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zilla369

Crema Mexicana

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I just saw Bobby Flay (i know, i know) making fish tacos and using "crema mexicana" as a topping. Apparently it's sort of like creme fraiche or sour cream. I read a description online that said it was the consistency of Devonshire cream.

Does anyone know what the (albeit subtle) differences are between crema mexicana and these other old standards? Where does one buy it?

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Crema Mexicana

The most popular Hispanic cream. This product is thick, rich, fresh cream. It has the thickness of Devonshire Cream or Creme Fraiche and has the sweet taste of heavy whipping cream. It is used as a dessert topping either directly out of the package or whipped. In fact, many chefs specify our Crema Mexicana for their whipped toppings because it will hold its whip for four days, not the four hours one can expect from whipping common heavy cream. Crema Mexicana is also used as an ingredient to thicken sauces and to give entrees a thicker, richer taste. For a delicious addition to your pasta sauces try mixing one part Crema Mexicana to three parts pasta sauce. You'll love the result. Especially with tomato based pasta sauces: creamier and richer than any pasta sauce.

Is this helpful in answering your question? :rolleyes:

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Thanks for answering! I had seen that particular passage in Googling, but it doesn't really explain the difference between mexicana and the other products to my satisfaction. Just wondering about other eG'ers experiences with and knowledge of crema mexicana.

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Cremas are the Hispanic version of sour cream.  This category includes crema Mexicana, which is similar to crème fraîche, crema Centroamericana, which is a bit thicker and sweeter than crema Mexicana, crema media, which is like whipping cream, crema Mexicana agria, which is thicker and more acidic than crema Mexicana and often used for savory dishes, and crema Salvadoreña, which is thick like sour cream.  Where to find:  Mexican grocery stores Substitutes: crème fraîche (not as sweet or creamy) OR sour cream (more likely to curdle when cooked in a sauce)

Better? :rolleyes:

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I love crema. The brand I buy lists a number of ingredients, if I remember correctly, including both cream and milk as well as salt. I love it as a condiment with fish (mixed with mayo and lime juice, esp. great on fish tacos) and as an enrichment for any sort of spicy soup or bean dish.

Here in Nashville, I can buy crema at any grocery store. If your town doesn't have much of a Hispanic population, you may need to look for a Mexican grocery store or international market type store.

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There is Crema Mexicana Agria, a sour cream, and Crema Mexicana, which is a sweet cream, I think the crema Bobby Flay used is the latter, what is simply called "Table Cream" usually identified as Grade A.

It is actually a "triple" cream, much heavier than "heavy" cream and is a sweet cream.

When you dip into it with a spoon and lift the spoon, the crema stays slightly mounded on the spoon, unlike regular heavy cream which is more liquid.

I buy it at the Mexican market here in town, they have, as Gifted Gourmet stated, several varieties of sour cream, including the newest, with Poblana in the name. The names are in Spanish with an English sub-title.

The most popular Mexican dairy in So. Calif. is Cacique but there are four dairies competeting and they keep adding products to stimulate sales. http://www.caciqueusa.com/products_cremas.htm

They even have a buttermilk, which is nothing at all like regular buttermilk, but is similar to a kefir but even thicker.

I have noted that the Grade A Table Cream keeps much longer than regular cream and it is not "Ultra-Pasturized" so it is great for making fresh cheese. The ultra-pasturized cream will not set a firm curd so is useless for making cheese.

This is probably more than you wanted to know, but I hope it has answered your question.

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It is so popular here in Texas that some of the large grocery chains even put out their own "generic" in-store brand version.

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I love useing crema mexicana in my cooking! It is quite a versatile product. I have used it to smooth out the fire of chipotle chiles in a baked fideo pasta dish and to add a counter-point tartness to my mexican cinnamon shortcakes dessert.

Cicique is a decent enough store-bought item, but if you see a brand named Lo Mexicana it is a

better product with a more pronounced "tang".

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I love useing crema mexicana in my cooking! It is quite a versatile product. I have used it to smooth out the fire of chipotle chiles in a baked fideo pasta dish and to add a counter-point tartness better product with a more pronounced "tang".

You mean the Crema Mexicana "Agria" ?

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You mean the Crema Mexicana "Agria" ?

I sort of think that's what I've been getting, too, although it's not labeled as such AFAIK.

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You mean the Crema Mexicana "Agria"  ?

I have used both the regular crema and the agria variety and have determined that the regular crema is a better product to use for most of my cooking...when doing deserts, I sometimes fold in a dash of mexican vanilla.

I sort of think that's what I've been getting, too, although it's not labeled as such AFAIK.

Usually the crema agia is plainly labeled. You probably useing regular style crema.....I think the differences between the commercial varieties is so subtle that it really doesn't matter that much. :smile:

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If anyone in San Fran is looking for a large grocery store with an extensive selection of Latin dairy products (and plenty of cactus paddles, banana leaves, etc.) try Food Co. in Mission. Lots of smaller stores have stuff like crema Mexicana but Food Co. is cheap compared w/ Safeway and has as big a range of products. You can do a whole shop there.

Ingrid


Edited by ingridsf (log)

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Make your own!!! Mix in an equal quantity of heavy cream and sour cream, add salt to taste, cover the bowl and let sit overnight at room temp.

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Make your own!!!  Mix in an equal quantity of heavy cream and sour cream, add salt to taste, cover the bowl and let sit overnight at room temp.

That would give you creme fraiche, which is very good also; but authentic crema mexicana is a different flavor complexity.

If I have the time to make my own:

2 Tbsp. Buttermilk.

1/2 pint Heavy Cream.

Mix the ingredients together in a clean jar and cover. Place in a warm spot for about 5 hours.

Afterwards place jar in the refrigerator overnight to thicken.

As a side note, the quality of the crema might depend on the quality of your ingredients. The higher quality the better the results.

Bien provecho.


Edited by chefsteban (log)

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The versions I just saw the other day in my supermarket -- Mexican, Salvadorean, Guatamalan -- all listed the same ingredients: cream (I presume heavy), sour cream, cream cheese, salt, and maybe some other stuff. I didn't get any, so I don't know what each tastes/feels like. And I wonder if they're all the same, just labelled differently for each group?

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I just bought some Crema Mexicana yesterday. It was, to my surprise, bitter... I haven't tried this before and wonder, is it supposed to be like that? It is several days past the pull-date - does this stuff turn bitter when it goes off, rather than just rot or sour. Other than the bitterness it doesn't seem bad.... Has anyone here actually had their cream go bitter?

-- phage

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I just bought some Crema Mexicana yesterday. It was, to my surprise, bitter... I haven't tried this before and wonder, is it supposed to be like that? It is several days past the pull-date - does this stuff turn bitter when it goes off, rather than just rot or sour. Other than the bitterness it doesn't seem bad.... Has anyone here actually had their cream go bitter?

-- phage

I have not experienced bitter crema and I usually have a jar of it in the fridge. The 2 most common brands in my area are Cacique and El Mexicano. I prefer Cacique, but I've never had bitter product from either of these two companies. My experience has been that commercial crema has a very long shelf life and is good for weeks after the "use by" date. Most of the crema I've purchased has ranged from sweet to somewhat sour like a mild sour cream.

When in doubt, throw it out...or in this case try and return it.

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The most popular Mexican dairy in So. Calif. is Cacique but there are four dairies competeting and they keep adding products to stimulate sales. http://www.caciqueusa.com/products_cremas.htm

They even have a buttermilk, which is nothing at all like regular buttermilk, but is similar to a kefir but even thicker.

This is probably more than you wanted to know, but I hope it has answered your question.

Cacique is one of the big brands here along with El Mexicano and Ole' is another one but I've never seen the buttermilk. Do you mean jocoque? That isn't listed on the Cacique site as one of their products. I've wanted to get that for a recipe for buttermilk enchiladas I came across.

Also, re the other ones listed in this thread; I don't think I've ever seen the Crema Guatemala but have seen Crema Hondurena.

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In his recent book, "Fiesta at Rick's," in his recipe for Pollo a la Crema, Rick Bayless states:

Many of the commercially made cremas available in Mexican grocery stores are more like mild sour cream (though they're a little less curdy) than Mexican crema, which is rich and velvety.

I'm trying to figure out what he means by this: the Cacique Crema Mexicana I have in the fridge is quite a bit thinner than sour cream, and is much less acidic. It is possible that it might be described both as "rich and velvety" and a "mild, less-curdy sour cream." So, umm... what is Bayless trying to get at here?

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Chris, you've got the right stuff. The next time you're in a Mexican or Latin market read the labels on all the crema products. You'll find that the majority of them state (usually in small print) somewhere on the lable that they are "sour cream or acidic sour cream" products. The Cacique Crema Mexicana is the only product I've found that does not and it is thinner and a little less acidic than the other ones. I usually have a jar of it in the fridge for general purposes.

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Another thing you'll notice if you read the ingredient labels of most cremas sold in Mexican markets in the US is the amazing array of stabilizers, emulsifiers, thickeners, preservatives, etc. I've think I have tried all the commonly available brands here in northern California and I'm always underwhelmed. I now much prefer using Bellwether Farms crème fraîche, I think it is actually closer to the crema I've had in México. It contains nothing but pasteurized cream, cultures & salt. And it tastes so good!

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