Saved Caramel Silk Meringue Buttercream
Posted: 02 February 2012 04:39 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Just reporting back re: a batch of Caramel SMBC that I made a while back.  I made a double batch and I suspect that not enough water evaporated when I added the cream to the caramel.  As a result it was quite runny.  I added extra butter and some milk chocolate, but nothing worked.  I was afraid I was losing the caramelly taste…so…

I recently experimented with “roux/gravy/flour” buttercream and thought this may be an easy way to perk up the frosting.  I made a batch of carmelized sugar, added some cream.  Then I made the roux with flour and cream and then added the caramel mixture to that and cooked it.  I added one tablespoon of the cooled and very thick “roux” mixture to the buttercream and it transformed into a light stable frosting.  At this point I have no idea what proportions of ingredients were used as it was a constantly changing mass of butter and sugar…but I did manage to salvage it (it would have been eaten anyway as it was much like ice cream out of the freezer). 

It’s going on the Domingo.  I made that cake years ago and it came out dry—but all I had access to back then was low fat cocoa (I don’t think I was aware then that cocoas varied in fat content!).  So, with my arsenal of full fat cocoas, I’m giving it another go and hoping that I will love it just as much as everyone else!

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Posted: 03 February 2012 02:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Sherrie - 02 February 2012 08:39 PM

“roux/gravy/flour”

So where can I find info on how to incorporate this into a regular buttercream?

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Posted: 03 February 2012 02:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hi, Charles T!

Look up “flour frosting” and you’ll find it easily.  Basically, you just make a thick white sauce (just milk and flour—or cream and flour—or milk/cream and flour)—real thick—some recipes use flour, others corn starch.  Then you cool it COMPLETELY (i.e, don’t want to melt your butter) and mix it in.

I’ve mixed it in to toally completed buttercreams to “unsweeten” or “unstiffen” them.

You can also dissolve the sugar in the milk as you bring it to a boil and use it sweetened with butter.

Mostly, I’ve mixed just the milk/flour into either (1) a completed “America” buttercream (butter -w/ or w/out cream cheese - and powdered sugar) or (2) use it to make a buttercream with butter and powdered sugar.

I want to try to mix it with mousseline and see if it works to “lighten” it a bit.

—ak

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Posted: 03 February 2012 05:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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CharlesT - 03 February 2012 06:24 PM
Sherrie - 02 February 2012 08:39 PM

“roux/gravy/flour”

So where can I find info on how to incorporate this into a regular buttercream?

Here’s one place:  http://www.joepastry.com/2011/heritage-a-k-a-boiled-a-k-a-flour-a-k-a-cooked-flour-a-k-a-gravy-a-k-a-cloudburst-frosting/

There is also Creme Mousseline, which is a cross between buttercream and flour-based pastry cream.  Most people whip it until it’s very light and fluffy.

Rose has a version in her Passion for Chocolate book, it’s called La Creme au Buerre and it’s on p.354.  There’s also a version in Healy-Bugat’s Art of the Cake.

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Posted: 03 February 2012 06:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Sherrie, what a great save, you’re a very thoughtful pastry maker!  Wish I had thought of that when I put too much liquid in a buttercream last year smile

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Posted: 03 February 2012 08:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Thanks Anne & Julie.  I’ll have to give that a try; it seems like a better way to bulk up a frosting….healthier than butter and not so fluffy as whipped egg whites.

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Posted: 04 February 2012 12:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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The rescued buttercream and Domingo worked well together.  I had the cake out several hours before serving and the frosting remained stable.  I, too, often find buttercreams intensely rich (especially Mouselline) and have started to use Silk Meringues more, but it is at least 1 step more work than mouselline and, as I’ve found, more finnicky.  Truthfully, I only gave the roux buttercream a chance due to my avoidance of icing sugar.  I think I will try the roux in some Mouselline to lighten it up and perhaps attempt a cream cheese variation—there was no discernable flour taste to my palate. 

@ Julie:  After all of the work making the buttercream, I couldn’t just eat it in place of ice cream smile  (Acutally, I could, but since it was INTENDED to be a buttercream…I had to try and rescue it!) Also, I must my hands on A Passion for Chocolate!!! That is the one book of Rose’s collection that I do not own! 

As far as the Domingo is concerned— a much better attempt than my previous one.  It was moist and fudgy, but very mellow in chocolatiness.  I used Hershey’s cocoa and perhaps that is the reason—next time I’d consider using a Dutched cocoa.  I did not come across any variations in leavening for using the Hershey’s cocoa—so I assume bp and bs levels remained the same?  It is a very tender cake and I think I do prefer cakes that are a bit “tougher”—if that makes any sense?  I may try again using a higher protein flour, altering mixing technique, or even subbing in a small amount of oil.  Anyways, I’m feeling very experimental in my kitchen these days, so perhaps a little project for me to tinker with once I nail down a cinnamon bun recipe and master the family “Cream Kuchen” recipe!

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Posted: 04 February 2012 09:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Sherrie - 04 February 2012 04:12 AM

... once I nail down a cinnamon bun recipe and master the family “Cream Kuchen” recipe!

What is your cream kuchen?  Is that like brioche with a pastry cream filling? 

Cinnamon bun- last time I made these I used Rose’s sweet potato brioche with better for bread flour, it was sublime.  No sweet potato flavor, but sunny golden color and very soft and light-textured.  That flour is so extensible, they rise very high, yet it still has enough gluten that they don’t collapse. 

I use a dark white sugar caramel with butter and a little cream for glazing the bottom of the pan (don’t like brown sugar caramel as much as the dark white sugar caramel), about 75% of the quanitity Rose uses to avoid them being too sweet.  And the filling is chopped dark chocolate and toasted chopped pecans.  The dough is brushed with beaten egg before putting on the chocolate and pecans.  Not too sweet, and good balance between chocolate and nuts.

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Posted: 04 February 2012 10:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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due to my avoidance of icing sugar

I used to avoid powdered sugar like the plague, too, but I have recently discovered—to my mind anyhow—that powedered sugar, itself, isn’t the powdered sugar “problem”—that “gritty mothfeel.”

I think the overly-sweet Crisco frostings are at fault.  Both the quantity of sugar—so much that no amount of toothpaste could ever hope to dislodge it—and the inability of the sugar to dissolve in Crisco are the real problems.

I’ve found that when I use powdered sugar in a butter-based frosting (with or without a roux, with or without cremam cheese, with or without anything else), if I don’t over sweeten it (or, if it is too sweet, add a roux), and if I wait a day to serve the cake (counter or refrigerator—or make the frosting the day before, whatever), the powdered sugar is competely dissolved, and the frosting is wonderful!

It’s still new to me—I still “faire la bouche” at it, but then I remember that “regular” sugar doesn’t work well in frosting, either, unless it’s treated right!!!

—ak

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Posted: 04 February 2012 12:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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@Julie:  The Cream Kuchen is a sweet enriched dough based topped with apples and then a custard is poured over top with a dusting of cinnamon.  It’s absolutely decadent—I love it out of the fridge!  I recently made it with Rose’s brioche, and while absolutely delicious—it was excessively rich—considering the custard was made with all whipping cream, a few eggs, and sugar.  I will revisit with a less rich dough…  My mom makes it regularly, but it’s always inconsistent.  Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s dry, etc.  I just want to develop a consistent recipe.  When I bake ultra-rich goods, I want them to be as good as possible, as eating calories without full enjoyment seems like a waste—so if I’m baking pans of Kuchen that are failures, it’s a waste!  Hence, my motivation to “perfect” the recipe.

As far as cinnamon buns go, I have my idea of what I want—I did a test with the brioche dough and found it too rich for my ideal “bun”.  Really, I just want a simple sweet dough that is soft and a filling of cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter.  I know there are many variations—and while sticky buns are ok, I’m not after a carmelly bun.  Anyway, I will try a small amount of xanthan gum in my next filling to try and keep it from melting out.  Also thought of just rolling up the dough with cinnamon and brown sugar and putting butter on as a glaze when I remove from the oven to try and keep the filling inside but still get a buttery flavour. 

@Anne:  I agree re: shortening, too!  It has terrible mouthfeel!  I generally avoid both icing sugar and shortening, but I was stuck having to use shortening—so I figured I would omit the icing sugar at the very least (I did, admittedly have to use it for the fondant, but I don’t eat fondant—it’s a decoration!).  Out of curiousity, does your American “roux” style buttercream develop a crust?  Nice to know it dissolves well if you wait a day!  And I agree, re: technique—it can be the solution to many challenges.

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Posted: 04 February 2012 12:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Out of curiousity, does your American ?roux? style buttercream develop a crust?

I am not a professional baker, so I’m not sure what an “official” American style roux buttercream would be, but if you make a roux buttercream using only real butter and (optional) cream cheese and (optional) nut butters, it will not develop a crust.  I can’t say if it would if it were heavily loaded with powdered sugar or not (to the sweetness level of most “crusty” frostings), but I expect not.  The roux also keeps the buttercream soft even when refrigerated—by that, I mean on a composed cake.  I can’t say it would be soft enough to spread cold if a whole bowl were refrigerated.


I wonder if a potato dough would make a nice soft cinnamon bun?  One thing I noticed when (ahem) buying cinnamon buns from a local bakery—big ones are much better than the small ones.  They get really fussy when I ask for big ones cut (about 6”) in 4 pieces rather than buying the small ones (about 2.5” - 3”), becuase they say they’re exactly the same, but the big ones are 600% better.  There’s a much larger “soft” section, whereas the smaller ones never have that pillow interior.

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Posted: 04 February 2012 12:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Sherrie - 04 February 2012 04:14 PM

I did a test with the brioche dough and found it too rich for my ideal “bun”.  Really, I just want a simple sweet dough that is soft and a filling of cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter.

Perhaps the kugelhopf dough in the Bread bible would work for you, it’s a lean brioche with milk. 

Your cream kuchen sounds amazing!  Is it a layer of soft yeast bread, then a layer of baked apples, then a layer of custard, all baked together?  Or does the custard get added after baking?  Pictures?

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Posted: 04 February 2012 01:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I wonder if a potato dough would make a nice soft cinnamon bun?

I think they may work.  I recall CharlesT suggesting egg yolks only as well.  I’m pretty sure I’ll find something that works.  Thought I should start with Brioche though and make modifications as needed. 

Your cream kuchen sounds amazing!  Is it a layer of soft yeast bread, then a layer of baked apples, then a layer of custard, all baked together?  Or does the custard get added after baking?

  It’s basically as you describe—a soft yeast bread rolled thin and in a sheet pan.  A layer of thin apples and then a custard poured over top and baked together.  I’s a fine balance between the amount of dough, right thickness of apples—and baking the right temperature and long enough so the custard sets but doesn’t curdle.  There is a peach tart in PPB that is similar.  Our family goes crazy over it!

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Posted: 04 February 2012 10:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Sounds dreamy!  Wish I had one now smile

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