cream. Some users find it having a similar tangy flavor as crème fraiche.
Looking at the tastes, Crema is the sweetest among these three creams. It is why most people would use it to balance any spicy flavors in their recipes.
Other Essential Crème Fraiche Substitutes
There is always room to try out new things when it comes to creams. As such, below are some of the crème fraiche substitutes you should consider today.
- Homemade Crème Fraiche
Well, it would not hurt to make crème fraiche at home. This is because it is among the easiest creams to make. You will need buttermilk, heavy cream, and a bit of patience to make crème fraiche at home.
Keep reading this guide as I also discuss how to make crème fraiche at home.
This is an Italian cream cheese with comparable taste and texture to crème fraiche. However, mascarpone is sweeter. It is why you can use it as a substitute for crème fraiche in desserts.
- Full-fat Greek yoghurt
As much as this yogurt is not as rich as crème fraiche, it is still a good alternative. You can easily substitute it in the 1:1 ratio.
As much as there are multiple options as substitutes, you should also consider the type of recipe. If the recipe demands for cultured cream to be added to cooking food, crème fraiche should be a top choice as it does not curdle.
Health Benefits of Crème Fraiche
One of the things people enjoy about crème fraiche should be its bold nutty flavor. This type of flavor also enhances the taste of different dessert options you might have in mind. It is why more people would be willing to consider it.
As much as the cream is full of flavor, what about health benefits? This is a common question among those who ask where to buy crème fraiche.
- The Basics
Before I can discuss the health benefits, there is the need to look at the nutritional content of crème fraiche.
Two tablespoons of crème fraiche will contain 100 to 110 calories, 7 grams of saturated fat, and 4 grams of unsaturated fat. Looking at the fat content, it is about 35% of the fat you need per day for those who strictly follow a 2,000-calorie diet.
When you limit saturated fat intake, you should end up with better health, reduce cholesterol, and more. As such, you can reduce the risks of ending up with heart disease.
- Vitamins and minerals
Crème fraiche like other creams is not the best source of vitamins and minerals, however, it does offer 2% of the calcium you need daily in each two-tablespoon serving.
As we know, calcium is necessary for developing strong bones, teeth, and further improving your muscles and heart health.
Also, you can get up to 15% of your vitamin A daily needs, depending on the brand of crème fraiche you consume.
- Low in carbs
If you are on a low carb diet, crème fraiche might be what you need too. You can now watch your carb intake better and not have to worry about spikes in insulin after consuming crème fraiche.
To put it into context, two tablespoons of crème fraiche would have 1 gram of carbs or sometimes less, depending on the brand.
Some brands claim their crème fraiche contains probiotics too. These bacteria live in your gut and they are essential for maintaining your gut health.
The bottom line is that crème fraiche has high saturated fat content. As such, it might not be a great option to have as part of your diet all the time. It is why most nutritionists would recommend occasional use.
Where to Buy Creme Fraiche
At this point, you already see the importance of getting yourself a crème fraiche, but where to buy crème fraiche question will still be on your mind.
So, some of the best places to buy crème fraiche include Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s or any well-stocked grocery stores. The best part is that you can get crème fraiche from various grocery stores around the country.
If you ever decide to buy online, consider stores such as Amazon. You can easily get anything on Amazon and crème fraiche should be one of them.
Homemade Crème Fraiche. Is it Worth It?
The crème fraiche recipe can vary from place to place. A good example is that in France, crème fraiche would be made using unpasteurized heavy cream that already contains the probiotics for thickening. As for the U.S cream, bacteria are added to the pasteurized cream to help kickstart the thickening process.
To make your own crème fraiche is easy as you only need two ingredients. They include 1 tablespoon of buttermilk and one cup of heavy whipping cream.
As for the equipment, a glass mixing bowl or saucepan will do.
Do not use metal containers as they might affect the culturing process.
Once you have everything necessary, follow this process;
- Combine the heavy cream and buttermilk. This can be done in a saucepan or a glass mixing bowl. The mixing can be over low heat to hasten the culturing process. However, heating is not a must.
- If you mixed the two in a saucepan, pour this mixture into the glass mixing bowl then cover.
- Let the mixture settle at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. Check the consistency to see if it ends up being creamy and thick.
- After the 24 hours, refrigerate the homemade crème fraiche before using.
The homemade crème fraiche is good for two weeks if refrigerated. This should be good enough to allow you to enjoy using it more often without a problem.
So, yes homemade crème fraiche is worth trying out. Sometimes your local store might not have it, but you now know how to quickly make some at home.
Crème fraiche is all about the taste and more applications. Compared to some other types of cream, you will quickly notice how good it is in terms of versatility. You can always use it in different recipes to bring out more flavors.
Since you can also make it at home, you should have an easy time whipping out some if you can’t wait for one to be shipped from Amazon.