If you’ve ever been to an authentic Mexican restaurant in the US, you might have seen mention of crema or “table cream”on the menu. Most restaurants here use sour cream as a substitute, but it’s really not the same. The difference is enough to have a major impact on the taste of your meal.
In traditional Mexican food, crema is used on almost everything. The smooth bland taste is perfect against the hot and spicy flavors in tacos, enchiladas, soups, etc. (It does the same to Mexican food as yogurt does to Indian cuisine.) We can’t think of any Mexican dish which isn’t enhanced by a dollop of crema on top.
Aside from the more common ways to use crema, here are a few more:
Dip strawberries or banana in sugar and drizzle with crema.
Brush it on corn-on-the cob and sprinkle chili powder on top.
Spread it on a chicken and avocado sandwich instead of mayo.
Dollop it on chocolate pudding instead of whipped cream.
Substitute it for mayo in salad dressings and dips.
There are many variations of crema, but most of the time, it is a little thinner than sour cream and a little less sour. It is more like creme fraiche than any other dairy product. In fact, if you have our creme fraiche culture, you can make your own crema very easily by following the directions on the packet and then adding a little salt and lime juice.
1 cup heavy cream, pasteurized but not ultra-pasteurized, if possible. You can use half & half or a lighter cream.
2 Tbsp cultured buttermilk (most buttermilk that you find in the dairy section of the supermarket is cultured). You can use sour cream if it has active cultures in it.
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp lime juice
Make creme fraiche using our culture with directions on the package and skip to step 5, or
1. Mix 1 cup heavy cream with 2 tablespoons cultured buttermilk.
2. Heat in double boiler until warm (no higher than 95F).
4. Keep warm (over 70F) for 12 – 24 hours or until it is as thick as you want it. If you live in a hot climate, you’re all set. If not, you can use a Yogotherm for this, or whatever method you use to keep your milk warm when you make yogurt. Other options: You can put it in a cooler with jars of hot water, or wrap it in an electric blanket, or put it next to a radiator in winter or put it in the stove with only the pilot on (if you do this, be sure to put a note on the stove so you don’t forget and preheat it!).
5. Add 1/8 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons lime juice and stir or whisk. (If using with a dessert, you can leave out the salt.)
6. Refrigerate for 24 hours. (It will get even thicker during this time.)
Keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
1. Add a few tablespoons buttermilk to sour cream, then add a little salt (to taste).
2. Combine 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon salt. Let set at room temperature for 3 hours and refrigerate.
3. As a last resort, you can buy it at Mexican markets and many major supermarkets.
Add grated lime zest.
Add chopped spices like cilantro or fresh dill.
Add chopped jalapenos or sliced green onions or chopped garlic.
From Recipe Goldmine
3/4 cup Crema or sour cream
2 tablespoons Ancho Puree
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Juice of 1/2 lime
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well to blend. Taste and adjust seasoning. Pour the crema through a funnel into a squeeze bottle. If not using right away, wrap the tip of the bottle with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Let the crema sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes, then cover the top of the bottle with your finger and shake well before using.
1 fresh avocado
1 cup Crema
Juice of 1 Mexican lime
Put ingredients in a blender and pulse until combined.
2 cups Crema
1 clove garlic, roasted and peeled
2 tablespoons canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
Puree ingredients in a blender.
Red Chile Crema
4 whole dried red chiles
1 cup water
Place dried chiles on a baking sheet and roast at 325F for 5 minutes. Remove seeds, and boil in 1 cup of water until soft. Puree in a blender and season with a pinch of salt.