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How to Use Up 1 Tub of Crème Fraîche in 5 Recipes

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Since we're clearly fans of dairy, we paired up with Vermont Creamery to share recipes using their crème fraîche and aged cheese

I'd never heard of crème fraîche, in all its quirkily accented glory, until just a few years ago, but since then it has become one of my favorite ways to add a touch of elegance and richness to any number of meals.

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The culture used in its fermentation lends it a unique flavor that has notes of hazelnut, a subtle tang, and a rich, melting butteriness.

And since it has the smack and consistency of sour cream but the fat content of heavy cream, it stands in well for both of them in most recipes. In some cases, it's even better: Its high fat means it doesn't split when heated like sour cream does.  

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It can liven up anything from pasta sauce to soup, and when it's done making appearances in every meal of the day, whipping it with a touch of sugar and vanilla makes it the perfect upgrade to whipped cream on any dessert.  

Here are 5 ways to get started: 


Kabocha, Sage & Crème Fraîche Pappardelle
Crème fraîche is perfect for sauces because it won't split when heated. I thought its slight pucker was perfect to complement earthy sage and creamy, naturally sweet kabocha purée in a hearty, autumnal pasta sauce.  I loved this sauce over eggy, springy pappardelle, but I can see it working with any pasta, from spaghetti to penne.  


Tomato-Bacon Bisque, with Crème Fraîche
This is one of my favorite cozy-weather soups, inspired by a tomato-bacon bisque I used to love back in college. This version skips the heavy cream in favor of a generous dollop of crème fraîche. Thin slices of bacon and a smattering of Parmesan add a rich umami taste that, matched with the creamy tang from the crème fraîche, produces a soup that's as satisfying as a version with heavy cream, but just a bit livelier.

 


Sage, Brown Butter & Crème Fraîche Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are one of those sides that I tend to overlook, or else drown in gravy, salt, and pepper. But this version has more than enough flavor to stand on its own. Sour cream is often added to mashed potatoes to provide richness, but crème fraîche does an even better job. With its smooth texture and buttery, yet slightly tart flavor, it's especially good paired with sage, nutty brown butter, and crisped-up garlic.

 


Crème Fraîche Eggs en Cocotte
I don't know if there's a breakfast that is lower effort yet higher reward than eggs en cocotte. It seems impossible that it's so easy to throw together something so delicious, decadent, and downright elegant. And the moment I swapped out the heavy cream in my go-to version for crème fraîche, I loved it even more. The crème fraîche adds an extra tangy, savory je ne sais quoi (this is a French dish, after all) to the whole thing. With Parmesan and a few crumbles of goat cheese for a salty bite, plus a little bit of diced tomato for a touch of fresh acidity, it’s one of my favorite breakfasts ever.

 


Acorn Squash & Hazelnut Frangipane Galettes
After seeing sour cream pie crusts universally lauded for their ease in handling and rolling out, I wondered whether crème fraîche would work the same way. As it turns out, it totally does. The crème fraîche in the crust for these galettes makes them even more no-fuss than their pie cousins, plus it adds a nutty echo to the hazelnut in the frangipane and further complements the mildly sweet acorn squash on top.

And after the galettes come out of the oven ready to eat, take any crème fraîche you have left after all these recipes, whip it up with a bit of vanilla extract and powdered sugar, and dollop it on top for a dressed-up version of whipped cream.

Acorn Squash & Hazelnut Frangipane Galettes

Makes four small (5-inch) galettes

For the crust:

1 1/4 
cups (about 156 grams) all-purpose flour

1/4 
teaspoon salt

1 
teaspoon sugar

1/4
 teaspoon finely chopped sage (optional)

1/2
 cup (1 stick, or 113 grams) frozen butter

2
 tablespoons ice-cold water

2 
tablespoons crème fraîche

1 
large egg and a splash of milk, for egg wash (optional)

Turbinado or other sugar for sprinkling (optional)


For the filling:

1/3 
cup packed brown sugar

1/2 
teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 
teaspoon salt

1/8 
teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 
teaspoon ground ginger

1 
pinch ground cloves

2 
tablespoons unsalted butter

1 
small (about 2 cups sliced)
 acorn squash
1/2 
cup hazelnut meal (or a scant 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, skins removed, cooled, then processed into a fine meal)
2 
tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 
cup granulated sugar

3 
tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 
large egg

1/2 
teaspoon vanilla extract, plus more for the crème fraîche (if desired)

1/4 
teaspoon almond extract

Crème fraîche, for serving

1 to 2 
teaspoons powdered sugar (optional)


See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Cynthia of Two Red Bowls

Since we're clearly fans of dairy, we paired up with Vermont Creamery to share recipes using their crème fraîche and aged cheese