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Mexican crema


jkgourmet

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I bought what I thought was regular Mexican crema, but when I opened it, I quickly realized I had purchased something somewhat different. This is marked "crema selecta" and is slightly yellowish, very thick (you can't pour it at all) and tastes a bit like sweet butter.

I can't use this stuff like crema - but is there anything else this is good for before I pitch it? Note: I don't bake.

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I bought what I thought was regular Mexican crema, but when I opened it, I quickly realized I had purchased something somewhat different. This is marked "crema selecta" and is slightly yellowish, very thick (you can't pour it at all) and tastes a bit like sweet butter.

I can't use this stuff like crema - but is there anything else this is good for before I pitch it? Note: I don't bake.

Do you use sour cream? You could try adding lime/vinegar and see if it is sour creamy after it sits overnight. Or you could use it to make creamy coleslaw or cukes with vinegar.

Also, google "Mexican crema" since there is a ton of info on the web.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/589825

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Guest RevImmigrant

Thank you, Jeanette, for mentioning this. I didn't realize you could get it here. That sounds like that thick cream you can still get in Germany and Poland. We used to be able to get it in the US when I was a small child. You can spread it on bread (preferably homemade white bread) and put a little sugar on top and eat it. It's really good that way. It's a Norwegian treat for kids.

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Thank you, Jeanette, for mentioning this. I didn't realize you could get it here. That sounds like that thick cream you can still get in Germany and Poland. We used to be able to get it in the US when I was a small child. You can spread it on bread (preferably homemade white bread) and put a little sugar on top and eat it. It's really good that way. It's a Norwegian treat for kids.

That's would make sense, from the flavor of it. It would be nice on bread - lighter than butter, but sweet and creamy. If I were a bread fan, this stuff might be lovely. I might have to try it on an English muffin tomorrow - I rather dislike the butter down here.

It has the same 'mouth feel' and consistency as the Devon cream I would get in England with scones - but far more of a buttery taste.

For those interested, it WAS cheap. At walmart. Two sizes (at least) - located in the sane area as the regular Mexican crema, but on the upper shelves. At least, that's where it was today. Tomorrow - who knows where they will put it.

I don't think it could be turned into a sour cream - the buttery flavor is too distinct, at least to me. And it would never get that snow white color of sour cream or Mexican crema.

Maybe Christina (More Liana) will pop in and can expand on this a bit.

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Lurpak is indeed excellent butter, but the cost (for us) is crazy. When it cost 17 pesos per 200 grams (under 1/2 pound), I bought it. Now that it is around 40 pesos for 200 grams, forget it.

HOWEVER: good ol' Costco sells Kirkland unsalted butter, imported from the USA. The price is right: about 110 pesos for two pounds (just under a kilo, or about 1/4 the price of Lurpak). My wife and I believe that it is Land o'Lakes butter sold as Kirkland--it's that good. We keep several pounds in the freezer.

Jeanette, re the crema: what you want to buy is crema de mesa. Crema selecta is as you said, too thick to use for normal Mexican uses. And crema agria (sour cream) is, to my taste, too sour for regular use. I personally prefer to buy crema at the tianguis, from the Ocotlán cheese vendors near the bottom of the market. It's from the rancho, is very slightly thicker than commercially-packaged crema and has a fresher taste.

On Saturday my wife went to the supermarket nearest us (it's about 1/4 the size of SuperLake) intending to buy Lyncott cottage cheese. Oops, she came home with a same-size, same color carton of crema. Wonder what I will do with it: it's wonderful drizzled on anything, of course. Maybe we will get some tamales from the street vendor on our corner and use it on those, with some salsa muy picante.

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Thanks, Christina. Now that I already have it, is there anything I can do with this crema selecta?

I would use it much as you might use doblecrema--Mexican cream cheese.

For example, you can turn it into either a savory or a sweet spread. For savory, add minced herbs: try cilantro, fresh parsley, even epazote. Add a little sal de grano (sea salt). Or chop some olives, either green or black, into it.

For sweet, stir strawberry (or your favorite flavor--I like orange best) marmalade into the crema. Use it as a spread on toast, fill crepes with it, etc.

Use either the savory or the sweet to stuff cannellonis, or spread it on crackers as an hors d'oeuvre. Fill an omelet with it.

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Thanks, Christina. Now that I already have it, is there anything I can do with this crema selecta?

If it's what I think it is, I wouldn't use it like cream cheese. Did you get yours in an one-litre, unbranded container? Thick and off-white suggest that if you mix it with sugar and Nestle La Lechera (which is I think a kind of evaporated milk), you get a heavy sweet cream used for bionicos: cut up fruit covered in the stuff. Deelish.

It may even be the stuff my British girlfriend calls clotted cream?

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If it's what I think it is, I wouldn't use it like cream cheese. Did you get yours in an one-litre, unbranded container? Thick and off-white suggest that if you mix it with sugar and Nestle La Lechera (which is I think a kind of evaporated milk), you get a heavy sweet cream used for bionicos: cut up fruit covered in the stuff. Deelish.

It may even be the stuff my British girlfriend calls clotted cream?

British clotted cream, French creme fraiche, and regular Mexican crema de mesa are all the same thing. What Jeanette has is something different, HelperGuy.

La Lechera is not a kind of evaporated milk and as far as I know is not used for biónicos except in addition to crema de mesa which is sometimes sweetened with honey. La Lechera is sweetened condensed milk, just like Eagle Brand in the USA.

For evaporated milk, you want Clavel--aka Carnation.

Then there is Nestle's media crema, which is pasteurized, homogenized cow's milk, packaged in small cans or 8oz tetrapaks. It is not quite as thick as crema de mesa but not so thin as to be a liquid. Media crema does not need to be refrigerated until it is opened. It is used for drizzling over many foods: enchiladas, tamales, chilaquiles, etc--as a substitute for crema de mesa.

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British clotted cream, French creme fraiche, and regular Mexican crema de mesa are all the same thing. What Jeanette has is something different, HelperGuy.

La Lechera is not a kind of evaporated milk and as far as I know is not used for biónicos except in addition to crema de mesa which is sometimes sweetened with honey. La Lechera is sweetened condensed milk, just like Eagle Brand in the USA.

For evaporated milk, you want Clavel--aka Carnation.

Then there is Nestle's media crema, which is pasteurized, homogenized cow's milk, packaged in small cans or 8oz tetrapaks. It is not quite as thick as crema de mesa but not so thin as to be a liquid. Media crema does not need to be refrigerated until it is opened. It is used for drizzling over many foods: enchiladas, tamales, chilaquiles, etc--as a substitute for crema de mesa.

Whoa, thanks for the information... trying to absorb it now. I only took a guess at the La Lechera, but the gal in Melaque who makes the bionicos told me she used the heavy cream, the La Lechera, and sugar to make her bionicos (she has a big stand at the corner of the "food alley" downtown). Maybe she was trying to scare me off making them myself.

I said evaporated when I should have said condensed... I know nothing about these things, just trying to learn. Checking around reveals that condensed is simply sweetened evaporated milk.

So the crema I was thinking of is very thick, and pours slowly. When fresh, it's almost white; when mixed, it takes on a little bit of a darker look. Not yellow, not beige, somewhere in between.

So what does Jeanette have, exactly, can you describe? If it's not the off-white, very heavy, slow-pouring stuff?

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So what does Jeanette have, exactly, can you describe? If it's not the off-white, very heavy, slow-pouring stuff?

What Jeanette has is crema selecta, which may simply be a commercial designation of the manufacturer. However:

Cream is the fattest part of (in this case) cow's milk, the part that rises to the top when raw milk is allowed to sit undisturbed. If you are as old as I am, you might remember the milkman leaving glass bottles of milk at your back door; cream rose to the top of that milk and could be removed to make butter.

Okay, so Mexican cream is the same. Regular crema de mesa (table cream) is the part of raw cow's milk that has risen to the top of a vat of milk, is removed, and sold in the dairy case of your supermarket OR is sold in plastic cups at any popular market (at Lakeside, either in Chapala or Jocotepec) or tianguis. It may be made in a huge commercial milk processing plant like LaLa (on the way into GDL) or it may be made in a farmer's shed. It is also sold at any cremería--there is an excellent cremería in downtown Jocotepec as you are heading out to the road to GDL. I do not know of a cremería in Ajijic, but one of you may know one. A cremería will specialize in productos lácteos--milk products in general--as well as some odds and ends like cold soft drinks, chips, etc.

Crema de mesa is not coffee cream. It is more like sour cream than anything else, but it is NOT sour cream. It is raw cream that has been allowed to 'rest' for a day so that it becomes very, very lightly acidified. A little salt is added to it. It is sold as crema de mesa, crema del rancho, crema de la buena, crema especial, and several other names. It is supposed to be thicker than milk, thicker than half and half, and thicker than whipping cream (whipping cream has the highest butterfat content). It should be spoonably thick if refrigerated, somewhat thinner if you see it at room temperature. It should not be thin and runny.

If you haven't noticed already, pay attention to your cup of coffee: if you like it with cream, you will not find so-called coffee cream in Mexico. It is very rare to find half and half. I've seen it at SuperLake, and I have seen it infrequently at one or another Superama, but nowhere else. YMMV. If you ask your waiter for coffee cream, you will either get a powdered non-dairy coffee creamer, a small amount of milk, or a little pitcher of Clavel (Carnation evaporated milk). I personally prefer Clavel in my coffee; its body is most reminiscent of half and half.

Now, what in the world does Jeanette have? It is ordinary Mexican crema that has been allowed to 'rest' a little longer than usual, which means that it is a lot thicker than what you find in stores, markets, and tianguis as crema de mesa.

Some people have said to me, "Gosh, I asked you the name of a song and you told me how to build a radio!" But I hope this long post answers your questions.

Jeanette, if you are reading this, I would really like to know what brand cream you have so I can go take a look at it in my supermarket's dairy case. Thanks!

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It's called nata down here and we get it freshly made at our favorite panaderia. It's thick and yellowish, cream from fresh cows milk that you are talking about allowed to thicken more. It's great on fresh, hot bread.

Sour cream here is normally called crema entera or crema acidificada.

http://www.alpura.com/productos/cremas/crema-entera

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Whew. Thanks. I have a question, but I'm so busy building the radio...

This is all good information. Might I ask what, then, is something like Lala's "crema pura de vaca acidificada", that I use as a close substitute here to sour cream.

It's sour cream.

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It's called nata down here and we get it freshly made at our favorite panaderia. It's thick and yellowish, cream from fresh cows milk that you are talking about allowed to thicken more. It's great on fresh, hot bread.

Sour cream here is normally called crema entera or crema acidificada.

http://www.alpura.com/productos/cremas/crema-entera

Sour cream is also known as crema agria. Crema entera (whole cream) would say crema acidificada or crema agria on the label if it were something other than plain ol' crema de mesa.

Where is 'down here', Toltepeceno? Are you in Toluca? I'm in the DF.

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Jeanette, if you are reading this, I would really like to know what brand cream you have so I can go take a look at it in my supermarket's dairy case. Thanks!

Of course I'm reading this!

The brand name is Provencia. On the Walmart sticker, it shows the weight, price, etc - like the stickers used on meat. It was 50 pesos per kg, and on THAT sticker it reads "La Provencia Punto de VTA 3687". It is in a white container. It is definately NOT pourable, but it is spreadable.

There was a smaller container of the same stuff, like a Dannon Yogurt container, that was clear. Different brand name - LaLa maybe??? I noticed the yellowish color of this crema in THAT container, but ignored it.

So far, all I've done with this stuff was mix it into some eggs. I was making scrambled eggs. While it didn't blend too well in the cold eggs, it did melt / blend while the eggs were being tossed about in the pan. Turned out some super creamy, rich tasting scrambled eggs

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Guest RevImmigrant

More Liana, I'm glad I'm not the only one old enough to remember milk delivery to your home with a thick layer of cream on the top. In those days it was not homogenized milk, just pasteurized, and it was very good too!

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Ours came from Gurnsey cows, with a very high butterfat content. It was not only bright yellow at the top of the bottle, it had to be helped out with a table knife, it was so thick. In the winter, as the milk started to freeze and expand, on the doorstep before we brought it into the house, that cream would be standing tall above the bottle with the paper cap on top.

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Ours came with a foil cover over the cardboard cap. We played games with the caps. I used to watch my Mom struggle with the foil covers, trying to lift an edge with her long fingernails, until someone showed us how to grip the thing with your palm and twist it right off. This miracle of physics has only been matched by my (much later) discovery that your car dashboard always shows you which side your gas tank cover is on.

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Ours came with a foil cover over the cardboard cap. We played games with the caps. I used to watch my Mom struggle with the foil covers, trying to lift an edge with her long fingernails, until someone showed us how to grip the thing with your palm and twist it right off. This miracle of physics has only been matched by my (much later) discovery that your car dashboard always shows you which side your gas tank cover is on.

WHAT! Spill it, HelperGuy. I never heard (or noticed) that bit about the gas tank cover.

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Ours came with a foil cover over the cardboard cap. ................

I'm talking about the days before foil, before plastic, before TV! You know; when we were sent to play in the woods, rode horses, had sleighs for them to pull in the winter, gigged fish in the creeks, and hated reel lawnmowers when we procrastinated too long about mowing the grass. Parents even let us have .22 rifles to shoot at squirrils & rabbits. Yup ...... Old as dirt!

Now, about that gurnsey cream; We also didn't know about cholesterol, but I still remember that smooth sweet taste.

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WHAT! Spill it, HelperGuy. I never heard (or noticed) that bit about the gas tank cover.

Ah, I wondered if I could hook some fish, lol. I found out a couple of years back that on the dash display, the gauge that shows how much gas you have always shows a little gas tank icon. The side of that tank that shows a hose is the side of the car your tank cover is. Cool or what.

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Ah, I wondered if I could hook some fish, lol. I found out a couple of years back that on the dash display, the gauge that shows how much gas you have always shows a little gas tank icon. The side of that tank that shows a hose is the side of the car your tank cover is. Cool or what.

This fish thinks this is extremely cool. Mil gracias!

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