Naty Posted 23 Aug 2005 , 3:07pm
post #1 of

I have been looking at several Merengue Buttercream recipes from several professional cake decorators such as Colette Peters, Dede Wilson, Toba Garett, etc. and they all boil their sugar syrop to different temperatures, the range I've seen is from 238 to 250 degrees. I'm assuming the "safest" is 250?
Has anyone done any of these and any comments. I'll be serving kids so I really want something that is "safe" for them.

Thank you,
Naty

24 replies
ntertayneme Posted 23 Aug 2005 , 3:12pm
post #2 of

IMHO, I would think heating it to 250 degrees in temperature would be safe ...

itsacake Posted 23 Aug 2005 , 3:58pm
post #3 of

I read somewhere that the eggs don't really always cook properly even with the hot syrup, so I use the Mousseline Buttercream from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cake Bible which only uses egg whites-- and I use dried whites so there is no safety issue.

Here is a link to one version of the recipe. I use hi-ratio shortening or Crisco rather than butter, but you can use any combination.

http://www.baking911.com/recipes/cakes/btrcrm_mousseline.htm

Naty Posted 23 Aug 2005 , 3:58pm
post #4 of

ntertayneme,
Thank you!! I have also heard of pasteurized egg whites or powdered egg whites. Are these sold in the supermaket or do they have to be mail ordered?
Thanks, Naty

Naty Posted 23 Aug 2005 , 3:59pm
post #5 of

ntertayneme,
Thank you!! I have also heard of pasteurized egg whites or powdered egg whites. Are these sold in the supermaket or do they have to be mail ordered?
Thanks, Naty

Naty Posted 23 Aug 2005 , 4:43pm
post #6 of

Thank you itsacake for you reply. Where do I buy dried egg whites? I have merengue powder. Can I use that?

Thanks, Naty

ntertayneme Posted 23 Aug 2005 , 4:44pm
post #7 of

Meringue powder is dried egg whites.. I think that would work.

Niki027 Posted 23 Aug 2005 , 5:04pm
post #8 of

At 250 you would be going to the hard ball stage, which is not what you want for most recipes. The firm ball starts at 245 degrees. So it is imperitive you have an accurate thermometer, and finding that is a science within itself. The soft ball stage is 235° F240°, which is what most call for. Going higher or lower will not give you the proper results.

Italian Merignue will not get hot enough to kill the bacteria. Swiss will, but it is not as stable.
Using any substitute will not give you the same results.
Other recipes are not as stable, and some can not be left out as long, or at all. I think the Mousseline can only be left out for 6 hours.

katiecake Posted 23 Aug 2005 , 5:14pm
post #9 of

just wondering how drying egg whites makes them safe- salmonella is very tough?
if you made smaller batches with less mass would that make a difference, that way the heat would get to all the whites

bubblezmom Posted 23 Aug 2005 , 6:31pm

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Egg_&_Egg_Product_Safety/index.asp

8. Use Safe Egg Recipes
Egg mixtures are safe if they reach 160°F, so homemade ice cream and eggnog can be made safely from a cooked base. Heat the egg-milk mixture gently. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature or use a metal spoon (the mixture should coat the spoon). If in-shell pasteurized eggs are available, they can be used safely in recipes that wont be cooked.

Dry meringue shells are safe. So are divinity candy and 7-minute frosting, made by combining hot sugar syrup with beaten egg whites.

Naty Posted 23 Aug 2005 , 6:43pm

Niki027, Thank you!!!! I want to use something that is safe for kids so what you suggested of the Mousseline BC sounds perfect........6 hours is more than enough time, the cake will only be out about 1 - 2 hours before it is eaten.

I actually have the Cake Bible, but I haven never made any of the recipes.....been too intimidated I guess.

Her Mousseline calls for 5 large egg whites. In case I wanted to do it with the Merengue Powder (Wilton) instead (too be safer), how much merengue powder and water do I use to substitute for the egg whites?

Thanks, Naty

Niki027 Posted 23 Aug 2005 , 6:43pm

I found it for you (:

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-4904-italian.html

SquirrellyCakes wrote:

Quote:
Quote:

Apparently, I was correct in my assumption that much of the heat from the hot syrup is dissipated in the bowl and does not truly bring the temperature of the eggs to 160F which is the temperature they need to reach to kill off the salmonella.


Niki027 Posted 23 Aug 2005 , 6:45pm

Using egg subs and powders will give the buttercream an awful taste. You have to use real, fresh eggs or sacrifice a lot of quality.

Also be aware that these types of frostings to not take color well.

Hope that helps!

itsacake Posted 23 Aug 2005 , 7:00pm

I haven't been doing this as long as some of you, so I'm going by what "The Cake Bible" says in terms of the Mousseline Buttercream. Rose Levy Beranbaum has a master's degree in food science, so I pretty much trust her not to poison me. She says this will keep two days at room temperature".

The recipe for Mousseline buttercream in this book says the syrup should be between 248 and 250 degrees. The adaptation on baking911 says the same thing--not surprising since it is credited to The Cake BIble.

Just the same, I don't want to use raw egg whites. I haven't had any trouble using dried egg whites which are not the same as meringue powder, but are simiolar enough that you can use them interchangably most of the time. The difference is that meringue powder has some sugar and maybe cornstarch in it. I don't have any around, so I'm not sure what is added, I just know some things are. The dried whites are just . It contains only pasteurized dried egg whites. It doesn't dissovle really well, but once it has, it works great. I think powdered whites are the same thing as dried--just different names.

I buy my egg whites at Whole Foods Markets. It is a natural foods supermarket. I have seen them at Trader Joe's. I haven't actually checked at the regular supermarket. (I never thought to look) If your grocery store doesn't have them, I'd say check health food stores.

Pasteurized eggs in the shell are available at at least one supermarket here here but the whites do not whip well. I've tried it a couple of times and decided the dried ones are less expensive, easier to keep around, and yield better results--at least for me.

While it is true that substituting any ingredient for another will not always yield the exact same results, some of us have various constraints we have to, or want to, work with, so we do the best we can. As obsessive as I am, I have to be willing to be a little flexible and strive for the best tasting results I can possibly get.

SquirrellyCakes Posted 23 Aug 2005 , 7:18pm

Heehee, well I have been baking for 41 years. In the old days, we used raw egg whites in our Royal Icing and such and nobody ever got sick. Less than 1% of eggs pose any risk for salmonella poisioning, but that is enough of a risk to avoid using eggs when they are not cooked to a safe temperature to insure that there is no risk. Heating taking the place of pasteurization. But heating your eggs is one thing, applying hot syrup to them and expecting it to do the same thing, is another due to the fact the heat dissipates elsewhere.
I find it all quite interesting that folks are raving about a fairly famous decorator's recipe for gumpaste when it uses raw egg whites. I have seen the recipe many times and there is no mention of using pasteurized eggs, strictly, egg whites. Personally I wouldn't use the recipe at all.
I think that many folks assume that decorators are also food safety experts. Anyone can write a cookbook or decorating book or come up with a recipe, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are knowledgable about food safety practices, even those few that have degrees in food sciences. Knowledge is changing all of the time as new information comes to light.
With regards to eggs, if the egg itself is cooked in a recipe and reaches the temperature of 160F, it is salmonella safe.
Just an additional note, wash your eggs and wash your hands, whenever you are handling eggs. Much of the bacteria can be on the actual eggshell itself in addition to inside the egg.
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

Niki027 Posted 23 Aug 2005 , 7:21pm

If the recipe says cook it to 250 degrees, then do just that. icon_biggrin.gif

I was saying that if a recipe said to bring it up to 238, it wouldn't be a good idea to bring it up to 250, because that would probably give you different results.

From my experience and from what I've heard others say, that using and substitute for the eggs gives such an unusual flavor you're better off just using basic buttercream. If it works for you that's great, but for me I just don't like using substitutes. You can't beat organic, free range eggs. It's just not the same.

MariaLovesCakes Posted 23 Aug 2005 , 7:29pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naty

I have been looking at several Merengue Buttercream recipes from several professional cake decorators such as Colette Peters, Dede Wilson, Toba Garett, etc. and they all boil their sugar syrop to different temperatures, the range I've seen is from 238 to 250 degrees. I'm assuming the "safest" is 250?
Has anyone done any of these and any comments. I'll be serving kids so I really want something that is "safe" for them.

Thank you,
Naty




I heat to 250. We ate the cake, and actually one person that ate my cake with this icing has a verys sensitive stomach, and she was okay. So, the kids will be fine.

itsacake Posted 23 Aug 2005 , 7:55pm

Squirrelly Cakes,

I too remember the days when no one worried about raw egg whties. We made the most amazing mousses in those days!

Maybe you know this-- I've been wondeirng. I was under the impression that getting the sugar syrup to a specific temperature had to do with the consistency of the finished buttercream. I didn't think it had anything to do with the safety of the eggwhites. Do you know if this is the case?

It just occurred to me that for small batches of royal, made by hand for stirngwork, pastueurized egg whites might be adequate. Earlene did say that royal made with real raw egg white and stirred slowly with a fork instead of beaters is better for string work, but she also said that the lemon juice and the fact that it gets dry should be sufficient protection from salmonella. I'd still rather not chance it with regular raw egg white. What do you think?

By the way, I do use that famous decorator's gumpaste recipe. Guess what? I use dried egg whites. I do find the recipe a little dry and so I like to mix 2/3 of that recipe with 1/3 of Bakels Pettinice Gumpaste. Pettinice won't dry for anything, so the combination of the two works well for me. I would think that it might have something to do with the dried whites, but when an instructor I had made the recipe in class, she used eggs from the shell and I found it even dryer, so I don't think that's it.

Niki027 Posted 23 Aug 2005 , 8:07pm

That's exactly my point. If you bring the syrup to a higher or lower temp than the recipe says, you may or may not get good results. It has nothing to do with safety. (Even at 250, there still is a risk with Italian style frostings.)

My main concern is that everyone is going to do their frostings at 250 instead of 240, and wonder why their icing is hard as a rock. icon_lol.gif

itsacake Posted 23 Aug 2005 , 8:55pm

Niki027,

I have been doing 250 degrees for a year and my icing has been just fine. I've found over the last 40 years of cooking and baking that usually there is a some leeway in any recipe. Remember when these things were developed people didn't have all the fancy kitchenware we do today and they all managed.

Rose Levy Beranbaum does have 238 degrees as the temperature for Classic buttercream and calls that soft ball stage. She says 248 to 250 degrees for Mousseline and calls that firm ball. In the ingredients part of the book she says 250 to 266 is hard ball-- so she herself isn't consistent. !

I'd venture to say that even today our thermometers aren't perfectly exact, and there are always other factors, like altitude that can have an effect. Everyone needs to see what works for them and their equipment. Cooking and baking are, after all, more art than science--though chemistry and physics are certainly important components.

Naty Posted 23 Aug 2005 , 10:40pm

Sorry if I opened a can of worms icon_redface.gif , but I'm too new at Merengue BC and I didn't know where to start ...........I will certainly try it out as the recipe says (the 250 one to start) if I don't find pasteurized egg whites.

I have received so many replies that I can't thank each of you individually so, here is a BIG THANK YOU TO EACH OF YOU!!!!

You have been so helpful....thank you so much for all the information!!!! icon_biggrin.gif

Regards, Naty

SquirrellyCakes Posted 23 Aug 2005 , 10:48pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by itsacake

Squirrelly Cakes,

I too remember the days when no one worried about raw egg whties. We made the most amazing mousses in those days!

Maybe you know this-- I've been wondeirng. I was under the impression that getting the sugar syrup to a specific temperature had to do with the consistency of the finished buttercream. I didn't think it had anything to do with the safety of the eggwhites. Do you know if this is the case?

It just occurred to me that for small batches of royal, made by hand for stirngwork, pastueurized egg whites might be adequate. Earlene did say that royal made with real raw egg white and stirred slowly with a fork instead of beaters is better for string work, but she also said that the lemon juice and the fact that it gets dry should be sufficient protection from salmonella. I'd still rather not chance it with regular raw egg white. What do you think?

By the way, I do use that famous decorator's gumpaste recipe. Guess what? I use dried egg whites. I do find the recipe a little dry and so I like to mix 2/3 of that recipe with 1/3 of Bakels Pettinice Gumpaste. Pettinice won't dry for anything, so the combination of the two works well for me. I would think that it might have something to do with the dried whites, but when an instructor I had made the recipe in class, she used eggs from the shell and I found it even dryer, so I don't think that's it.



Haha, well first of all, the temperature of 160F is strictly the temperature that the egg itself must reach to kill off the salmonella bacteria, nothing to do at all with how the egg whites will or won't react when making these kinds of icings. And if the syrup is a gazillion degrees high, haha, it doesn't matter to the egg whites unless the egg whites reach 160F to kill off the salmonella and that was the point I was making. If you are pouring a small amount of really hot syrup gradually over egg whites, a lot of the heat is dissipated into the bowl itself and other ingredients and such so that it doesn't mean necessarily that the egg whites themselves will actually reach 160F. The only way to know that for sure is when they are cooked in a pot and the temperature of the mixture they are in reaches that temperature.
So that is one concern and that is what folks have been misinformed about.
Yes, the temperature of the sugar syrup and whether it is at soft ball stage or higher etc, really has to do with how the meringue will turn out, about how the syrup will be of a certain consistency that is compatible with the egg whites and will effect the right reaction and change and consistency. Very similar to candy making and such.
Well, everything I have read from egg producers and food safety experts appears to dispute Earlene's theory, at present time, but she is not alone in her beliefs. I greatly admire her and I find that she does normally give wonderful information, but in this case, I am not so sure she is correct.
I think you can experiment with the egg beaters, pasteurized egg white or dried eggs or meringue powder and I think that each product produces different results. I even find that egg whites themselves are not consistent at all. I find that every recipe whether it is Royal Icing or any of the meringue type icings, or even meringue topping for a pie, varies slightly every time you make it. I find of all of the things we work with, anything with egg whites is the least consistent. I find Royal Icing absolutely the worst thing for not being consistent, the weather has such a huge effect on it. I have my temperature fixed at 70F and I control the humidity in the house and still, if it has been really humid or raining or snowing outside for several days, I will have trouble with my egg white based icings.
My understanding of these other meringue icings is that as long as you reach a temperature of at least 230F you should obtain the correct consistency. I don't venture to say much more specific than that as all of the recipes vary somewhat and every other day there is yet another expert with yet another, "best meringue type icing" These recipes or variations of them have been around for many moons longer than any of us have been alive. There is nothing original about them, just slight variations on the same old theme.
Haha, I guess I am not one to be impressed by who is recommending which recipe or which book or which decorator a recipe comes from. I find that you can usually get excellent recipes from sources that you trust and I don't find that just because someone is an "in decorator" that they necessarily know what they are talking about.
Haha, Itsacake, I sort of figure you wouldn't be using the egg whites called for in that gumpaste recipe!
I would have to say that for my own home use, I have absolutely no qualms about using raw egg whites in things like these. But I would really be concerned with liability issues especially if I lived in the U.S., so I avoid sending anything like these recipes outside of the home unless the eggs are actually cooked. Better safe than sorry.
One last thing, your eggs should be at least 3-4 days old before you consider using the whites for meringues as anything before that and they are too fresh to get the volume and consistency you need.
Hugs Squirrely Cakes

SquirrellyCakes Posted 23 Aug 2005 , 11:28pm

Hhmn, after re-reading that, I just wanted to clarify that I would include Rose Levy in the trusted sources, didn't mean to imply otherwise, haha! I guess I feel that Pillsbury and Betty Crocker and Culinary Arts Institute and Better Homes and such, have been around along time and have tested recipes and home economists and chefs and such researching their books.
I find that every other day someone puts out yet another cookbook, like, I don't know, Cupcakes - a million and one recipes and such. I think there is a lot of flash but not much substance.
You are quite right about tools being available and about them not being consistent, which is why the terms soft ball and hard ball and such were developed. Thermometers are not consistently accurate either, doesn't matter what type they are.
Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

MariaLovesCakes Posted 24 Aug 2005 , 2:37pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Niki027

That's exactly my point. If you bring the syrup to a higher or lower temp than the recipe says, you may or may not get good results. It has nothing to do with safety. (Even at 250, there still is a risk with Italian style frostings.)

My main concern is that everyone is going to do their frostings at 250 instead of 240, and wonder why their icing is hard as a rock. icon_lol.gif




I will say that it is safe to follow the recipe that you have been given. I always follow it to what it calls for. It is says 238, then I heat the syrup to 238 and it says 240 or 250 then I do that. The recipe as given has been tested at that temp and you will get the right results at those specified specs.

Oh, and I use pasteurized eggs and the taste of the icing is superb. It was really good. Pasteurized eggs are said to be safer because of the process they have been put through. So, its up to you.

Try them all and see what you like best!! icon_smile.gif

Naty Posted 24 Aug 2005 , 11:16pm

Maria and all,

Thank you again for the information!!!

Regards, Naty

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