Everyone that has tasted this buttercream, loves it. It has a light taste that is not too sweet. When icing, the iced cake can be refrigerated and will firm up like butter making it easier to get smooth and flat.
If frozen, I sit on the counter overnight to bring to room temperature then rewhip before using.
Vanilla Italian Meringue Buttercream
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/4 plus 1/3 cup sugar
- 8 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon cream of tarter
- 1 1/2 pounds (6 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Place the water and 1 1/4 cups sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir quickly to moisten all the sugar, but do not stir again during boiling because this encourages the formation of sugar crystals.
- As the mixture becomes hot, use a pastry brush dipped in cold water to brush any sugar crystals down from the sides of the pan. You may also cover the pan briefly at this point. Steam will develop and wash down the sides of the pan automatically.
- Meanwhile, place the egg whites in a clean, greasefree mixing bowl with the balloon whip attachment and beat the whites on low until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and turn the speed to medium-high. When soft peaks form, add the remaining 1/3 cup sugar gradually. Continue beating until stiff, but not dry, peaks form.
- Raise the heat under the sugar mixture and bring it to a rapid boil. It must cook for about 5 minuts to reach the desired termperature, between 248 and 250F. Try to have the syrup ready at the sme time as the meringue. If the meringue is ready first, reduce the speed so the whiltes move continuously, but slowly. If the syrup is done first, add a small quanitity of hot water, not cold water, to lower the temperature and continue cooking until the meringue catches up.
- When the syrup is ready, turn off the mixer briefly and quickly pour about 1/2 cup syrup onto the meringue. Immediately turn the mixer to high speed and continue to pour the syrup in a steady stream. Do not let the syrup get ontothe beaters. Alternately, turn of the mixer to add the syrup. Do not let the meringue sit motionless for longer than a few seconds.
- Whip the meringue unitl it cools, about 15 minutes, depending on the room temperature. When the bowl is no longer warm, stop the mixer and touch the surface of the meringue to be sure it is cool. Do not add the butter while the meringue is warm, or the butter will melt and ruin the texture and decrease the volume. Turn the mixer down to medium speed and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time. The butter immediately becomes incorporated and the mixture becomes creamy. Continue to whip the buttercream and add the remaining butter. Keep mixing until the mixture is evenly blended and smooth. If at any time the mixture looks lumpy or seperated, continue to beat until it smoothes out. Add vanilla. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.
- To reconstitue:
- Because of high butter content in this buttercream, it becomes very firm when chilled. Follow the same instructions for reconstituting the buttercream if you have frozen and thawed it overnight in the refrigerator.
- You may use one of three different methods, but in all cases, heat it wlowly so the butter does not melt. If it storage container is microwavable, place it in the microwave on very low power and heat it in 15-second spurts, checking for softness each time. It should be uniformly warmed to room termperature, but not melted. To use this tehnique, you must be familiar with your microwave and know how to control its temperature and defrosting times.
- Another technique is to place a quantity of cold buttercream in the stainless steel bowl of the mixer and place it over extremely low heat on top of the stove; use a flame tamer if possible. Hold the bowl with one hand and contantly stir chunks of buttercream, folding the pieces over each other so that no one piece is constantly on the bottom receiving too much heat. You want to warm the buttercream, but no melt the butter out.
- Another technique is to place the quantitiy of buttercream in the mixing bowl and heat it with a warm hair dryer, by blowing hot air across and around the buttercream.
- When the buttercream is warm, use a balloon whip to beat it until smooth, creamy, and homogenous. Mix again if it is still lumpy; chill it if is too soft.