1. Italian for "cream." A dish served "alla crema" is with a cream sauce; crema caramella [kah-rah-MEH-lah] is a dessert; crema inglese [een-GLEH-she] is a creamy dessert sauce; crema pasticceria[pah-stee-cheh-REE-ah] is pastry cream. 2. The word crema is also used to describe the creamy buff-colored froth on the surface of an espresso. 3. In Mexican cookery, crema is akin to crème fraîche, although somewhat thinner in consistency. It's typically used as a garnish drizzled over enchiladas, burritos and other such dishes.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.