Italian Meringue Buttercream

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Total Time
2hrs 30mins
Prep
2 hrs
Cook
30 mins

A very versatile Buttercream. This recipe produces enough buttercream to cover three 9 inch round layer cakes. This recipe can be turned into chocolate buttercream, or spiced buttercream. You will need to have a candy thermometer, an electric stand mixer with a whisk attachment, a pastry brush and a bowl of water. This is my favorite buttercream! It's sweet, but not too rich and just the right consistency to do just about anything with it. The recipe is from my pastry arts school.

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Ingredients

Nutrition
  • 16 ounces granulated sugar
  • 6 ounces water
  • 8 ounces egg whites, about six to seven egg whites, depending on the size of the egg
  • 1 lb butter, room temperature and cut into tablespoon size pieces

Directions

  1. Separate the egg whites and put them into the mixer bowl.
  2. In a heavy bottom pot, add the water and almost all the sugar, except for about 2 oz. Add the remaining sugar to the egg whites.
  3. Cook the sugar and water to 245ºF, or if you're at high altitude, about 238ºF. Have the pastry brush and bowl of water near the stove. Stir the sugar and water until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Dip the pastry brush in the water and run it around the inside of the pot to dissolve any crystallized sugar. Continue doing this.
  4. Turn the electric mixer with the egg whites on high, so that when the sugar mixture reaches the right temperature the egg whites will be at soft peaks. I usually turn it on when the sugar mixture reaches 200ºF.
  5. When the sugar mixture reaches the right temperature, and the egg whites are at soft peaks, take the pan over and SLOWLY pour the sugar mixture down the side of the bowl into the egg whites while the mixer is still whipping the egg whites. If you pour too fast the egg whites will curdle. Avoid spilling the sugar mixture on the whisk, or you'll get hard chunks in your buttercream.
  6. Once the sugar mixture is completely poured into the egg whites, turn the mixer down to low until the meringue is completely cool. About 20 minutes.
  7. Once the meringue is completely cooled, slowly add the butter at medium speed, one piece at a time until completely incorporated.
  8. Turn the mixer up to high and mix until the butter is emulsified. The buttercream will look like it's separating, but keep mixing it. Once it comes together again, mix it on high for about 5 minutes.
  9. At this point you can make any variations to the recipe. Or just use the buttercream.
  10. Variations: Spiced Buttercream--Add cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger to taste.
  11. Chocolate Buttercream--Melt bittersweet or semisweet chocolate over a bain marie. Add just enough chocolate so you can taste it, but the buttercream still retains its stiffness. After you add the chocolate you'll need to whip the buttercream until it's at soft peaks again.
  12. Refridgerate any buttercream.