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Buttercream Frosting, Silk Meringue


  • 1 cup sugar 7 oz
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup milk 4.25 oz
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 1/2 cup sugar 3.25 oz
  • 2 tablespoons water 1 oz
  • 2 egg whites 2 oz
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 pound butter, unsalted, room temperature


Makes four cups of frosting; I often make six cups to fill, frost, and decorate a layer cake. This recipe has three parts: making the creme anglaise, making italian meringue, and blending both with the butter. Have ready a sieve suspended over a bowl, near the range. In a medium size heavy noncorrodible saucepan combine the sugar and yolks. In a small saucepan bring the milk and vanilla bean to a boil. Add 2 T of the milk to the yolk mixture, stirring constantly. Gradually add the remaining milk, stirring, and cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until just below the boiling point. The mixture will start to steam slightly and an accurate thermometer will register 170 F(between 160 & 180 F). The creme anglaise must also thicken, but not curdle or coagulate. Strain immediately, scraping up any clinging to the bottom of the pan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the custard and cool to room temperature. To speed cooling, put the bowl in another bowl or sink partially filled with ice water. Have ready a heatproof glass measure near the range. In a small heavy saucepan (preferably with a nonstick lining) combine 1/3 cup sugar and the 2 T of water. Heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbling. Stop stirring and reduce the heat to low. If using an electric range remove from the heat. In a mixing bowl beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised. Graduallly beat in the remaining 2 T tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised slowly. Increase the heat and boil the styrup until a thermometer register 248 F to 250 F ( firm ball stage). Immediately transfer the sytrup to the glass measure to stop the cooking. If using an electric hand held mixer, beat the syrup into the egg whites in a steady stream. Don't allow syrup to fall on the beaters or they will spin it onto sides of bowl. If using a stand mixer, pour a small amount of syrup over the egg whites with the mixer off. Immediately beat a high speed for 5 seconds. Stop the mixer and add a larger amount of syrup. Beat at high speed for 5 seconds. Continue with the remaining syrup. For the last addition, use a rubber scraper to remove the syrupt clinging to the glass measure. Lower speed to medium and continue beating until completely cool, about 2 minutes. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds or until creamy. Gradually beat in the creme anglaise until smooth. Add the Italian Merigue and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds or until creamy. Gradually beat in the creme anglaise until smooth. Add the Italiam Meringue and beat until just incorporated. If the mixture looks curdled instead of smooth it is too cold. Allow it to sit at room temperature to warm to 65 F before continuing to beat. Or place the bowl in a hot water bath very briefly until the buttercream touching the bowl just starts to melt. Remove at once and beat until smooth. Beat in optional additions. Place in an airtight bowl. The buttercream becomes slightly spongy on standing. Rebeat before using. Do not rebeat chilled buttercream until it has reached room temperature or it may curdle. When working with the frosting, keep it at 65 to 70 F.

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