2 of 3
2
Making icing with butter that works and does not separate - Help
Posted: 02 March 2010 02:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  630
Joined  2008-01-24

If I may summarize then…
We are not sure what is going wrong with H’s frosting recipe.
Consensus seems to be use a different recipe.

For my own curiosity. How is are these milk/flour based recipes supposed to work? Is the idea to make a sort of custard?

 Signature 

“This pizza is a symphony of flavors”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 March 2010 03:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  865
Joined  2008-03-09

Gene, it is very common among bakers trained in French, but especially German methods, to make buttercream by combining pastry cream and butter. The pastry cream is sometimes thickened with cornstarch, other times with flour.

The pastry cream might be made with whole eggs alone or whole eggs in combination with extra yolks. The bc is therefore richer than meringue-based ones that tend to come from the Italian and Swiss traditions. But much lighter than “regular” buttercreams made with icing sugar and emulsified shortening! The French also came up with hybrid methods that used pastry cream but the meringue-based Italian technique. Each country’s style has different characteristics that make them best suited for different applications.

How the starch-based recipes work is basically to make the pastry cream aka custard which you let cool, first having dotted it with butter to prevent a skin forming. Best not to refrigerate at this stage. When completely cool (room temp), add gradually to creamed butter until fully incorporated, light and fluffy. Store covered under refrigeration. Bring back to room temp before using.

Other ingredients are sometimes added to pastry cream. For instance, the addition of whipped cream turns it into Diplomat Cream. It’s St. Honore Cream when whipped egg whites are blended thoroughly with vanilla pastry cream while still boiling hot. There are many other creams - Bavarian, mousse, lemon etc. each with its own unique twist and relationship to pastry cream as the basic building block. Testimony to creativity and/or the human sweet tooth around the world. smile

Julia Child even noted that choux pastry is almost the same formula, so she always made extra choux for Gateau Saint-Honore, so “it wouldn’t be a silly waste of time to go through the same motions twice” to make the filling for the shell.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 March 2010 04:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  591
Joined  2007-11-27

If I can add to what Carolita said above -

A flour and milk mixture cooked until thick is more a roux than a pastry cream or custard (these are both enriched with eggs - pastry cream will always have a thickener like flour or cornstarch, custard does not require a thickener); when this “roux” is cool (and just like a roux for savory dishes, it has to be cooked thoroughly or it can get gritty or grainy or even perhaps be a cause for separation, which in a savory dish would be called “broken”) the beaten butter and sugar is added and the frosting becomes thick and creamy, some might say fluffy - it’s all a matter of semantics. 

The most frequently made mistake is that the flour and milk is not cooked long enough.

 Signature 

I Dream of Jeanne Cakes selected by Brides Magazine as one of their 100 Favorite Bakers (2013)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 March 2010 04:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  535
Joined  2008-05-03

Gosh, Carol, thanks for the lesson above.  I had no idea where all the pastry cream based frostings originated.  You are a mine of information.  Interesting about Julia nd the choux pastry - need to think about that!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 March 2010 05:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  865
Joined  2008-03-09

Yes Jeanne, that’s pretty much what my baking instructors said.  Except we were told that both flour- and cornstarch-based mixtures are called pastry creams. The choice of starch depends on the application. For instance, a hot dessert souffle benefits from the increased stability of flour. More semantics?  wink But you’re quite right that custards can be and often are made without any starch at all.

I was also warned (as with any roux) that the flour-based version must be cooked properly to avoid the starchy taste. And back to the runny issue. there are a couple of potential causes. Have both been mentioned? I know you’ve covered the most common one. Not enough cooking. The mixture must be brought back to a full boil, stirring constantly. This is after the other ingredients are mixed into the milk/butter that were first brought to a boil. The other potential cause - insufficient starch.

Thanks, Annie! If you’re interested, I can send you Julia Child’s instructions for using the leftover choux pastry to make Creme Saint-Honore. Or you may have the book? (p 551-2 in From Julia Child’s Kitchen)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 March 2010 07:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  630
Joined  2008-01-24

Thanks for that information. When I first read this post I went to my shelves. I consulted Jacques, Julia, Madeleine, and even Dion. (Bonus points for anyone who can identify Dion). The recipes I found all seemed to be emulsions that involved egg yolks. So these butter creams are suspensions? The butter is incorporated into a thick classic white sauce? Trickier to pull off than an emulsion I would think. The starch in the sauce would be crucial to holding the butter.

 Signature 

“This pizza is a symphony of flavors”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 March 2010 08:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  865
Joined  2008-03-09

Hage9a, your question triggered a lot of interest, didn’t it? But I’m not sure we’ve helped you yet. Especially if you don’t have ready access to Rose’s books and/or her specified ingredients for cake and buttercream frostings. So how about if you share the recipe you’re using? There are enough people here with experience and/or big cookbook libraries that we should be able to help.

For instance, my 1971 edition of Larousse Gastronomique has several versions of butter cream made with starch-based custard creams (potato, corn or flour). The entry starts thus:
“Butter creams. Cr?mes au Beurre—There are two ways of making butter creams, which are used for garnishing cakes and pastries. One combines butter with Custard Cream [Cr?me ? L’Anglaise/Cr?me Fran?aise] and the other is made with sugar syrup, beaten egg yolks and butter.”

At that point in history, of course, the French did not find it worthwhile to mention Italian or Swiss meringue-style bc! smile

So give, Gene! I don’t suppose you’re talking about Celine Dion? But the others are Jacques Torres (surely not Pepin?), Julia Child and Madeleine Kamman? Do I get 3/4s of the prize??  cheese

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 March 2010 06:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  591
Joined  2007-11-27
Gene - 02 March 2010 11:00 PM

Thanks for that information. When I first read this post I went to my shelves. I consulted Jacques, Julia, Madeleine, and even Dion. (Bonus points for anyone who can identify Dion). The recipes I found all seemed to be emulsions that involved egg yolks. So these butter creams are suspensions? The butter is incorporated into a thick classic white sauce? Trickier to pull off than an emulsion I would think. The starch in the sauce would be crucial to holding the butter.

I’m thinking Dionne Lucas, who Maida Heatter says was the first cooking show she remembers on TV (before my time, I only remember Julia Child on TV and dancing around to the theme of The French Chef when it was on!)?  Maybe it was just in the NY area?

Carolita - I referred to the flour-milk mixture as a roux because it didn’t have anything else in it; “pastry cream” will always have either flour or cornstarch, and “custard” is relying on the eggs for thickening, but won’t thicken as much as the “pastry cream” does.  I’ve only seen this type of roux-based recipe referred to as American Buttercream, but I don’t have much experience with that type of recipe.  I used a cornstarch-thickened recipe years ago when I was at a California bakery; but I could always feel the grit from the confectioner’s sugar in it so I don’t use it now.  It was very good, very fluffy (when made correctly; it was not an easy recipe to master and it was a “test” of sorts for new hires to see how well they paid attention to see if they could make it correctly the first time they tried it alone) but I can still feel that grit even if I don’t have the recipe anymore!

 Signature 

I Dream of Jeanne Cakes selected by Brides Magazine as one of their 100 Favorite Bakers (2013)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 March 2010 11:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  865
Joined  2008-03-09

Fascinating, Jeanne. I’d never heard of a roux-based buttercream - that is, one with no eggs at all. I have a vague memory of something similar from the Southern US at an historical food website. hmmm I wonder if it’s derived from the German bc which uses pastry cream, not a straight roux, but confectioners’ sugar is first creamed into the butter. At least, acccording to my CIA text. That would be smoother. Don’t like the sound of that grit at all! Can see why you stopped using the recipe. smile

Looked more closely just now at the original post, and you’re right that she makes no mention of eggs. When she called it French buttercream, I just assumed it was a milk-flour based pastry cream, and that she called it a milk-flour “mixture” neglecting to mention the eggs. Sorry. The reason I jumped to the conclusion is that the light French buttercream we were taught at school - called Cr?me Mousseline just to confuse me totally after years of working with Rose’s mbc! - was a pastry cream-butter combo. No icing sugar though. The sugar was all incorporated in the pastry cream.

Oh and sorry, too, for using shorthand for pastry cream in typing aka custard. We agree. True custard relies on eggs and eggs alone for thickening. Pastry cream is known in the French tradition, however, as confectioner’s custard. To my knowledge, that’s one of the translations for the term Cr?me Patissiere, but I could be wrong. All I know for sure is that it’s a more economical version of custard cream, so I probably should have typed “custard cream”. You can use fewer yolks or even whole eggs alone, because you thicken with starch. Even custard creams are sometimes made more economically in the industry through the addition of arrowroot or corn starch. More cheaply still in some establishments with instant custard - but let’s not go there!

Hage9a, do let us know whether yours is the roux-based or pastry-cream based bc. I’m so curious now.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 March 2010 12:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  17
Joined  2010-02-28

No, this recipe had only 1 cup of milk, 5 tablespoons of flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup butter, a 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.  I was supposed to cook the milk on low heat, add flour, cook until thick, cool off.  Cream the butter, add sugar, add the flour milk mixture, and ready.  The butter separated, I ended up making a cream cheese frosting which worked fine. 
This was a new recipe that I wanted to try out, I tried before one with 2 egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of flour, cup of water, cup of sugar 3/4 cup of butter, juice from 1/2 lemon and couple spoons of cognac.  Same thing, cook the water with flour, sugar, and yolks, cool off, add to creamed butter.  The butter separated, and after couple of times I gave up.  I stopped making cream altogether, and now wanted to ask some experts as for me baking is just a hobby.

 Signature 

Get great recipes ideas at Homemade Cake Recipe

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 March 2010 12:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  17
Joined  2010-02-28

Got the book today (Cake Bible), now I just need a peaceful evening to look through it and start reading the baking tips.  yey

 Signature 

Get great recipes ideas at Homemade Cake Recipe

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 March 2010 12:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  164
Joined  2009-04-24

I have made “roux-based” buttercream several times.  The “Baked” book (by the guys who own the bakery in NY) uses mainly this type of buttercream.  There is no egg.  It’s made by cooking the milk flour and sugar on stove-top for about 20 minutes.  Then you beat the mixture until it has cooled down.  Then proceed with adding butter a little at a time.

The first time I made it, I failed miserably.  I think the problem was that I didn’t let the flour/milk/sugar mixture cool down enough.  The butter also needs to be at room-temperature (still cool but squishy).  So as far as I know, those are the 2 key things that I changed that improved the results.  I’ve never experienced any weeping.  I have even frozen this buttercream and re-used it afterwards without any problem.

The recipe contains no eggs.  And the book says that cakes frosted with it can be left at room-temperature for 2-3 days.  It’s a good option to use when the cake needs to be at room temp for a long time.

There’s a variation to add melted white chocolate after the buttercream is completed.  I have used it a few times and have received good feedback with it.

Jess

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 March 2010 01:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  17
Joined  2010-02-28

I did cool it down, I just think that I am cursed when it comes to making butter icing.  I guess I need to try again.  I will take the butter from the fridge in the morning, make the flour blop in the morning and make the cream in the afternoon.  I’ll see if that helps.  Will come back here and post results.  Thanks for all your support.  Project for tomorrow…

 Signature 

Get great recipes ideas at Homemade Cake Recipe

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 March 2010 02:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  17
Joined  2010-02-28

That milk/flour recipe comes from a red velvet cake recipe that I wanted to post on my website.  I had to try it out before, well the cake was ok, but not the frosting.  As I never had any luck with that type of frosting I asked you to help. 
I guess I will stick to the basic buttercream frosting which does not call for a flour/milk mixture, but I was wondering if any of you ever made those type of creme. 
They are very popular in Europe. In Poland nobody makes frosting from just butter sugar and vanilla.  They make this complicated blob, or beat eggs on steam, cool them, then add butter, but that never worked for me either.  My German mom-in-law makes a creme from sweet vanilla pudding and butter.  The pudding also needs to be cooked, so I had a problem with it as well, but it did not matter since the creme went under a chocolate cover and nobody saw it.  The cake was still delicious.

 Signature 

Get great recipes ideas at Homemade Cake Recipe

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 March 2010 02:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  630
Joined  2008-01-24

Wow! I am very impressed. I even misspelled the name. A dear Great Aunt who lived in Maine gave me a copy of Dione Lucas’s Cordon Bleu. It was published 1947. Cookbooks from that era take a great deal for granted so I usually only refer to it out of affection.

Since I have strayed so far off topic. I posted a thread in Show and Tell about a German cookbook that I own.

Image Attachments
DSCN0125.jpg
 Signature 

“This pizza is a symphony of flavors”

Profile
 
 
   
2 of 3
2
Back to top