The French version of soured cream, crème fraîche is twice as rich and twice as thick. It's made from pasteurised cows' milk to which a lactic bacteria culture has been added. This thickens the cream and gives it a distinctive sharp flavour.
The best crème fraîche comes from a strictly controlled area of Normandy called Isigny-sur-Mer and it’s sold in larger supermarkets here. A half-fat version of crème fraîche is available from some supermarkets. Plain full-fat yoghurt can be used as a substitute for crème fraîche in cooking as long as you heat it gently – adding a little cornflour can help prevent it from separating.
Crème fraîche is sold in tubs and has a longer shelf-life than double cream. Store it in the fridge for a couple of weeks and use it as and when you need it.
Richer than soured cream, crème fraîche can be used to lace soups, sauces and stews or can be spooned over puddings and stirred into sweet dishes. It isn’t suitable for whipping though.
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