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Fromage Frais (AKA Pot Cheese)

I have seen this called pot cheese and Dutch cheese in specialty stores here in the States and, when I lived in France, as fromage frais or fromage blanc. It lacks the tang and acidic qualities of Greek yogurt and is very fresh and gloriously creamy.

We used to buy a huge vat of it every Saturday during the weekly shop and I used it with fresh fruit and/or granola for breakfast, dolloped into a salad or onto a slice of baguette for lunch, or rolled in herbs and scented with garlic as a quick appetizer with crackers when guests stopped by unexpectedly.

I have not found it here on a regular basis, except in the guise of Petits Filous yogurts which are expensive, have too much sugar, and a weird chemical aftertaste. As usual, when wanting a food item that I cannot find locally, I decided to make my own with an assist from the Internet. I read a myriad of recipes, and then made my own version.

It turned out quite well and I will be making this again, probably when strawberries are in season.

Makes 2 small fromage frais, one of which is illustrated above.

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

2 Tbsps fresh lemon juice

Salt to taste, if making a savory version (see below)

Herbs, garlic if so desired

Heat the cream and milk together in a saucepan over very low heat until the mixture is heated through and one or two small bubbles are starting to form at the edges of the pan.

Add the lemon juice and tip the pan around (do not use a spoon), to combine the mixture.

Let the mixture continue to heat for two minutes. Curds will start to form.

Remove the mixture from the heat after two minutes and, set aside. Cover and let sit for an hour.

After an hour, drain the mixture over a bowl, lined with a piece of cheesecloth. Bring the four ends of the cheesecloth together and tighten them gently so that the solids within start to form a ball. Reserve the liquid that will collect in the bottom of the bowl. Use it in pancakes, or carrot soup, or in a salad dressing in the same way that you would use buttermilk though this is not tangy.

Set the cheesecloth covered solids back in the bowl and place in the fridge overnight.

When ready to use you can eat it plain (though it is very rich), or sprinkled with a bit of sugar, or with some jam or fruit puree mixed through it or, as I did below for lunch today, sprinkled with salt and herbs (in my case mint.) The spiciness of the radish and the crunchiness of my seeded cracker were good foils to the creamy bland (in a good way) deliciousness of this fresh cheese.


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