This Italian meringue buttercream makes a smooth, light, not too sweet buttercream without the grittiness of confectioner's sugar icings. It can be made with all butter or all shortening, but the blend optimizes flavour and texture. This is stable enough for basic piping.
- 100 g (3) egg whites, OR
- 20 g (2 tbs) meringue powder AND 80 g (6 tbs) water
- 450 g sugar
- 100 g water
- 225 g unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
- 225 unit vegetable shortening
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract, OR 2 tbs liqueur
- Ensure all ingredients are at room temperature.
- Beat the egg whites, or meringue powder and water, to soft peaks.
- Meanwhile, bring the sugar and water to a boil and cook to 240 °F. As the sugar approaches the target temperature, finish beating the egg whites to stiff peaks.
- While beating the egg whites constantly, pour the sugar syrup slowly into them, then add the salt.
- Reduce spead and continue to beat until the meringue cools to room temperature, at least 10 minutes.
- Increase speed and continue to beat while adding the butter and / or shortening, one tablespoon at a time.
- Beat in the liquid flavouring.
- If the mixture appears curdled, beat in a small amount of water.
- Slow down the beater and stir a few minutes to work out large air bubbles.
Variation: Increased Stability Buttercream
This makes a more stable buttercream for better shape retention, but has more presence of egg white.
- Increase the egg white to 150 g (5).
- Proceed with the rest of the recipe.
Variation: Decorating Buttercream
This makes a more denser buttercream for icing flowers. It uses more egg white for stability and a Swiss meringue.
- Increase the egg white to 150 g (5). Omit the water.
- Instead of beating the egg whites and pouring in a sugar syrup, add the sugar directly too the egg whites in double boiler. Beat while heating over hot water until it turns white, thick, and 160 °F.
- Transfer to a mixer, cool, and proceed with the rest of the recipe.