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Creme Fraiche

2 months ago

For my cooking club luncheon in April, I’m in charge of appetizers. They must be prepared at my house and transported to the luncheon about 10 minutes away.


I’m going to prepare smoked salmon with a dab of creme fraiche and a garnish of caviar and dill. Traditionally, it is served on blini but I don’t want to bother making blini. Alternatives that I have found are kettle chips, thinly-sliced oven-roasted new potatoes, toasted baguette slices, and phyllo cups. I am a huge fan of using phyllo cups when possible.


The creme fraiche is the first layer. However, I’m wondering if the creme fraiche will cause the phyllo cups to go soggy. Is commercially prepared creme fraiche more or less ”wet” than home made creme fraiche. I’ve never made creme fraiche so I’m unfamiliar with the texture. Is it possible to drain it in cheesecloth?

Comments (20)

  • 2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Yes. No. The creme will soak the phyllo cup. Draining it can be done, possibly, but it'll ruin the texture. Why is the cream on the bottom? Usually, it's on top as glue for the caviar and dill. The caviar should be on top for the snap sensation not to be lost in other textures (and it's prettier), unless you have to follow a recipe in your book—but then you'd be making the blini, right?

    The ”wet”, without stabilizers or other ick, is determined by the whey/water content of the cream. Without it, however, you have something more like mascarpone than creme fraiche. Again, texture is the whole point of this. If it's too wet, however, rather than creamy, by all means, drain it some. It should be softer than natural sour cream (i.e., pure cream—the most advertised brand has junk in it), but not without some body, espececialy when cool.

    The phyllo cups are probably the easiest to pick up and eat, and the bit of crunch might be nice. Kettle chips might taste good, but seem so wrong! Me, I'd go for the toasted potatoes or bread, The baguette is probably a more neutral flavor and less likely to break or fold. The potato seems more Russian and ”right”, but I only have my family history to inform me there, and the Russian speakers are long past... If you want to go out of the box entirely, you could do something like fried and cooled wonton wrappers, which might take wet a bit better than the phyllo cups, being as the commercial ones have no fat, and making blini is easier than making phyllo cups...

    Whatever you choose, I'm sure it'll be fine in the end. Just have fun!

    bbstx thanked plllog
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  • 2 months ago

    I've never bothered making blinis. They're freely available to buy and good quality.

    bbstx thanked floraluk2
  • 2 months ago

    I like smoked salmon on cucumber

    bbstx thanked pigeen
  • 2 months ago

    @plllog have you forgotten who you are talking to? 😁 Make phyllo cups? Not I. I ”make” phyllo cups the same way I make sausage balls (remember that thread) - I buy them frozen at the grocery.


    So, the order should be smoked salmon, creme fraiche, dab of caviar, and a sprig of dill?


    btw, you remembered correctly about us having to follow the recipe exactly. But we’ve given up on purchasing a different book each year. It has now become more of a ”cooking club” rather than a ”cookbook club.”


    Floraluk, you would be hard pressed to find blinis in my little town.

  • 2 months ago

    Curious. Every supermarket has them here. It's weird you can buy smoked salmon, creme fraiche and caviar but not blinis.

    bbstx thanked floraluk2
  • 2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    So, here in food paradise, I searched the listings for four supermarkets, since I'd never seen blini while shopping. The semi-snooty one did indeed have a box. The independent snooty one had the same box as well as another listing without a picture, which I'm guessing is more artisanal than commodity. The decent big chain store with vast quantity of items did not, but creme fraiche came up on the search, so the search engine, at least, had a clue what blini are for. The higher end version of another big chain had no blini, but the search offered up cheapass lumpfish caviar. There is a large Russian population here. The chains in particularly Russian neighborhoods may well have blini, too, but they're easy to make. Easier than phyllo cups (from bought dough--homemade is either a lifetime of weekly practice or bad). I've never seen frozen phyllo cups, but they have big bags of them at the restaurant supply.

    Note that "haven't seen" doesn't mean "weren't there", just didn't obtrude into my sightline/consciousness. Whereas, we have nasty plastic sleeves of "crumpets" in the refrigerator case which are disgusting. Why anyone would do that to a crumpet and not crawl away in shame vowing never to utter the word again, I don't know. One would think frozen blini would be better, because they're just a kind of pancake, but you never know until you try them...

    @bbstx, I didn't forget so much as credit you with the possibility. I was envisioning the bought kind. :)

    So, sprig of dill is too much. A few mere threads of dill, the little clusters at the end of the stems of the sprig, would be better and around the edges of the creme, with the caviar on top,. Dill on top would be pretty but not eat as well. You could put some sprigs on the plate. Unless your dill is weak? I'm used to fresh dill being very assertive. But yes, salmon first, then dollop, then caviar. Or a big of a brush of creme under the fish just to give a little moisture to the carrier (not enough to make it soggy!), but still dollop on top. Or you can go for the sprig on top, or sides, for pretty.

    I've seen pictures of ones with the caviar right on top of the salmon. The caviar is rolling off! It's not (shouldn't be) sticky! ONE DOESN'T DO THAT WITH GOOD CAVIAR.

    You (the indefinite "you", because I've been recently reminded whom I'm talking to) can make a rosette out of thinly sliced smoked salmon. Then you can nest your caviar in the center, and use the creme underneath to hold it in place on your carrier. Or, pipe it between the petals. Remember, a modest dollop of good caviar is a lot better than a big spoonful of bad or meh caviar.

    Also, with all these considerations, balance is the most important thing. You might need a little more creme with cups or toasts, which are drier than blini, but don't overdo, because it's there for enhancement, not a starring role.

    bbstx thanked plllog
  • 2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Plllog, like you, I checked the local supermarkets. The big chain store returns ”bliss” when you search blini. The other ”grocery store” in my little town, Walmart, gives you a list of places that will ship blinis, rather like ordering them from Amazon. No thank you.

    Thanks for the tips on presentation. I like the idea of salmon rosettes with a bit of caviar in the center. Sprig of dill, in this case, for me meant just a pinch off the tip. I don’t know what the dill will be like. I have checked with all of my friends who grow herbs and it is too early here to have fresh dill. I’ll be buying it from the grocery.


    ETA: How I make phyllo cups



  • 2 months ago

    I tried to double like, but it didn't work. :)

    bbstx thanked plllog
  • 2 months ago

    I get fancy water crackers and blend cream cheese with sour cream until it is of a nice soft consistency. Then I put it into a piping bag. When I get to my destination I lay the crackers on the serving plate, quickly pipe a swirl of the cream cheese mixture onto the crackers, lay a curl of smoked salmon on top and garnish with a couple of capers. Easy and popular.

    bbstx thanked colleenoz
  • 2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Interesting. Crème fraiche is also easily available in any UK supermarket. I've never heard of anyone bothering to make it at home. Being so close to France, I suppose, it's a common ingredient here. I always have it in the fridge whereas I rarely ever have sour cream. Crème fraiche is not very sharp and personally I think sour cream would taste better with smoked salmon. More contrast with the oiliness of the fish.

    bbstx thanked floraluk2
  • 2 months ago

    ::giggle:: That would be the (Northern European) Jewish version.

    bbstx thanked plllog
  • 2 months ago

    In Europe the combination of smoked fish, blinis and sour cream or cream cheese doesn't have Jewish connotations. It's just Russian or other Eastern European cuisine. I think the supposed connection came with eastern European emigrants to the US, many of whom happened to be Jewish, simply bringing local food with them.

    bbstx thanked floraluk2
  • 2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Sorry. The joke doesn't translate across the ocean, I guess. There are ancient memes about Askenazi food, including a prodigious number of eggs, and sour cream on everything (except with meat, which would be where the applesauce comes in). And, of course, these come from the same Northern Europe as the Russian version, you're right, but the jokes about Russian food tend more to cabbages, beets and sausages. And caviar (my grandmother's special treat was to sit down with a tin of Russian caviar and a spoon).

    So, Bbstx was making her canapes with creme fraiche, fine. You, Floral, mention always having creme fraiche and not having sour cream often, so the obvious joke—here—-was that sour cream on the canapes would be the Jewish (sour cream on everything) version. Sorry the joke fell flat.

    bbstx thanked plllog
  • 2 months ago

    I got it. 😁

  • 2 months ago

    I see. The joke clearly doesn't travel well. Sour cream has no Jewish connotations here.

    bbstx thanked floraluk2
  • 2 months ago

    Lol - I got it.

    bbstx thanked agmss15
  • 2 months ago

    I mix the crème fraiche with a little horseradish. You can serve the salmon on little slices of bread. It doesn't need to be toasted. A lovely little slice of quality bread shouldn't be underestimated IMHO! Rye bread can be delicious. Holds up much better than phyllo cups etc. I France, they call them "toasts" that used to make me laugh. The bread isn't toasted at all. I think it stems from a "toast" as in a drink.

    bbstx thanked Islay Corbel
  • last month
    last modified: last month





    The phyllo cups filled with creme fraiche, smoked salmon, with a dab of caviar and a bit of dill went over well at our luncheon. Sent DD a picture. She said she had never thought of using Tostito Scoops. 🤦🏻‍♀️

  • last month

    They look lovely.

    bbstx thanked Islay Corbel
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