Leave it to me to take a perfectly healthy food product and tweak it into something sinful. I’ve gone and done it again.
Everyone is talking these days of the wisdom of home fermenting. This ancient home preservation method is great for the gut, the immune system, the brain even! It adds probiotics, and vitamins to your body, and more importantly–flavor! I love to ferment vegetables of course, and more recently milk. Not just milk, but cream. Mmmmmmmmm. The tang almost knocks you sideways, but then the sweet cream calms you down. Then the zest makes it fresh and the almond just sort of tells its own little story. This is the kind of flavor that almost feels like magic–as though your tongue is understanding a new reality–no matter how many ‘cream teas’ you might have attended.
Now there are those who say that organic non-homogenized milk and cream produced from happy pastured cows is much healthier than the stuff that’s been messed with by larger dairy producers. One can only hope. I’m willing to go with that just by the taste and how it makes me feel. So, I go through all kinds of trouble to get the best milk I can, and I turn it into kefir. Here is more about that.
As the kefir sours to perfection, the solidified sour cream is skimmed off and saved. There are only a few tablespoons of the stuff, which can be gathered and churned into some delicious pastured cultured butter, or into a form of sweet Devonshire Cream I call ‘kefired cream’ (out of respect for Devonians who might feel very particular about gets to be called Devonshire cream). However, very little can be made from a gallon of kefir! It is wisely said that eating in good health has something to do with consuming natural dairy fats and white flour in the balance and proportions that they occur in real life. It’s true, but in this case I’m going rogue.
Cherry Grove Farm Creamery, the raw milk dairy just down the street has begun to offer pint bottles of Trickling Farms heavy cream– the thickest heavy cream known to man. It is pasteurized but not homogenized. (That non-homogenized part is crucial in making kefir). Why, I ask myself, don’t I just enrich the usual milk supply with more of this excellent cream to create enough sweetened kefired cream for a serious party?
So I added a whole pint of heavy cream to my normal 1½ cups of milk and kefir grains then let it sit overnight, as one does when making kefir. Carefully skimming off the pure-cream top of the ferment, I place it in a bowl and whisk in enough sweetener, lemon zest, and almond extract to make it divine. It’s just like making any whipped cream– this time whipping only to the point of being a rich luscious sauce.
I took some of it to the local bakery, The Gingered Peach, where they make amazing scones. We set up a tea party, my friend and I, and we even tried to get our friends behind the counter to try some of this with us. (Thanks, Wes for obliging!) Who should walk in but friend Oliver who runs the dairy mentioned earlier. He tried some of the kefired cream on a bite of butter-pecan scone and thought it was amazing. In fact, he wants me to do a class at the dairy. I think I might. People have to know about this stuff!
There you have it… the best topping imaginable for scones, waffles crepes, and fresh fruit, you name it. It’s a reminder that whole real food has a beguiling character, and that just can’t be faked.