Here, though, cream cheese is far more expensive, so it feels like a real indulgence, but sometimes we just HAVE to have it, especially for Pesach!
A friend told me she buys sour cream and drains off the whey to make something that tastes like cream cheese. I was looking at the sour cream in the store, and there it was, right next to the cheaper "Gil" and "Eshel" leben packages. I've taken to using Gil anytime a recipe calls for sour cream, as it is cheaper AND lower in fat.
So, it was time to experiment!
I added a bit of salt to 2 containers of Gil, lined a strainer with a basket style coffee filter, placed it over a bowl to catch the whey that drains off, and filled the lined strainer with Gil. Then I covered it with cheesecloth so nothing would fall into it (like bugs) and let it drain. After about 1/2 -1 hour, I moved it to the fridge, and let it drain overnight.
|I pulled back the cheesecloth to show you what it looks like while draining|
By morning it was nice and thick and very much cream-cheese-like.
And SO much cheaper than those little containers of cream cheese that sell here for a fortune!
I also tried it out with sour cream. Same exact process, except that if it's not hot, I leave it to drain overnight outside the fridge, and then move it to the fridge for up to 24 hrs before transferring it to a container.
Over time, I've decided this works best with sour cream. I buy the 500g containers, for about 6 shekels. It's so easy and inexpensive! (look for a tub labeled "shamenet")
Let me know what you think!