There are still mysteries to be solved about French life. One of them concerns crème fraîche. It is a product that can now be found on British supermarket shelves along with fresh cream. Sainsbury’s crème fraîche is cream thickened with tapioca starch and pectin. But, if I ask a French person what crème fraîche is, they will say it is simply ‘fresh cream’! However, theirs is fermented with lactic ferments, but so are French yoghurts. So, what is the difference between the two products?  Fresh cream in the UK can be whipped and will hold its shape. French cream, when whipped returns to a liquid if left! I might have found part of the answer to my questions in an American book called, ‘The Loaves and Fishes Cookbook’. The author Anna Pump gives a recipe for crème fraîche. It involves adding 2 tablespoons of buttermilk into heated double cream. If left for 24 hours, it will thicken and keep for 3 weeks. I must try it! But I still don’t know why French whipped cream collapses.

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