2 cups heavy cream not ultra pasteurized
2 tablespoons cultured buttermilk
Combine the buttermilk and cream in a saucepan and heat only to tepid (not more than 85 degrees on an instant reading thermometer). Pour into a clean glass jar. Partially cover and let stand at room temperature (between 65 and 75 degrees) for 8 to 24 hours, or until thickened. Stir and refrigerate at least 24 hours before using. The cream will keep about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Fresh Herbed Cream Sauce: No cooking here -- simply blend 1/2 cup crème fraîche with 1 teaspoon each finely sliced chives and fresh tarragon. Add about 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Serves up to 6 people. Streak a little over pieces of grilled, baked or poached salmon, sole, or scallops. Herbs could be pureed with a little shallot and stirred into the cream for a pale green color.
Pan Sauces: Stir a generous tablespoon into defatted pan sauces after pan grilling poultry, fish or vegetables. Bring to a simmer, taste for balance, and pour over foods.
Soups: Reduce the amount of cream called for in your favorite creamed soup by half and substitute crème fraîche.
With Fruits: A few spoonfuls of crème fraîche lift fruit flavors. Try over berries, ripe peaches or nectarines, or on sauteed pears. The cream could be lightly sweetened, flavored with a little lemon, orange or vanilla.