On a previous post someone posted Duffs French Buttercream recipe. It is also on the food network site since he demo'd it on a cake challenge. I was just about to make it but wonder if it could have the potential to make people sick since the eggs are never cooked. On the show, Duff said the sugar cooks the eggs. Is that true? Here's the recipe
Recipe courtesy Duff Goldman, Charm City Cakes, Baltimore Maryland
10 egg whites
15 Oz. granulated sugar
2 1/2 pounds of room temperature butter
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 min
Yield: Roughly four pounds of buttercream (enough to ice a 3-tier cake)
5 qt. mixer w/ bowl and whip attachment
1) Start whipping egg whites slowly in the mixer by themselves (no sugar or butter yet) until the whites are foamy. Make sure to have a completely clean and dry bowl when you start your process, any fat or liquid at all in the bowl will stunt the protein development of the albumen (egg white protein) and you will not have a proper meringue at the end, the results could be disastrous.
2) Increase the speed of the mixer and slowly start adding the sugar until all the sugar is incorporated.
3) Once all the sugar is in, increase the speed of the mixer even further and whip until the mixture is shiny and stiff. You now have a meringue. You know when your meringue is done when you pull out the whip, hold it horizontal, and if you have what looks a sparrows beak on the end of the whip.
4) Replace the whip, turn the mixer on medium and start adding the butter a bit at a time, once all the butter is incorporated, turn the mixer on high and leave it for a while. Depending on the weather, the buttercream could take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to form. You will know when it has formed when you hear the motor of the mixer starts to slow down and whine a little bit, also, when you first add the butter, your meringue will break down and look nasty, this is good and is what you want. When the buttercream is done, the mixture will be homogeneous and consistentand tasty.
5) Remove the buttercream from the bowl and place in an airtight container. Buttercream can be kept at room temperature for a few days or in the fridge for a week or two, but always use warm buttercream when icing a cake. To warm up the buttercream, put it back in the mixer using the whip or the paddle, and apply direct heat with a propane torch you can find at any hardware store
The sugar does not "cook" the eggs, it merely stabilizes them. However, I use raw egg whites in MANY applications, both professionally and personally: Royal icing, sugared/candied fruit and flowers, fresh caesar salad dressing... the list goes on. While the "official" stance is that raw egg whites are unsafe, actual salmonella contamination from the white is VERY rare and raw whites are used widely throughout the culinary community. Basically it comes down to what your health department will allow, and also what you are comfortable with. You can also use pasteurized shell eggs or pasteurized carton egg whites.
While this is my first time seeing Duff's recipe, I used to make my buttercream with egg whites for 13 years and never once did anyone get sick. I did, however, refrigerate it constantly and used good food handling so that was a factor.
I think what happened with the recipe you posted (and if you cut an pasted, then Duff is pulling a fast one) is that nowhere do is state that you're to dissolve the sugar in water and make a simple syrup. In a classic French Buttercream a simple syrup is slowly added to whipping egg whites and that's what "cooks" the whites. I didn't read that so I don't know if he purposely omits it or what.
Sugar is a preservative, which can prevent spoiling. But the problem with raw eggs is not spoiling, it's salmonella. Cold does not kill salmonella either.
The US Food & Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise against eating any raw egg in any form. Both groups want you to cook eggs completely and thoroughly. This means no Hollandaise, no Béarnaise, no chocolate mousse, no Caesar Salad dressing, no Baked Alaska, no homemade eggnog, etc., etc.
That said, the risk of salmonella poisoning from eggs is quite rare. Do with that information what you will. I might take the chance in my own home. But you have to consider other things when deciding how that applies to cooking for other people.
And that recipe is not French butter cream. French butter cream is made by whipping sugar syrup into egg YOLKs, not whipping whites then adding sugar.
Actually what you describe is an Italian buttercream, and it's not simple syrup, but rather sugar, cooked to soft-ball stage (huge difference) which is added to the whipping whites. An actual French buttercream is where soft-ball sugar is added to whipping whole eggs and/or yolks (pate a bomb), and is VERY rich (I can post a recipe if anyone cares to try). What duff is doing is using a french meringue and turning it into a buttercream, but it is not, bu definition, a french buttercream. Duff's recipe is closest to a swiss buttercream, except that in a swiss buttercream, the meringue is heated.
I said sugar syrup (not simple syrup) in yolks, which is, in fact, a french butter cream, not Italian, pink. Italian is made, as you said, with whites, not yolks.
My bad, a true french buttercream doesn't have egg whites, it has egg yolk.
I don't think it's cooked to a soft ball stage, because it would harden slightly when it comes in contact with the cooler ingredients. It definitely is a syrup.
My bad, pink. I didn't see Tita's second post and thought you were replying to me.
I stand corrected. In an Italian meringue you are supposed to boil until 240 degrees and that is a softball stage.
My response came after Pink's. LOL!
haha! Then maybe Pink was responding to me. I give up.
Either way, Duff's recipe is wrong! LOL!
Yup, I was responding to Tita, not you artscallion (it appears we answered her simultaneously)... no worries, either way, between us, I think we got the correct info out there.