This is the lightest and silkiest buttercream you will ever taste and it’s not overly sweet. It’s as white as a cloud and it takes all the flavors and colors well. In comparison to Swiss meringue where you cook egg whites with sugar on a double boiler, in Italian meringue you make the sugar syrup to a soft ball consistency and add it to whipped egg whites which gives it a better structure.
Things to take in consideration:
Always clean the bowl and whisk with vinegar before starting to whip egg whites. Take some white vinegar on a kitchen cloth or a paper towel and wipe the bowl and whisk. The vinegar removes the fat and grease which helps the egg whites triple in volume.
Eggs separate well when cold and whip better at room temperature.
If you don’t have a candy thermometer, take some cold water in a small bowl and put a few drops of sugar syrup in it to check the sugar’s consistency. Once it hits the cold water, the sugar should start forming into a ball, it should not spread or dissolve in water.
Start beating the egg whites after few minutes of starting the sugar syrup.
The key for a light and fluffy icing is cold butter that is cut in to small cubes.
If you don’t have a stand mixer you can use a handheld mixer, then take someone’s help to pour the sugar syrup in a steady stream in the egg whites while you beat the egg whites continuously.
Yields: 3 cups
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
You will need
- 4 egg whites ( room temperature)
- 1 1/4 granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/2cup (3 sticks) cold unsalted butter
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar or fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp flavoring of your choice( oil free and dye free)
- In a small sauce pan, add sugar and water and cook on medium heat without stirring. Mixture should come to boil, the candy thermometer should read 235-240F ( 112-116 C) and the sugar should be dissolved completely.
- Start whipping the egg whites on a stand mixer on medium-low speed until egg whites are foamy. Add lemon juice or cream of tartar and beat the whites until it forms a soft peak, gradually increasing the speed.
- Add the hot sugar syrup gradually to the egg whites in a steady stream and beat the egg whites on high speed until a firm but glossy peak is formed. Beat the egg whites on medium-slow speed until the outside of the bowl is no longer hot.
- Gradually add small cubes of cold butter about a tablespoon at time. In the beginning it might look like everything is separating but once you beat the butter for 8-10 minutes the mixture becomes fluffy and light. At this point, add the flavoring of your choice and color.
- You can use the icing for filling and making buttercream flowers as well.
- The icing can stay in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days and 2 months in the freezer. Before using get it to room temperature and whip it in a stand mixer.