Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sour Cream or Crème fraîche? Either way, make a rich, delicious Chocolate Pot de Crème with this new product!

The Canadian sour cream industry is finally taking a turn for the better. While shopping at my local grocer last week, I noticed a new sour cream product in the refrigerated section: Gay Lea Gold Premium Sour Cream.  Since my dessert business relies on fresh cream products, I needed to take a closer look. I picked it up, read the ingredients and instantly noticed the difference between this new product and all the others: it is more natural and has very few ingredients.

If you have ever tried crème fraîche in Europe, you will know that it is similar to North American sour cream. However, it is not the same.  During the year that I lived in France, I spent a lot of time reading labels and ingredients. I was trying to figure out what made French food so different (i.e. so much better) than North American food. What I learned is that French food products are just more natural than what is (or was in 2004) available in North America. In fact, European labelling regulation "disallows any ingredients other than sour cream and bacterial culture" in crème fraiche (ref).

The ingredients for Gay Lea GOLD premium sour cream.
The ingredients list for a No Name sour cream brand.

Crème fraiche simply contains "cream" or "milk ingredients" and the bacterial culture used to sour it.  North American sour cream has all sorts of added ingredients, including: milk, cream, modified milk ingredients, modified corn starch, disodium phosphate, guar gum, carrageenan, carob bean gum, microbial enzyme, bacterial culture. However, this new Gay Lea Gold product has only three ingredients (milk ingredients, bacterial culture and microbial enzyme), making it the closest thing that I have seen to crème fraiche on the shelf of my local grocery store since I arrived back from France in 2005.

The difference is also clear as soon as you open the container.  Gay Lea Gold sour cream is thick, rich and dense - like Greek yogurt.  The 14% No Name sour cream is thick, but it is no where near the texture of Gay Lea's.  Also, Gay Lea Gold has a mild flavour, much like how crème fraîche is not as sour tasting as sour cream (ref). In fact, the flavour was so mild that I could have eaten a bowl of it plain; something I would never do with regular sour cream! 

I bought a few containers and tried Gay Lea's Gold sour cream in my baking. My cheesecakes came out creamier and my cakes tasted richer.  But what I just had to try with this product was a simple Chocolate Pot de Crème - my very own rich chocolate pudding! I made a semi-sweet dark chocolate version, and then followed it up with a rich milk chocolate. I preferred the dark chocolate , but I have outlined both in the recipe below.

Warning: If you are looking for a sweet milk chocolate dessert, this is not for you! This is rich and, well, slightly sour. Which is how I like my chocolate desserts! But if you prefer, you can always add a tablespoon of agave syrup for a sweetened version of this dessert.

Simple Chocolate Pot de Crème (egg-free and no whisking required!)
  • 2 ounces (57g) semi sweet dark chocolate chips (I used Guittard's All Natural 63% Extra Dark chips) OR 2.5 ounces high percentage milk chocolate (I used Camino's 40% organic milk chocolate chips)
  • 2/3 cup Gay Lea Gold Premium Sour Cream at room temperature
For a maple topping:
My dark Chocolate Pot de Crème
made with Gay Lea GOLD
Premium Sour Cream is extra thick
smooth and delicious!
  • 1/3 cup Gay Lea Gold Premium Sour Cream
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup (to taste) or agave syrup & 1/4 tsp cinnamon
For a cinnamon topping:
  • 1/3 cup Gay Lea Gold Premium Sour Cream
  • 1-2 tablespoons agave syrup or honey & 1/4 tsp cinnamon
For a crumble bottom (North American cheesecake-style!):
  • 1/4 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp butter
  1. Melt the chocolate in the microwave for two minutes on half power (50% power). Stir until smooth. If it is not fully melted after two minutes, melt for five second increments ONLY.
  2. Let cool slightly (five minutes).
  3. In a small bowl, mix the melted chocolate with the sour cream using a spoon. Stir quickly so the chocolate does not harden (it can harden if your sour cream is too cold; if this happens you will have little pieces of hard chocolate in your Pot de Crème. So if you have to, heat your sour cream in the microwave for 10 seconds to get it to a similar temperature as your chocolate).
  4. Pour into two or three small ramekins or small coffee cups or espresso cups, depending on the size of serving that you like. If you want a crumble bottom, place in the bottom of each ramekin before pouring in the Pot de Crème.  Refrigerate at least one hour.
  5. Top with whipped cream, a chocolate, or one of the toppings mentioned here (see instructions below).

Instructions for the topping:
Stir together the sugar, syrup, cinnamon or maple syrup with the sour cream.  Once smooth, place a dollop on top of each pot de creme.

Instructions for the crumble bottom:
In a small bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs and sugar.  Melt the butter in microwave for 15 seconds. Then mix the butter into the crumb mixture. Place into the bottom of the ramekins or the coffee cups that you are using for your Pot de Crème. Pour the Pot de Crème mixture on top and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Other desserts....
I also made a Vanilla Cheesecake on a Shortbread Crust with the Gay Lea Gold sour cream and an Cookies & Cream Cheesecake.  Both cheesecakes turned out richer and creamier as a result of the new premium sour cream.  They are also now more natural!

(I know this sounds like I was paid to endorse the product, but I was not. The makers of Gay Lea have no idea that I am writing this article. I am just excited about this new, thick premium sour cream product!).

For more information on Gay Lea and Gold premium sour cream, the website is:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this very helpful information. I'm trying to find out how long melted white chocolate mixed with creme fraiche will keep (when the creme fraiche has not been heated). Can you give me any idea about this or even how long your recipes would keep?