I was turned on to crème fraîche when I started making home-made yogurt, and I was desperate for a creamy treat for my son, who was craving ice cream.
Crème fraîche, besides being a fantastic substitution for sour cream, can be used to make lots of rich and creamy foods, including the mango pops and fruit smoothies that are consumed faster than I can keep up.
This crème fraîche, like other yogurts I make (goat milk, half & half, etc.) is cultured for 24 hours to remove all the lactose from the heavy cream. You don’t have to culture it for 24 hours, but the longer you culture it, the less lactose will remain at the end and the tarter the yogurt will be.
Ingredients and preparation
- yogurt maker (see Making yogurt)
- a heaping spoonful of yogurt starter (I use some from a previous batch or starter without any additives)
- heavy cream (2 pints)
- Add the heavy cream to a medium size saucepan and heat slowly, on a low flame, with a thermometer inserted in the liquid to measure its temperature. I set the timer for 10 minutes at the beginning and after that I check it every 3 minutes or so. When the liquid reaches about 160 degrees F, I hover over the pan to catch it just as it is reaching 180 degrees F (it’s a steady simmer, not a boil).
- Next, let it cool to room temperature. You can speed up the cooling process by placing the pan in an ice water bath.
- Once the liquid is at or close to room temperature, add the yogurt starter to my yogurt container (I use a glass container). Remove the film from the top of the pan with a fork, and then pour the liquid into the yogurt container and stir to dissolve the starter.
- Next, place the yogurt container in the yogurt maker, and let the magic last for 24 hours. I set a reminder in my email/calender application to take the yogurt out the next day.
- Finally, place the yogurt container in the refrigerator for about 8 hours.