Tag Archives: Subsitutes in Italy

Homemade Sour Cream

Sour Cream used a lot in many American foods can be hard to find here in Italy.  The Italian name is Panna Acida. I have found it in the COOP grocery store in Firenze, but recently they changed the brand and I really do not like the texture and taste. So now, I have decided to try to make it. I make my own sourdough starter, so this should not be hard.  Right? It is not hard at all just follow the recipe below. Soon you too will have Sour Cream to use in your favorite recipes.

Now many recipes will call for buttermilk and heavy cream. This seems to be the ingredients used for Crème Fraiche.  That is not what I am trying to make here. You can do the same technique with my recipe, adding 1 cup buttermilk to 2 cups cream, and get Crème Fraiche if that is what you are looking to make.

It is simple get a liter size sterile mason jar. The jars need to be sterile because you only want to grow the bacteria needed for making sour cream.  You can sterilize it in your dishwasher hot cycle or boil water and put the jar and lid in the boiling water for 10 minutes.  Look at this video if you are going to use the boil water method.

Video for sterilizing jars

Next, get your ingredients:

  • Sour cream from store (if you cannot find sour cream then lemon for juicing)
  • Whipping Cream in the refrigerated section (panna fresca) ** do not get anything with UHT it will not work.

That is it. Take 2 cups whipping Cream in to the jar, and then add 4 tsp of lemon juice or 1/2 cup of sour cream.  Stir the mixture well and cover with paper towel or cheesecloth secure with rubber band. Place on your counter and let it sit for 24 hours. This time changes if the temperature in the house is too cold or too hot.

You can check on it and give it a stir.  You will see that it will start to thicken.  I also give it a taste and see how sour it tastes. If you want it, sourer you can add a little more lemon.  You can even add a little Total Brand full fat Greek yogurt, which is, what I did and it gave me the right taste I was looking to get.  When you decide it is the texture and taste you like just place in the refrigerator and use.  It lasts 2 weeks.

ENJOY!!!

How to Make Vanilla Extract

Look at that lovely color

Look at that lovely color

I love to bake and one thing I need a lot of is Vanilla Extract.  Here you can find vanilla in tiny glass vials but it is just not the same as home.  The powder sugar and baking powder can also have some added vanilla but it is just not like what I was used to using.  So I decided to make my own vanilla extract.  It is so easy and simple I should have done it when I was living at home in the US.

You need 200 ml or so jar, for that size 5 vanilla beans, and alcohol (I used vodka).  Take the beans cut to fit the jar and slice open. Place in the jar.  Then add the alcohol.  Shake well and store in a cool dark place.  Every week for a month shake the jar to mix.  Then after about 2 months you will smell the lovely aroma of vanilla.  You can start using at this point but the longer it sits the better.  You just keep filling the jar with bean pods (left over from using the seeds) and vodka to top off.  You do not have to remove the old beans until it is so filled with pods.  Very easy and the taste of real vanilla extract.

My next to make and see how well it works is vanilla paste.  I am going to try this recipe.

Homemade Vanilla Paste : by http://dessertswithbenefits.com