Crème fraîche is simply a cultured cream.
It's rich, creamy and delicately tangy in flavor, but not quite as strong or thick as it's close relative sour cream.
It's a great accompaniment to salmon, potatoes, scones or fresh berries, crepes or poundcake (and a nice counterpoint to lemon curd or jam)... but it also works very well as a topping for soups or a creamy thickening addition to sauces since it doesn't curdle or separate.
Crème fraîche can be beaten with a little sugar to give you something similar to whipped cream. Use with fruit desserts, or as a frosting for cakes...
While extremely fresh and without any extra additives when made at home, it's also much cheaper than what can be found at the store.
I can find 8 oz. for more than $5, but I can make the same amount for less that $2.
So, if you've got a little forethought, it's worth the very little trouble it takes to make crème fraîche.
makes approximately 8 oz.
1 c heavy cream
2 T buttermilk
In a medium bowl stir buttermilk into cream. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature 12-24 hours, or until desired consistency. Stir the thickened cream, transfer to a glass jar, cover with a lid and store in the refrigerator up to two weeks.