Saturday, January 8, 2011

Butter Cream

The world has a variety of Butter Cream the simplest of which is an American Butter Cream which consists of beating room temperature butter with enough confectioners sugar to create a frosting.  This type is my least favorite and I find it difficult to even consider it a true butter cream.   My definition is either the French or Italian Meringue type.  You can read about the different types on the wordpress blog Take The Cannoli as her definitions are the same as mine.  There are 4 basic types (American, French, Swiss & Italian), the first and the one I don't consider to be a true Butter Cream is really an Icing or Frosting. called American Butter Cream. What I don't like about this style is that it's often grainy and cloyingly sweet. {Maybe I'm right and maybe I'm wrong and maybe my reasoning is sound but it's still not butter cream to me.That being said, if you want to call Butter beaten with confectioners sugar ~butter cream by all means go right ahead.  Butter Cream to me is a light silky smooth satiny creamy frosting that also contains eggs as well as sugar and flavorings.} 

American Butter Cream is very simple, though I don't consider this to be a true butter cream it is the easiest to make.. The best  looking recipe I've found is from The Pastry Chef Online and they explain how to make it.  The key to getting American Butter Cream smooth is to add enough liquid such as cream or milk to lighten and thin it so it's smooth.

How To Make It 
American Butter Cream

What You'll Need
cool but room temperature butter
powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
splash of vanilla
  1. Cream the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. 
  2. Add the pinch of salt and then add the powdered sugar, a bit at a time, until you are happy with how sweet it is.  Figure around 2 cups of powdered sugar per 4 oz. butter, but just do it to taste. 
  3. Add your vanilla and chocolate, if using.  Or, omit the vanilla and add your other extract along with some zest, if you'd like.
  4. Thin to spreading consistency with the liquid of your choice. 
~ The next three types of Butter Cream are made with eggs.  The easiest type to me is the Swiss style which combines egg whites and sugar that gets heated over a Bain-marie to about 140-160 degrees F while stirring and whisking until the sugar is dissolved. {heat also stabilizes the meringue) You must whisk and stir continuously otherwise you will scramble the egg whites. This hot liquid is then beaten in a stand mixer until it's a thickly cooled meringue.  To this lucious satiny meringue the soft room temperature butter is slowly beaten in along with vanilla or other flavorings.

~ My go to butter cream is the Swiss Meringue type. This involves heating egg whites and sugar over a double boiler or bain-marie until the temperature reaches 160 degrees while constantly whisking the mixture as not to scramble the whites.  I like this type because it can be colored or flavored however you prefer.  Depending on the recipe the flavor can be very buttery yet light at the same time.  It holds up well in the refrigerator and can be frozen for up to 3 months.

How to Make It.
Swiss Meringue Butter Cream

What You'll Need
Double boiler or bain marie
Stand Mixer with whixk attachment
Hand Whisk
Soft Butter at room temperature
Egg Whites
Vanilla extract or split vanilla bean
Thermometer that can register 160 degrees F
digital scale or other scale

1. Heat together over medium heat in double boiler  whisking gently but continuously until the sugar dissolves and the thermometer registers 160 degrees F
14 ounces (weighed) superfine sugar
1 cup egg whites

2. Using the Stand Mixer beat the warm egg whites and sugar mixture on medium to high speed until the meringue is stiff and cool.  This can take anywhere from 3 to 15 minutes.

3. Change to the paddle attachment and on slow to medium slow spee, slowly add the small pieces of butter 2-3 at a time.
1 1/4 pounds or 20 ounces weighed of soft room temperature butter cut into small pieces

4. Continue beating and adding the butter.  Don't worry if the mixture looks curdled this only means your butter is too cold.  Keep beating and increase the speed if necessary until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Now add the vanilla extract or scrape the inside of the vanilla bean into the mixture. At this point you can also add coloring or any other flavoring including melted chocolate.

5.  If your butter cream has too many air bubbles continue mixing on slow speed this will get rid of the air bubbles and ensure a smooth icing.  Butter cream can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months.  When rebeating cold butter cream the mixture will separate and curdle.  Just keep beating until the mixture comes back together and you're ready to go.

This photo shows a chocolate Swiss meringue butter cream. I've included it to show you an example of a butter cream that has too much air in it.  In this case the butter cream was too warm and should have been refrigerated before icing the cake. That being said it was still creamy and delicious. Sometimes chocolate butter cream can be a little temperamental but all it needs is a little extra patience. 

~ French Style Butter Cream is similar to the Swiss with one exception.  French butter cream uses whole eggs thereby making the butter cream a yellow color.  It is also a much richer butter cream and though I love the flavor of butter I don't like that you can't color it properly if you wish to.

I have not tested the following recipe taken from The Pastry Chef Online   I am using this recipe because it is her favorite type pf butter cream and I respect that!

How To Make It
French Meringue Butter Cream

What You'll Need
  • 12 oz. sugar
  • 3 oz. water
  • 4.5 oz. egg yolks
  • 15 oz. softened butter--around 68F
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan. 
Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and let boil for 2-3 minutes.  Remove the lid and cook the sugar to 240F.
While your syrup is boiling, whip the yolks and salt on high speed until very light and thick and tripled in volume. 
When the syrup has reached temperature, turn down the mixer speed and slowly but steadily pour the syrup in a thin stream down the inside of the mixer bowl. 
***Make sure the syrup is sliding down the inside of the bowl--this will help to cool it off a little before it reaches the eggs. It will also keep molten sugar from splattering all over the inside of your mixer instead of ending up where it belongs: in the butter cream.
Increase speed to high and whip until cool.

Whip in the butter a little at a time.  Don't add it too quickly. Wait until what you've put in has been completely blended in before you add some more. 
Beat in the vanilla.

You can pretty much add any extract or liqueur to taste
To make chocolate butter cream, whisk in 6 oz. melted and cooled bittersweet chocolate.
For a fruit flavored butter cream, whisk in 4-6 oz. fruit puree.
To make caramel butter cream, cook the sugar syrup to a medium amber caramel before adding it to the eggs

The fourth and last type of Butter Cream that I am including is also one of my favorites , Italian Butter Cream. It is a little more difficult to make though it is similar to the French Butter Cream in that it uses a sugar syrup but uses egg whites and not whole eggs.  The wedding cake in this photo was covered with an Italian Butter Cream filled with a vanilla cake with lemon curd filling.  Yum yum delicious!

 How To Make It

Italian Meringue Butter Cream

What You'll Need
 Double Boiler or Bain Marie
Hand Whisk
Stand Mixer with Whisk & Paddle Attachment
Soft Butter at room temperature
Egg Whites
Vanilla extract or split vanilla bean
Thermometer that can register 240 degrees F
Digital Scale
Bowl of Ice & Water

Cook together to 240-245 degrees F using the thermometer
1c sugar
1/4  cup of water or 1/2 cup flavored water (coffee or lemon water)

(Keep the bowl of Ice & Water near-by in case some of the hot syrup gets on you.  Immediately dip your hand into the ice water to stop the heat.  When sugar gets hot it stays hot and can cause serious burns).

In large bowl Whip  egg whites with the cream of tartar adding the sugar, to just firm peaks.
5 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
pinch cream of tartar

When the syrup has reached temperature, turn down the mixer speed and slowly but steadily pour the syrup in a thin stream down the inside of the mixer bowl into the meringue.. 
***Make sure the syrup is sliding down the inside of the bowl--this will help to cool it off a little before it reaches the eggs. It will also keep molten sugar from splattering all over the inside of your mixer instead of ending up where it belongs: in the butter cream.
Increase speed to high and whip until cool.  The egg whites will become very firm and glossy.  

When the meringue has cooled begin adding the butter a little at a time  until all the butter and the vanilla seeds have been added.

***Note:  Butter cream can be refrigerated or frozen.  When it is re-beaten the mixture may separate especially if it's cold. ~ DO NOT PANIC as this is normal.  You can pour any liquid into a cup and begin to add it back in slowly. The higher the speed the faster the liquid will be reabsorbed. If your butter cream has a lot of air bubbles  continue to mix on slow speed for several minutes until the bubbles go away.  If your butter cream is weepy because it's too hot either refrigerate it for a little while or set a bowl of cold water under the mixing bowl.  Perfect butter cream should almost resemble plaster but it should be shiny and hold it's shape..

***Vanilla beans can be softened by snipping the ends off and soaking them in rum. It's best to let them sit for a wee before using. (depending on how fresh they are it can take 3 days or 2 weeks).  Then you can easily squeeze the beans out and the rum will turn into vanilla extract.  Vanilla beans will last indefinitely soaking in alcohol or dried.

Please contact me and let me know if you have any problems or discover any errors!
Have Fun & Enjoy

No comments: