I want to try a cake with swiss meringue icing this weekend. I have never worked with it before and am looking for some pointers.
Can you pipe with it? Does it spread perfectly smooth? Does it crust? Any insight would be appreciated!
No, it does not crust. Yes you can pipe with it.
I am still trying to get the hang of smoothing it. I have a problem with getting too many bubbles in mine so I am having a little difficulty. But it does smooth very nicely (when there's no bubbles!).
Nope, it doesn't crust, but when chilled, gets fairly solid due to the butter content. You can also pipe with it but it won't be quite as stiff as decorators/American buttercream.
After the butter is incorporated, you can add some 10x sugar to both sweeten it up and stiffen it a little bit.
Check out this SMBC recipe, it is the only one I use now:
It smooths very nicely with a hot spatula, but you may get a little bit of a yellow tint to the butter from the heat.