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DEMO -- Italian Meringue Buttercream


RuthWells
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The egg yolk buttercreams, such as RLB's neoclassic, have a richer flavor than the egg white buttercreams. They are also not as fluffy, as you describe, and are much softer than egg white buttercreams. If you're really concerned about stability (if you're piping decorations, say, or layering multiple layers with the buttercream), I'd stick with the IMBC.

As for the curdling you experienced while making the IMBC, is it almost always a question of temperature. If it happens again, place your hands on the outside of your mixing bowl. If it feels cool, wrap a hot, wet dish towel around the bowl and continue to beat. You'll see it come together beautifully. If the bowl feels warm or hot, stop adding butter until it feels barely warm to the touch.

For those who have tried both, which do you prefer: IMBC or Neoclassic Buttercream (as per RLB)?

Neoclassic buttercream seems easier to make, but would it taste too eggy and be less light and fluffy on account of not having any whites?

I want to make a lemon buttercream for cake filling by combining lemon curd from Fine Cooking (from the Best Lemon Curd thread) with a buttercream to make it less runny, and find IMBC somewhat daunting. When I made it recently, it looked curdled, I gave up on it, then put it in a sink of cold water and rebeat it and it came together quite miraculously, but was a rather stressful experience.

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Thanks for your replies Ruth and May. I think I'll go with the IMBC for the stability, as I will be making 4 layers of cake/3 layers filling. Plus it'll give me a chance to use up all those egg whites in the freezer.

"I'll just die if I don't get this recipe."
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Freezer?

I thought frozen egg whites don't whip up?

The commercially frozen whites are a problem - I've only been successful when subbing out no more than 30% of the total weight of whites with the commercially frozen ones. When I use all commercial whites, it deflates when you add the hot syrup. Doesn't matter which brand, either - it happens using Sysco, Glen View Farms, Papetti....

But if you are talking about freezing your own shelled whites, that's different. As Ruth says, it should work perfectly if you don't have any specks of yolk in them.

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Freezer?

I thought frozen egg whites don't whip up?

The commercially frozen whites are a problem - I've only been successful when subbing out no more than 30% of the total weight of whites with the commercially frozen ones. When I use all commercial whites, it deflates when you add the hot syrup. Doesn't matter which brand, either - it happens using Sysco, Glen View Farms, Papetti....

But if you are talking about freezing your own shelled whites, that's different. As Ruth says, it should work perfectly if you don't have any specks of yolk in them.

Ah. Thanks Jeanne and Ruth!

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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I made 2 batches of IMBC today with frozen egg whites and it whipped up just the same as with fresh whites. Thanks Ruth for the terrific demo, which gave me the confidence to give this a go. The first time, the butter must have been a bit cool going in so I tried the hot teatowel and it worked a treat. Second time, the butter had been out a bit longer so it didn't need the hot teatowel. I also made raspberry IMBC by adding some raspberry puree according to RLB's recipe and even though you don't need to add much, the BC is a very nice bright pink colour, lovely!

"I'll just die if I don't get this recipe."
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Thanks for posting your success, Lorinda! Glad the demo helped.

I made 2 batches of IMBC today with frozen egg whites and it whipped up just the same as with fresh whites. Thanks Ruth for the terrific demo, which gave me the confidence to give this a go.  The first time, the butter must have been a bit cool going in so I tried the hot teatowel and it worked a treat. Second time, the butter had been out a bit longer so it didn't need the hot teatowel. I also made raspberry IMBC by adding some raspberry puree according to RLB's recipe and even though you don't need to add much, the BC is a very nice bright pink colour, lovely!

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Thank you for the fantastic demo Ruth. I should try this recipe.

I have tried making IMBC using Martha Stewart's recipe and I see little lumps of butter when icing the cake. I use the whisk instead of the paddle. What am I doing wrong?

What other flavours can you mix in with IMBC?

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The last few tablespoons of butter may not have been incorporated well enough before you stopped mixing (whipping) - this happens to me sometimes when I am in a rush and the butter is cool/cold. There's a balance you can play with of how long you let the meringue go after all the syrup is added and the temperature of the butter. If the meringue is warm, I can use cooler butter; if the meringue is cool, softer butter incorporates a lot better.

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Thank you for the fantastic demo Ruth.  I should try this recipe. 

I have tried making IMBC using Martha Stewart's recipe and I see little lumps of butter when icing the cake.  I use the whisk instead of the paddle.  What am I doing wrong? 

What other flavours can you mix in with IMBC?

What JeanneCakes said. :wink: You may get better smoothing of the butter if you use your paddle instead of your whisk for that portion of the mixing.

The sky's the limit with regard to flavors -- extracts, liquors, melted choc, Nutella, praline, fruit purees.......... you get the idea.

Edited by RuthWells (log)
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  • 8 months later...

Ruth, thanks a lot for that demo! Today I made it for the first time in my life and it turned out great. Though I had to use whisk all the time (the paddle just didn't work). The only thing that I don't understand - why my cream turned slightly gray when I added half of the butter?

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Ruth, thanks  a lot for that demo! Today I made it for the first time in my life and it turned out great. Though I had to use whisk all the time  (the paddle just didn't work). The only thing that I don't understand - why my cream turned slightly gray when I added half of the butter?

I'm glad you had success, Anna! I am a huge devotee of this buttercream.

I'm not sure why your cream (I assume you mean the meringue) turned slightly gray when adding the butter. Are you using a new stand mixer? I have heard of situations where the new beaters can have some residue on them that can come off in the bowl, but that's the only thing I can think off.

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No, my mixer is not new.

I think that maybe that happened because halfway through adding butter my cream got very thin (I was sure I spoiled it), it looked like buttermilk. Then I changed the paddle for a baloon whisk and it saved the situation - but it may be the reason of the colour problem.

Anyway thanks to you I made it! I'm sure next time it will be perfect! Thanks a lot!

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  • 2 years later...

Hooray! You saved my buttercream. Thought I had really ruined things, but your tip about the towel and increasing speed saved the day.

Question: I think I let the syrup get a bit too hot and feel like I didn't get much into the meringue. I'm not sure how to phrase this really, but how much of the syrup must get into the meringue? How much of the syrup can be left behind without harming the final product?

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You want to get as much of the syrup into the meringue as possible; you will get more buttercream if you don't have a lot of the syrup left in the pan (or measuring cup. But it is possible to pour the hot syrup directly from the pan into the meringue with the mixer on high.) I don't bother scraping the pan, I just pour until it's all added and there's a coating on the pan. If you are using a non-stick pan, you'll be able to get practically all of it into the meringue.

A few degrees over is not a problem but 10 degrees more is probably not ok. There's a range of what will work with this type of meringue buttercream; I can pull the syrup off the heat at 239 and get a beautiful buttercream; I can also pull it at 248 and get a slightly firmer buttercream.

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