Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sloppy curdled mess makes amazing frosting

I think I’m just making American Buttercream wrong. I just don’t like it. Maybe it’s the recipe I use. Probably. But when making Bronwyn’s birthday cake I wanted to try a different type of buttercream. Off to the internet to learn all about different buttercreams and how to make them. Who knew there were SO many kinds?
I settled on Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It seemed doable and not overly complicated.
Cooking the egg whites and sugar did not take long, whipping the egg whites until they weren't hot anymore? Took forever. I think my mixer motor was just as hot as those egg whites!
It was a warm day when I made it – and my butter might have been a touch on the soft side. After mixing for what seemed like forever – it was a giant sloppy mess. I stuck it in the fridge for 15 minutes praying it would come out OK.
Mixed it more – curdled! Yuck! The recipe says if it curdles, keep going – oh my poor mixer! I just kept going and magically I turned around – amazingly smooth buttercream! Wow! It was so pretty!
So word to the wise – don’t be afraid to screw this one up. It’s forgiving – you just have to have the patience for the forgiving parts.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Yield: ~ 10 cups of buttercream
10 large, fresh egg whites (300 g)
2-1/2 cups (500 g) sugar
3 cups (680 g) unsalted butter, cut into cubes and cool, but not cold
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (20 ml) pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140°F, or if you don't have a candy thermometer until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes or so). *Don't begin adding butter until the bottom of the bowl feels neutral, and not warm.
Switch over to the paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). *If the mixture is too runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes and continue mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.
Add additional flavours, purees, as desired.

*Keep in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week, leaving out at room temperature when needed, rewhipping in mixer for 5 minutes.
**Can freeze for up to 6-8 weeks. To thaw, place on counter overnight, and rewhip for 5 minutes with paddle attachment in an electric mixer.
***If buttercream still doesn't have its satiny finish after rewhipping, microwave 1/3 of the buttercream for approximately 10 seconds and add to remaining buttercream in mixer bowl, beating for a few moments to incorporate.

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