A Creme Fraiche Story

A favorite memory from my first return to Ukraine so many summers ago, was my grandmother's house;  specifically the first morning I awoke there. It's a memory I do not forget, maybe because of the exhausting flight the day before or maybe because I was in a country, a place, a home that felt so new yet so dear to me.

That morning, I awoke to a room flooded with a bright, warm, summer sunlight. As the breeze came through the windows, waving the lace curtains hung on the big window next to my day bed, it swirled throughout the room encasing everything in a peaceful, shimmering light. I lay there, soaking in the calm and peace of a new day, feeling not a care in the world, the turmoil of the last day of travel seeming just a dream. In a place like no other, it was a moment that I came back to often over the years.

A little over a year ago I went back again, this time the memories took a different direction. The cold, rainy days that September were a bit unexpected, but they did not dull our senses to the foods we enjoyed at my grandmother's house. The one thing that stood out the most and we longed for back in the states was fresh, homemade sour cream. It was like nothing I had ever had, smooth, buttery, soft, with a tang. It melted on the warm crepes I had that morning and I wanted to drown my breakfast in it. We ate it every chance we had those few short weeks.

A Creme Fraiche Story

Once back home, I scoured the internet to see if anyone anywhere sold "European" sour cream, but with very limited results. I figured unless I go milk a cow somewhere and figure out what to do afterwards in order to produce the sour cream I wanted, it was not happening. 

I had heard about creme fraiche and it's cooking wonders. For some time I gave it little notice thinking it was just another food fad, until two night ago. Noticing it being used  in a dish (again!), I started wondering and decided it was time to dig a bit deeper. What I came across in my research was the final result; the same pale, cream colored, "European" sour cream I had given up hope on ever having again.

A Creme Fraiche Story

Creme Fraiche

Makes about 8 oz.

The Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 cup heavy cream

The Instructions

  • Sterilize the canning jar and lid in boiling water for a few minutes each. Let dry and cool to room temperature.
  • Whisk the buttermilk and heavy cream in a large measuring cup.
  • Pour the mixed ingredients into jar and cover with napkin or coffee filter. Tie down with ribbon or rubber band.
  • Let mixture stand at room temperature for 24 hours, it will thicken considerably in this time.
  • Removing the coverings, stir the mixture to combine any separation and cover jar with a lid.
  • Store mixture in the refrigerator for another 24 hours to thicken and set.
  • Enjoy! Creme fraiche will be good for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe Notes:

  • If you would like or prefer a tarter creme, increase the buttermilk by 1/2-1 Tbsp. 
  • A glass canning jar of 10-12 oz in size is the best option for storage as these can be easily sterilized and reused when making more.