Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Italian Meringue Buttercream


Dora S
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi, I'm new here and I have tried searching the eG forums regarding this topic but without success. Is it possible to make an italian meringue buttercream less sweet? The recipe I am using is basically RLB's Mousseline Buttercream; it tastes light and yet luxurious and piped beautifully on cupcakes. Most of my relatives who tasted it commented that the buttercream was much too sweet! They liked the texture of the buttercream but not the sweetness. Is there any way of reducing the sugar in the recipe? Also on a side note, is there such a thing as an unsweetened buttercream? If so, could anyone recommend a recipe?

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You could reduce some of the sugar in the syrup; but if your relatives thought it was much too sweet to begin with, I'm not sure that will help matters. Did you use an alcohol to flavor it (I'm thinking if you used a sweet liqueur that might have taken it over the top)?

I use IMBC as my "house" buttercream in the bakeshop (I don't add the alcohol), but no one has ever mentioned it is too sweet. Sometimes people feel it is too rich because of the butter (it's usually clients who prefer the confectioner's sugar/butter variety that find IMBC too rich by comparison) but for people who ask me for something sweeter, I go for a different formula entirely. The Classic/Neoclassic are both richer (due to the yolks) so maybe that might be worth a try.

The other alternative is to use the pastry cream buttercream in the Cake Bible, that is less sweet than the Classic/Neoclassic and Mousseline ones.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You could reduce some of the sugar in the syrup...

I'm in culinary school for pastry & baking and we're covering buttercreams right now. We were told that the ratios for buttercream are 2:1 sugar to egg whites and a minimum of 1:1 butter to sugar with a maximum of 2:1 for swiss and 3:1 for italian.

You're saying that you could go less than the 2:1 ratio of sugar to whites. Do you know the minimum amount that you can use and still maintain a stable foam?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I made it as is without any liquors, so that would not be a factor. I am wondering if it would be possible to reduce the sugar syrup without compromising the overall texture/ stability?

Also, which pastry cream buttercream are you referring to? I can't seem to locate the recipe in the book. I will give the classic/ neoclassic ones a try though!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Admittedly I am very bad at math and am not even going to try to figure out what the ratios are for the batches I make, so if I give you the numbers.... :biggrin:

Small batch size for the 6 qt mixer:

17.25 oz sugar (14 oz in the pot with the water; 3.25 in the whites)

12.5 oz whites

40oz (2.5#) butter

Normal batch size for the 20 qt mixer:

41.5 oz sugar (31 oz in the pot with the water; 10.5 in with the whites)

30.5 oz whites

98 oz (6#) butter

So the instructors are saying that the ratios for Italian meringue bcrm is 2 parts sugar to 1 part whites and a maximum of 3 parts butter to 1 part sugar - yes? This would mean that for 12 oz of whites, they tell you to use 24 oz of sugar and 36 oz butter? (what do your instructors say about minimums? For all I know, these numbers above could represent minimum amounts, these are formulas I got from my own instructors. These are batches I make on a regular basis because of the mixer size.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Admittedly I am very  bad at math and am not even going to try  to figure out what the ratios are for the batches I make, so if I give you the numbers.... :biggrin:

Small batch size for the 6 qt mixer:

17.25 oz sugar (14 oz in the pot with the water; 3.25 in the whites)

12.5 oz whites

40oz (2.5#) butter

Normal batch size for the 20 qt mixer:

41.5 oz sugar (31 oz in the pot with the water; 10.5 in with the whites)

30.5 oz whites

98 oz (6#) butter

So the instructors are saying that the ratios for Italian meringue bcrm is 2 parts sugar to 1 part whites and a maximum of 3 parts butter to 1 part sugar - yes?  This would mean that for 12 oz of whites, they tell you to use 24 oz of sugar and 36 oz butter?  (what do your instructors say about minimums?  For all I know, these numbers above could represent minimum amounts, these are formulas I got from my own instructors.  These are batches I make on a regular basis because of the mixer size.)

JeanneCake, your ratios are 1.38 : 1 for sugar to whites and 2.36 : 1 for butter to sugar. You have much less sugar than the 2:1 ratio, so it is no wonder yours is less sweet.

I'm all about the ratios, so I can make any size batch on the fly. And in your example above, if you use 12 oz whites, 24 oz sugar, you can use up to 72 oz butter because the butter can be up to 3 times the sugar (you used whites). I always relate everything to the whites in my head for some reason.

Question of my own -- why the different ratio of butter in Swiss versus Italian. I cook my Swiss to 160F for salmonella reasons, and don't use Italian because of theories that it really doesn't cook to a high enough temperature for long enough to kill salmonella. That aside, I have taken Italian recipes and made them using a Swiss method and haven't really noticed that they weren't good. Granted, no side by side comparison was done...

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Admittedly I am very  bad at math and am not even going to try  to figure out what the ratios are for the batches I make, so if I give you the numbers.... :biggrin:

Small batch size for the 6 qt mixer:

17.25 oz sugar (14 oz in the pot with the water; 3.25 in the whites)

12.5 oz whites

40oz (2.5#) butter

Normal batch size for the 20 qt mixer:

41.5 oz sugar (31 oz in the pot with the water; 10.5 in with the whites)

30.5 oz whites

98 oz (6#) butter

So the instructors are saying that the ratios for Italian meringue bcrm is 2 parts sugar to 1 part whites and a maximum of 3 parts butter to 1 part sugar - yes?  This would mean that for 12 oz of whites, they tell you to use 24 oz of sugar and 36 oz butter?  (what do your instructors say about minimums?  For all I know, these numbers above could represent minimum amounts, these are formulas I got from my own instructors.  These are batches I make on a regular basis because of the mixer size.)

The ratio my instructor gave me is 2:1 sugar to whites, which in your example of 12 oz of whites would mean 24 oz of sugar. She never mentioned that the sugar to whites ratio could be adjusted. As for the butter to sugar ration, the minimum amount is 1:1 with a maximum of 3:1. So in our example that would a minimum of 24 oz of butter with a maximum of 72 oz of butter.

Your recipe has a 1.4:1 ratio of sugar to whites and a 2.3:1 ratio of butter to sugar. Maybe I'll make up a batch of each and do a comparison of the two. Thanks!

Sean

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Question of my own -- why the different ratio of butter in Swiss versus Italian.  I cook my Swiss to 160F for salmonella reasons, and don't use Italian because of theories that it really doesn't cook to a high enough temperature for long enough to kill salmonella.  That aside, I have taken Italian recipes and made them using a Swiss method and haven't really noticed that they weren't good.  Granted, no side by side comparison was done...

I don't know anything, but I remember reading that Swiss and Italian taste the same, but Swiss sets softer. Or the other way around.

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know anything, but I remember reading that Swiss and Italian taste the same, but Swiss sets softer. Or the other way around.

No, you had it right the first time -- Swiss is much softer than Italian, in my experience. Many bakers prefer the Swiss method because it heats the egg whites more thoroughly than the Italian method.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know anything, but I remember reading that Swiss and Italian taste the same, but Swiss sets softer. Or the other way around.

No, you had it right the first time -- Swiss is much softer than Italian, in my experience. Many bakers prefer the Swiss method because it heats the egg whites more thoroughly than the Italian method.

Hmm, I can't say I really noticed the texture difference. Maybe that difference is lost because of the temp I cook it to. Most older recipes only say 120F, but I always go to 160F -- back to that salmonella thing.

When would you notice the difference in "set". When it's warm out? Or at a normal room temp? Or in the fridge?

Calling all food scientists -- or just those in the know....

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm, I can't say I really noticed the texture difference.  Maybe that difference is lost because of the temp I cook it to.  Most older recipes only say 120F, but I always go to 160F -- back to that salmonella thing. 

When would you notice the difference in "set".  When it's warm out?  Or at a normal room temp?  Or in the fridge?

Calling all food scientists -- or just those in the know....

A quick google search led me here - http://www.baking911.com/decorating/cakes_...am.htm#meringue

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm, I can't say I really noticed the texture difference.  Maybe that difference is lost because of the temp I cook it to.  Most older recipes only say 120F, but I always go to 160F -- back to that salmonella thing. 

When would you notice the difference in "set".  When it's warm out?  Or at a normal room temp?  Or in the fridge?

Calling all food scientists -- or just those in the know....

A quick google search led me here - http://www.baking911.com/decorating/cakes_...am.htm#meringue

Ah, but it doesn't say WHY the Italian is more stable. I guess that's my question, and it likely goes back to why is an Italian meringue (the base) more stable than a Swiss meringue (again, just the base, w/o the butter). Is it temperature or is it the timing of adding the sugar (later rather than sooner)? Or is it the cooked structure of the sugar itself?

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My guess is that because the sugar gets hotter in Italian meringue, when it hits the eggwhites there is more evaporation of moisture? Personally I use Swiss because it is one less pot to wash, and no chance of caramelization.

Is this the first time you used the Cake Bible meringue buttercream? It would be too sweet if you didn't get the whites whipped enough, or the entire buttercream was underwhipped. It's amazing how air, the invisible ingredient, makes such a difference.

To make a buttercream less sweet, just use more butter. Or add a pinch of salt, which adds flavor as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When the soft ball syrup poured into the egg whites, the heat transferred provides enough energy to form more stable complexes than in the case of Swiss Meringue, where the whole thing is only heated to 120/160F?

Or it could be that cooking the sugar with the unwhipped egg whites interferes with something. I do find that whipped egg whites are more stable when sugar is added after it's gotten to soft peaks stage.

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know anything, but I remember reading that Swiss and Italian taste the same, but Swiss sets softer. Or the other way around.

No, you had it right the first time -- Swiss is much softer than Italian, in my experience. Many bakers prefer the Swiss method because it heats the egg whites more thoroughly than the Italian method.

Hmm, I can't say I really noticed the texture difference. Maybe that difference is lost because of the temp I cook it to. Most older recipes only say 120F, but I always go to 160F -- back to that salmonella thing.

When would you notice the difference in "set". When it's warm out? Or at a normal room temp? Or in the fridge?

Calling all food scientists -- or just those in the know....

I noticed the difference when I tried to pipe the Swiss -- it wasn't firm enough to do roses (which my Italian can handle). I'm guessing that the Italian meringue is just more stable than the Swiss, but I'm curious to hear everyone else's thoughts. (I've only tried Swiss once or twice.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...

Or it could be that cooking the sugar with the unwhipped egg whites interferes with something. I do find that whipped egg whites are more stable when sugar is added after it's gotten to soft peaks stage.

This is the part that I'm thinking....

Cheryl, The Sweet Side
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
...I cook my Swiss to 160F for salmonella reasons, and don't use Italian because of theories that it really doesn't cook to a high enough temperature for long enough to kill salmonella.  That aside, I have taken Italian recipes and made them using a Swiss method and haven't really noticed that they weren't good.  Granted, no side by side comparison was done...

I thought that with the Italian by heating the sugar syrup mixture up to 248-250 F, that would be sufficient to kill any potential salmonella in the meringue mixture. Am I wrong?

At any rate, I've made both Swiss and Italian meringue buttercreams. The Swiss tastes less sweet to me and more buttery. And the technique is easier than Italian. But I find that the Italian is more sturdy and doesn't break as easily as the Swiss.

With both icings, I find that they lose their flavor after a while and you have to re-flavor it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...I cook my Swiss to 160F for salmonella reasons, and don't use Italian because of theories that it really doesn't cook to a high enough temperature for long enough to kill salmonella.  That aside, I have taken Italian recipes and made them using a Swiss method and haven't really noticed that they weren't good.  Granted, no side by side comparison was done...

I thought that with the Italian by heating the sugar syrup mixture up to 248-250 F, that would be sufficient to kill any potential salmonella in the meringue mixture. Am I wrong?

Yes. Usually, we don't use enough sugar syrup to be able to bring the temperature of the egg whites up to 160F.

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With both icings, I find that they lose their flavor after a while and you have to re-flavor it.

I also found that out the hard way. Is there anything that can be done to prolong the flavor when flavoring IMBC a day or two before a wedding?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Similar Content

    • By daniel123456789876543
      I have been making pancetta for the first time. I have experience with the curing process doing things like bacon and cold smoked salmon in the past but this is the first time I have ever hanged anything.
       
      After a week of curing it has had 11 days  hanging so far (I was planning on taking it to 28 days hanging) Although I foolishly forgot to weigh it. 
      It smells really good like some awesome salami and the outer rim of the pancetta looks lovely and rich and dark.
      It was a recipe by Kuhlman in one of their charcuterie books.
      But when I inspected it today it had the mould growing on it as in the pics below. I have since scrubbed the mould off with white wine vinegar and returned it to the cellar. Is it wise to continue?
       
      Daniel
       
       
       


    • By shain
      Makes 40 cookies, 2 loaves. 
       
      50-60 g very aromatic olive oil
      80 g honey 
      120 to 150 g sugar (I use 120 because I like it only gently sweet) 
      2 eggs
      2 teaspoons of fine lemon zest, from apx 1 lemon 
      230 g flour 
      1 teaspoon salt 
      1 teaspoon baking powder 
      75 g lightly toasted peeled pistachios
      50 g lightly toasted almonds (you can replace some with pine nuts) 
      Optional: a little rosemary or anise seed
      Optional: more olive oil for brushing
       
      Heat oven to 170 deg C.
      In mixer (or by hand), mix oil, honey, sugar, lemon, egg and if desired, the optional spices - until uniform. 
      Separately mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. 
      Add flour mixture to mixer bowel with liquids and fold until uniform. Dough will be sticky and quite stiff. Don't knead or over mix. 
      Add nuts and fold until well dispersed. 
      On a parchment lined baking tray, create two even loaves of dough. 
      With moist hands, shape each to be rectangular and somewhat flat - apx 2cm heigh, 6cm wide and 25cm long. 
      Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden and baked throughout, yet somewhat soft and sliceable. Rotate pan if needed for even baking. 
      Remove from tray and let chill slightly or completely. 
      Using a sharp serrated knife, gently slice to thin 1/2 cm thick cookies. Each loaf should yield 20 slices. 
      Lay slices on tray and bake for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes until complelty dry and lightly golden. 
      Brush with extra olive oil, if desired. This will and more olive flavor. 
      Let chill completely before removing from tray. 
      Cookies keep well in a closed container and are best served with desert wines or herbal tea. 
       
        
    • By psantucc
      My own recipe, though influenced by many sources.
      Santucci's Practical Torrone (Christmas Nougat)
      180g honey (½ cup)
      100g egg whites (2 eggs)
      350g sugar (1 ½ cups)
      50g water (2 tablespoons)
      450g (1 pound) roasted nuts
      5-10 drops orange oil
      2 sheets (8 ½” x 11”) Ostia (aka wafer, edible paper)
      Combine honey, water, and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Skim foam (if any is seen) off the honey when it reaches the boil.
      In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
      Cook the honey mixture to 280° F (137° C). Remove from the heat. With the mixer on high speed, slowly pour the mixture into the egg whites. Continue to whisk until volume has increased by about half and the mixture just starts to lose gloss – only about 5 minutes.
      Reduce the mixer speed and add the orange oil and nuts. When they are thoroughly mixed in, spread the resulting nougat over a sheet of Ostia. Try to cover the sheet as evenly as possible- the nougat is sticky and will make things difficult. When it is evenly covered, top with the other sheet of Ostia.
      Leave to cool and crystallize completely in the open air before cutting, preferably overnight.
      Note: I call this 'practical' Torrone because the recipe is made for home confectioners of reasonable skill to be able to easily understand what and how much to buy and what to do with it. The ingredient portions are biased for my country, the USA, but I saw no point in using English ounces for the weight-based version – those of us who prefer weight generally prefer it in grams.
      Tips and tricks:
      1.Keep nuts in a warm oven ( about 150° F / 65° C ) until you add them. Adding room temperature or colder nuts will reduce working time.
      2.Getting the nougat spread between sheets of Ostia is the trickiest part of the process. I use buttered caramel rulers on the outside edges of the bottom sheet, pour and press nougat in place, and then press the top layer on with an offset spatula. If you don't have caramel rulers, try spreading the nougat with an offset spatula, topping with the other sheet, and rolling with a pin to smooth. I advise against trying to cast the slab in any kind of fixed side pan, as the stickiness will make it very difficult to remove.
      3.Score the top layer of Ostia before cutting through. Once scored, a straight down cut with a Chef's knife works well. Cut into six 8 1/2” long bars and wrap in parchment or waxed paper to store, then cut into smaller rectangles to serve.
      4.There are many possible alternate flavorings. 1-10 Lemon oil or 1 t. (5 ml) vanilla or almond extract work well and are traditional flavors. Candied orange peel and/or orange zest can also be added.
      5.I use half pistachio and half almonds as the nuts. Hazelnuts (filberts) are also traditional. Any common nut should work.
      6.Ostia is available from confectionery suppliers. I get 8-1/2” x 11” sheets from www.sugarcraft.com under the name 'wafer paper'.
      This recipe is copyright 2009 by Patrick J. Santucci. Contact the author on eGullet under the username psantucc.
    • By Paul Bacino
      1 C Northern Beans soaked over-night in
      4-6C Water or Chxn Stock
      1/2 t Cayenne Pepper
      1//2 t Granulated garlic
      1 twig Dried oregano-- dried from last yr
      2 Bay
      pinch of salt ( yes ) and few pepper corns
      in the Morning; All into the Slow Cooker for 5 hrs. ( Crock Pot )
      I removed half the liquor and added chicken stock here back in . to this I added diced cooked Italian sausage about 1 whole .. simmer in a pot.. I transferred to... then add 1/2 head of shopped chicory ( curly endive ) finish cooking 15 mins
      cheers
      Most measurements again are from feel
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...