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January 27, 2006

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Buttercream A Swiss meringue buttercream has a softly whipped texture and is much less sweet than the more common american-style buttercreams. It requires more patience to make but the resulting rich, silky, not-too-sweet frosting, is well worth the extra effort.

½ pint
1 lb
1 ½ lb
1 fl oz
egg whites
unsalted butter, diced and chilled
vanilla extract
  1. Add enough water to a medium saucepan to come about 1-inch up the side. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  2. Combine the egg whites, salt and sugar in a heat-proof bowl, place over simmering water.
  3. Beat the whites with a hand-help mixer/whisk on low speed until the mixture reaches 140 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Do not stop beating while the bowl is over the water. The sugar should be completely dissolved.
  4. Continue beating high speed just until the mixture reaches 160 degrees, 2 to 4 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and beat with the whip attachment on second speed until completely cold.
  6. Once meringue is cold, stir in the vanilla extract and add the cold butter, a little at a time; make sure to beat in each addition thoroughly before adding the next, continue beating on second speed until all the butter is incorporated. Increase speed to third and beat until smooth.
  7. Chill and use as desired.
Tips or success
  • Do not be tempted to add the butter whilst the meringue is still warm. It is vitally important that it's cold or the butter will just melt and ruin the icing.
  • If the mixture is getting too warm and starts to 'break' whilst adding the butter, refrigerate to chill, then beat smooth and continue adding butter.
  • Substitute the vanilla with a variety of other extracts and essences.
  • Lemon Buttercream Use only 1lb of butter and add about 2 fl oz of strained lemon juice.
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