Picture for a moment your perfect caviar experience. Maybe you’re sipping fine champagne in a Michelin star restaurant with an exquisite tray of caviar, or perhaps it’s a mellow night with friends, dry white wine, and a wide range of caviars to try.
But no matter what you imagine in your ideal caviar scenario, no tasting is complete without key components like lemon, blinis, capers, and especially... crème fraîche.
Crème fraîche is a classic caviar garnish for several reasons. It’s light, creamy, slightly tangy, and most importantly, complements the natural salt and flavors of fine caviar.
Sure, you can buy a jar of crème fraîche from your local gourmet grocer, but if you want to put your own artisan touch on your next caviar tasting, we suggest you make it from scratch at home.
Luckily, making crème fraîche is quite easy and enjoyable, so today, we’re giving you a simple recipe to follow step by step with just a few common ingredients.
Learn this recipe by heart, and you’ll always have wonderful crème fraîche on hand.
What Is Crème Fraîche?
Before we jump into our recipe, let’s take a quick look at crème fraîche and what makes it special in the culinary world.
Crème fraîche is the French term for “fresh cream,” although we know this product to mean something slightly different. Crème fraîche is a fermented dairy product with a luxurious, thick texture and plenty of tangy, rich flavor.
Travel to France, and you’ll find crème fraîche of different varieties. Some are thicker and heavier, while others are lighter with more of a liquid texture.
It’s a matter of preference when choosing the best crème fraîche for caviar, but we recommend finding a slightly more liquid product that will not overpower the delicate texture of your favorite caviars.
Keep in mind that store-bought crème fraîche in the United States tends to be mass-produced and not regulated with the same level of care as European products. There are often fillers, emulsifiers, and gums in these US products that you definitely want to skip.
Furthermore, avoid anything that claims to be “low-fat” crème fraîche because it simply doesn’t exist! The fat content of at least 30% is necessary for real crème fraîche, and nothing else comes close in terms of flavor and texture.
That’s why we’ve put together this recipe so that you can experience the magic of crème fraîche as the French intended it to be.
Make Crème Fraîche Step By Step
Important Note: Since crème fraîche is made possible by fermentation, it takes 48 hours to make it from start to finish. Plan ahead for this crème fraîche ready to serve when the caviar and guests arrive at your place.
Without further delay, let’s jump into our recipe for crème fraîche.
Ingredients and Supplies
You don’t need much to make crème fraîche, and that’s the beauty of this recipe.
Just two fresh ingredients are necessary:
- Between 1 and 2 tablespoons cultured buttermilk
- 2 cups fresh heavy cream, no additives, and not ultra-pasteurized
You’ll also need a sterilized mason jar that can hold these ingredients, a coffee filter, and a rubber band.
Start by pouring your two ingredients into your mason jar and mixing thoroughly.
From there, wrap the coffee filter around the open top of the jar and secure it in place with the rubber band.
It’s important to use this technique instead of securing the jar with the standard cap or top! Your goal is to allow the mixture to ferment without bits of dirt or dust getting in.
After that, the hard work is done. Leave the jar in a slightly warm area (around 70 degrees Fahrenheit) for 24 hours straight. This could be a countertop in a cabinet or wherever the temperature is right.
Once that first day has passed, you can check on your mixture to see it thicken and take form. Clean the top of the jar and twist the standard lid on tight so that no more air can enter.
Store the secured jar in your fridge for another 24 hours, and VOILA! Perfect, authentic crème fraîche is yours to enjoy however you want.
Once you’ve made your crème fraîche, you can enjoy it immediately or save it for your upcoming caviar tasting. Just be sure to store it safely (with the lid firmly sealed) in your refrigerator along with the rest of your condiment collection.
You’ll want to label your crème fraîche jar on the day you make it so that you have an idea of how long to keep it. Thankfully, crème fraîche lasts a long time!
You can keep it for at least two months, and many experts say the flavor improves with time as well. As soon as you run out, you can quickly whip up another batch with our recipe.
Enjoying Caviar with Crème Fraîche
Now that you’ve got the world’s best crème fraîche on hand, how do you enjoy it properly with caviar?
Here are a few suggestions from caviar connoisseurs.
Classic Blini and Crème Fraîche Combo
Blinis are tasty little pancakes that make a perfect edible platform for caviar and crème fraîche. They are available in frozen form (just heat them up), or you can make them at home with an easy blini recipe.
Potatoes, Tartlets, Toast and More
Blinis are just the beginning. You can use crème fraîche to layer thin-sliced roasted potatoes with caviar on top or create delicate tartlets with puff pastry to hold all your favorite accouterments.
Don’t forget buttered toast points, which complement the structure and flavors of caviar perfectly, along with a dollop of crème fraîche.
Crème Fraîche and Caviar – The Perfect Pair
Once you unlock the elegance of crème fraîche, you’ll see what you’ve been missing! There could not be a simpler recipe for such a great reward.
Don’t wait until your next caviar order arrives in the mail to make homemade crème fraîche – follow our recipe right now and prepare to enjoy the most delicious crème fraîche in 48 hours.