Kitchen DIY: Creme fraiche

The day my mother died the nurses took it in turns to tell me how much I looked like her. It wasn’t really what I wanted to hear, given the circumstances, but I knew they meant well. A couple of days ago, looking through photos, I found one I’d never seen before. My mother is about my age (with eight more children than I have), sitting on a beach in Hong Kong in her togs, laughing. She has short, dark hair and she looks exactly like me. At least, I think she does.
While I have inherited our family photos, I have also inherited Mum’s folders of recipes, including a pretty notebook that features about five recipes for chocolate caramel slice written in several different places and a method for unshrinking a woollen jersey that involves Epsom salts and methylated spirits. I’ve added these to my own folders of recipes, which feature many of the same things cut from the paper. I can’t bear to throw these double-ups away.

DIY Creme fraiche
While I was thinking about Belleau Kitchen’s Random Recipes for this month I found a handwritten version of this recipe in one of Mum’s folders. It was written on a piece of notepaper from the sort of notebook Mum kept in her handbag. When I was young I remember she would often serve up something she’d gotten halfway through noting down before being interrupted, worrying that she’d left something out. I fear the same thing had happened with this one – perhaps she heard it on the radio or mis-wrote the amounts? – because the first time I made it it didn’t work out. I’ve since fiddled with it and you can be assured that this version works.

300ml cream
100ml natural live yoghurt

Stir the cream and yoghurt together and cover, then leave to sit in a warm place for 12-24 hours until thick. Cover tightly and store in the fridge, where it will last for about two weeks. It’s heat-stable, so you can use it in sauces without fear of it splitting and it’s a tangy alternative to ordinary whipped cream on things like porridge or pancakes or other puddings.

What’s your favourite thing to do with creme fraiche?



  1. August 20, 2012 / 9:02 am

    I've often described the difference between standard and cultured butter to people by saying, "imagine churning butter out of crème fraiche instead of fresh cream". Have you tried making butter out of your crème fraiche?

  2. August 20, 2012 / 10:13 am

    how wonderful to have found this out of your mums recipe collections… what a lovely memory for you… I went home last week and was asking mum about a recipe she used to cook in the 80's and she went to her cupboard and pulled out a box of about a billion clippings all sorted into some kind of 'mum' order and she found the exact recipe in about 5 minutes… I look nothing like my mum but all the males in our family look identical!… love this entry… thank you so much for entering sweetie xx

  3. August 20, 2012 / 6:21 pm

    Anna, that's an amazing tip re the butter. I'm going to try that today!

  4. August 21, 2012 / 1:45 am

    Very keen to try this, I've often made creme fraiche using buttermilk as the starter, but as the buttermilk only comes in 1 litre containers, and only a few tablespoons of it are needed for the creme fraiche, it often gets pushed to the back of the fridge for a few months before being consigned to the rat cafe (aka compost bin)
    I love using it on everything, but especially with a lot of grain mustard and/or horseradish to go with rare beef, hot or cold. On porridge sounds good too…

  5. August 21, 2012 / 3:41 am

    You can never have too many recipes for chocolate caramel slice surely! (or are the all exactly the same?)

    I spent my life being told I looked like my mother and it took me years and years to see it! Now I want to be told I cook like her too!

    Creme fraiche is hard to come by (and when I do it is rather pricey) so I love the idea of making it at home

  6. August 21, 2012 / 3:49 am

    I don't think I've ever had homemade crème fraîche, but it sounds so easy, so I'll have to try it!
    I use crème fraîche all the time, but particularly in quiches.

  7. August 21, 2012 / 9:47 am

    My favourite thing is to eat it as it is! Yum!!!

    See you at the conference Lucy!


  8. August 24, 2012 / 4:18 am

    Oooh! Home made creme fraiche! I must try this… dairy products are not the easiest things to get here and I once spent a morning going to four supermarkets around KL before I could find some creme fraiche! If only I'd known this….

  9. September 2, 2012 / 8:00 am

    8 more kids?? Goodness I can't even begin to imagine what that would be like! But I can imagine this creme fraiche & how easy to make. For me I like a dollop on the side of a nice lemon tart 🙂

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