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How to Make Crème Fraiche – or Mock Clotted Cream for Afternoon Tea

A tea party just isn’t the same without a pot of clotted cream to accompany your scones, lemon curd and strawberry jam, but it can be difficult to find outside of specialty stores. Regular heavy (whipping) cream is typically 35% in North American grocery stores – in the UK, double cream is like whipping cream, only heavier – about 48% butterfat. Clotted cream, which evokes thoughts of what might happen to your arteries as a result of consuming it, is very high-fat (about 55%) cream that has been heated, giving it the texture of whipped butter.

Crème fraiche, a slightly soured cream (without the sour tang of typical sour cream) with 28% butterfat and a thickness similar to clotted cream, is a good substitute – it’s easier to find, but not by much. Fortunately, it’s easy (and cheap) to make yourself.

To make crème fraiche, you’ll need a starter – buttermilk or a good quality plain yogurt, with active bacterial cultures and no crazy additives and stabilizers. Stir a heaping tablespoonful of it into 2 cups of heavy cream, stir well, pour into a glass jar, lid and let it sit in a warm spot on the countertop overnight. That’s it. After 12-24 hours, it will have thickened into this wonderful, slightly tangy crème fraiche. It’s very similar to the process of making your own yogurt.

Refrigerate the crème fraiche, and it will firm up even more before you’re ready to serve it, or use it in a recipe. Enjoy!

Serve alongside Babble’s 14 High Tea Recipes!

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