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Can one “fix” soft silk meringue buttercream?
Posted: 01 April 2008 02:08 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Tonight I made a double batch of caramel silk meringue buttercream, and it came out ... soft. And droopy. Kind of like it would ooze out of a cake if I put it between layers.
I’ve made it maybe 5 times with no problems, except one time before I had this same problem and had to remake it. It’s really hard to tell where I went wrong.
I’m no stranger to making mousseline buttercream and it always turns out for me, so I don’t think I got the italian meringue wrong. Maybe my creme anglaise was off? I have a hard time knowing how thick it should be after it comes to 170 degrees, but I’ve succeeded with SMBC before so I assumed I was doing that part right. But now I have doubts.

Also, my thermometer just broke and the one I was using tonight was slightly unreliable.

Anyway, I beat the buttercream all together, and it emulsified, but after sitting for a minute or two it got runny. I tried beating in some more butter into a test bowl (maybe I forgot a stick?) and I thought that would do it, but again it got soft. Then a bit of powdered sugar into another test bowl…still too soft.
So I have all this butter invested in the batch, and I’d love to “fix” it somehow. Any ideas?
It’s sitting in the fridge until I can think of something.

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Posted: 01 April 2008 03:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Kris, is it runny, meaning separated?  Or it is emulsified but it is just too soft?  Have you tried chilling it to 65oF and whip?

I would bring your mix to 65oF and add it onto some new some Italian meringue!  Do report back.

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Posted: 01 April 2008 09:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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It is emulsified, but just too soft. I will try your suggestions after work and report back.

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Posted: 01 April 2008 09:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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It might be too late for this suggestion, and I can’t speak for this recipe in particular, but I did have an issue with a batch of Mousseline one time that just wasn’t working for me, not matter what I tried (was too soft).  So I ended up setting it aside and made a new batch.  The new batch turned out fine.  I then combined a small amount of each batch (equal portions), to see what would happen.  The new batch magically transformed the soft batch into useable bc so I continued to incorporate the remaining bc from both batches into a double batch of wonderful Mousseline.  I don’t know if you could do the same, but after investing all that time (and butter), it might be worth a shot.

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Posted: 01 April 2008 03:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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If it is emulsified, the ONLY time I get runny mousseline or smbc is when my sugar was not heated to the exact temperature indicated on the recipe.  Sometimes 5-10 degrees under makes a huge difference in stability.

Patrincia, I do what you do, too!

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Posted: 01 April 2008 04:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I agree with Hector. The only time I get droopy meringue based buttercreams is when the temperature of my sugar syrup is too low.

You could do as the others suggested and make another batch and then combine them, but I usually just bake a sheet cake (the kind you just keep in the pan for serving…for casual affairs and office parties) and ice it with the droopy buttercream. Droopy or not, it’s still darn tasty and worth using. My friends and the folks at work love my mistakes. smile

Roxanne

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Posted: 01 April 2008 10:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Wow, thanks for all the tips.

I think like many of you said, I’m going to have to chalk this up to a temperature problem. My old reliable thermometer (fairly cheap, but always seemed to work) cracked last week, and I used a simple digital one I received for christmas.
I should have noticed that it was giving me low readings when it said my creme anglaise was at 170, but it was nowhere thickened enough. I ended up letting it come just to a boil and strained it quickly, just to make sure.

So I stopped at Target on the way home today and got a candy thermometer, and when I made my sugar syrup the digital one was about 20 degrees under the new glass one! I really need to order that one Rose recommended from Amazon soon.

As for the silk meringue, I let a couple of cups come to room temperature, rebeat it, and again it looked great for a minute or two before sinking back into pudding. It just won’t hold a stiff peak after sitting. The extra addition of italian meringue didn’t seem to stiffen it adequately, but it was a good suggestion to try.

If only I could frost a cake, slice it, and eat it within two minutes, everything would be wonderful…not to mention a world record.

I may just toss this batch…I only lost some eggs, sugar, and the butter I got for under $2 a pound at Costco. Live and learn.

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Posted: 01 April 2008 10:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I love my CDN ProAccurate quick tip and my CDN handy IR.  Both discussed on this web.  This just makes me fear that I need to get a second set, because the EXACT temperature of the sugar makes all the difference on the mousseline or smbc!

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Posted: 01 April 2008 11:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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kris - 02 April 2008 01:38 AM

I may just toss this batch…I only lost some eggs, sugar, and the butter I got for under $2 a pound at Costco. Live and learn.

Bummer - maybe you can keep it in the freezer and warm small amounts up to use as a drizzle or glaze on bundt cakes or something?  Then again, maybe it’s not worth the effort.  I hate to hear about it going into the garbage, but I won’t hold it against you smile.  Glad you got the new thermometer.

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Posted: 01 April 2008 11:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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hmmm…bundt cake drizzle.  Or cinnamon coffee cake drizzle. Sounds delicious. I might just keep some of it for that.  Thanks!

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Posted: 02 April 2008 02:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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caramel smbc makes the most wonderful warm sauce for any dessert!!!!!  Clean vanilla and slight caramel taste, what wouldn’t go with it?

how about bread spread, add a touch of salt!

or to fry something on it, like a pancake, waffle batter, etc.

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Posted: 25 April 2008 04:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I’ve made buttercreams from non-CB recipes that turned out too soft for my purposes. A quick and tasty adjustment can be made by beating in melted white chocolate, not too hot. A couple ounces fixed thing right up.

Cathy

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Posted: 25 April 2008 04:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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great tip, but be sure to use white chocolate that contains cacao butter, which is the type of fat that stays firm at room temp.

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Posted: 20 May 2008 11:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I just made my first batch of buttercream last night - Rose’s Caramel Silk Meringue Buttercream.

I was extremely apprenhensive of buttercream as I have not seen or tasted one for almost 30 years.  Those buttercream that I tasted when young was awful.  But decided to trust TCB and went ahead to make a batch.

The taste was very very yummy but it was very soft, more like a thick pancake batter.  Wasn’t sure what went wrong, but the weather here is 86 deg F. 

Reading through the thread, most had attributed the problem to too low temperature for the sugar syrup.  My thermometer wasn’t working well so I tried judging it by the look of the syrup.  Am quite certain it was hot enough (the meringue turned very stiff, sticky & glossy).  Maybe I am wrong. 

I was wondering if I should have beat it longer after adding the meringue, but TCB says only to beat till meringue is mixed.

As I was not going to use it immediately, I left it in the freezer, and am hoping that when I de-frost and re-beat it, it will not be as soft.

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Posted: 21 May 2008 02:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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i would reply to kris and jillyn with the same idea. if it’s too hot in the kitchen—even by a couple of degrees warmer than normal—the buttercream can be too soft. ALSO perhaps you need to beat it just a bit longer.

as some know, I recently made 1500 cupcakes ALL frosted with classic buttercream or mousseline. it was madness and sometimes the butter was too cold (just out of the fridge) or too soft (microwave remedy) and either way i found that if i just kept beating it the buttercream would eventually come together into a nice fluffy batch. .

to all newbs to rose’s frosting recipes: make the neoclassic or classic buttercream first just to get the hang of it. jillyn, you chose one of the more difficult recipes as a starter.

btw in my pastry class they only advise heating the sugar to 240 degrees as opposed to rose’s 248-250 which leads me to believe that there is some room for error in sugar temp.

jen

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Posted: 21 May 2008 03:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I have been thru this for nearly 20 years and don’t want anyone to experience unnecessary frustration.  Get an accurate digital thermometer and your fears will be gone.  Now I pay $20 for one, 20 years ago I had none since they were less affordable.  I heat my sugar to the temperature said on TCB, it gives you the best stability.  It is a critical number as higher would harden the sugar into soft caramel leaving you with shards in your meringue, also higher breaks the meringue.  I have heated the sugar to 5 or 10 degrees lower and there is a difference in the consistence.  My kitchen is 85 degrees.

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