Italian Meringue Buttercream
- 120 g water
- 200 g caster sugar
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 2 Tbsp caster sugar
- 360 g unsalted butter in small chunks
- Any food colouring or flavouring you like
- If you have time, the night before crack the eggs and store the egg whites in the fridge until the next day. This will make the egg whites ‘old’ and can help with getting a stiffer mixture. It is not necessary though so if you are reading this whilst wanting to prepare meringue right now, just skip this step.
- Remove the butter from the fridge and cut into large pieces about 20g each. Leave at room temperature.
- Place the water and caster sugar in a small saucepan. Set aside.
- Insert the butterfly whisk attachment into the mixing bowl. Add the egg whites and cream of tartar.
- This is where the fun begins. It is all about a little preparation and timing in this recipe. You are basically cooking a sugar syrup and beating egg whites. Then you are combining the cooked sugar syrup with the beaten eggs.
- Start by heating the saucepan on the highest heat, do not at any point stir the sugar syrup, simply leave it alone. I suggest using a temperature pen that shows you the accurate temperature. When the syrup reaches 100C, that would roughly be about 3-4 minutes (i.e. when it is boiling), you can start the Thermomix.
- Set it to whisk 20 Min. / 37C / Speed 3.5 / no measuring cup. After 2 minutes, slowly add in the caster sugar into the mixing bowl a teaspoon at a time. It will just help stiffen the eggs.
- Once your sugar syrup reaches 118C remove it from the heat. This could be by about 5-8 minutes. It is hard to say an accurate timeframe without the thermometer but I found that on a conventional hob it took 6 minutes whereas on my gas hob it took 8 minutes. You will notice the consistency will change considerably from boiling water to a thick, syrupy almost like glucose consistency and the bubbles will totally change into a much more dense and small shape. It will almost look like they are struggling to form and burst. The sounds become more sizzling rather than bubbling and boiling.
- Turn off the temperature on the Thermomix at this stage and but keep the mixing bowl running. Pour the sugar syrup super slowly through the lid opening into the egg white mixture. The stream should be super thin, almost drop like. After 3 minutes, all the syrup should be poured in and you need to reduce the Speed to 3. Pause the Thermomix and scrape the meringue slightly, there might be the odd air pocket. Resume and keep whisking it for the remaining time whilst trying to help it cool. I use an ice pack or frozen peas and hold it against the outside mixing bowl. It really helps speed up the process.
- Once the timer is up, simply place the mixing bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes to come down to room temperature. Please do not leave your meringue overnight to prepare the buttercream the next day you will need to do this all in one go. Keep the butterfly whisk attachment in the mixing bowl.
- Now you get to the key stage of adding the butter. It it crucial that your meringue is at room temperature and not too warm as it will otherwise split up the butter and make a meringue soup (Unfortunately I’ve been there).
- Once the meringue is completely cool, add 2 pieces of butter and mix 5 Sec. / Speed 3. Immediately switch off by pressing the dial on a TM5 or TM6. On the TM31 spin the dial back immediately. Add the next two pieces of butter and repeat this process, stopping each time after you have mixed the butter in. Make sure to hold your Thermomix with both hands and not to leave it out of sight as it will really move while you are mixing. Continue this process until all the butter chunks are used up.
Once that is the case, mix 3 Min. / Speed 3 while really holding onto your Thermomix. Do not leave it at this stage as it will really dance around quite a bit. It will first look like the mixture is curdled, then it will slowly transform. Don’t worry, you will get there, your patience will be rewarded. After about 1 Minute you can scrape the mixture with a spatula, then keep going. Don’t be disheartened by the look, it will change. After 3 minutes it should be really smooth and creamy. You can now add any flavouring and food colouring of your choice and then it is ready to be used straight away.
Tips for the perfect buttercream
Make sure to have a completely cool meringue before adding the butter as it will otherwise turn into meringue soup. Patience is key here, don’t be tempted.
Remove the butter from the fridge and cut into pieces straight away before you start the meringue process. Leave at room temperature whilst you are making the meringue.
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