I want to make the peanut butter version. I have made SwIss Meringue before but it didn't call for cream of tartar. Also does the butter have to be unsalted or will salted butter work?
4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar. Continue whisking until the mixture becomes too hot to touch comfortably, 7 to 10 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on, medium-high speed until the egg whites hold a stiff peak, about 8 minutes. Add the-butter, one or two pieces at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla. Use at room temperature.
To Make Brown Sugar Buttercream
Follow the instructions for Swiss Meringue Buttercream, substituting 1 cup packed dark brown sugar for the granulated sugar.
To Make Peanut Butter Buttercream
Follow the instructions for Brown Sugar Buttercream, adding 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter along with the vanilla.
To Make Honey Buttercream
Follow the instructions for Swiss Meringue Buttercream, substituting 3/4 cup honey for 3/4 cup of the sugar.
To Make Coconut Buttercream
Follow the instructions for Swiss Meringue Buttercream and add either 1/2 cup sweetened canned coconut cream (such as Coco Lopez), or 3 ounces pure creamed coconut, a dense, highly flavored brick of coconut fat, sometimes found in the international sections of supermarkets. Do not confuse pure creamed coconut with the liquid coconut cream that comes in a can.
To Make Lemon, Lime, or Orange Buttercream
Follow instructions for Swiss Meringue Buttercream and add 3 tablespoons of either lemon juice, lime juice, or Grand Marnier (for the orange version). Then grate and add the zest of either one lemon, two limes, or one orange. If you don't want to add the zest, substitute either 2 drops of lemon oil, lime oil, or orange oil (available at specialty baking stores). Stir to combine.
I have made SwIss Meringue before but it didn't call for cream of tartar. Also does the butter have to be unsalted or will salted butter work?
Do I really need the cream of tartar and what does it do. The only time I have used it is when I am making Snickerdoodles.
Sorry, can't help with the cream of tartar for an icing recipe. (In baked goods I would find another leavener to substitute.)
For baking, I buy whatever butter is on sale and then bake with what is in my fridge. I have occasionally done this with icing recipes, too, with no discernible taste difference. For the recipe above, you can reduce the amount of salt and then use salted butter.
Cream of tartar stabilizes your whites. Without it, humidity or a little fat could affect the volume. This is just my observation, but with a heavy duty mixer such as a Pro6, it will whip the whites to stiff peaks no matter what. But on smaller mixers, I would be careful.
Personally, I always use cream of tartar.
As for the butter, my issue with salted is that it has a stronger butter taste, so people who complain that buttercream tastes too much like butter will really have an issue with more butter taste.
Because you are using peanut butter, that dominant taste will cover any trace of butter flavor. In the future, just be aware that the taste will come through on flavors that are light such as vanilla or lemon