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Mousseline Woes
Posted: 23 March 2009 03:15 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Sorry to post a issue that TCP explains thoroughly, but I’ve tried the Mousseline Buttercream recipe twice, and I can’t get it right.  Both attempts went wrong when beating the butter into the meringue:

First try: I added the butter tablespoon by tablespoon, and the icing got thin, then thickened, then became grainy.  I followed Rose’s instructions to increase the beating speed until smooth again before continuing with the butter.  This took about 4 minutes, deflating the egg whites and making the icing dense and buttery.

Second try:  The icing got grainy at the same point in the process, but i only increased the speed a bit, lest I deflate the meringue again.  The graininess didn’t go away, and I finished by folding it with a spatula to keep some air in.  This produced a lighter texture than the first try, but less smooth.

Rose warned against the butter being too soft or too warm; in both tries my butter was cool, maybe a few degrees cooler than room temperature.  Is it possible my butter was too cool?  Also, I waited til the meringue was completely cooled down before adding the butter. 

Please let me know what I might be doing wrong, and also if there’s a way to save my first two bathches, which have been sitting in the fridge since yesterday’s attempts.

Thanks.

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Posted: 23 March 2009 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hi Kacy - yes, the meringue base will deflate when the butter is incorporated, but if you keep beating it, it will become fluffier - never as fluffy as just the meringue though.

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Posted: 23 March 2009 03:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks, I will try beating longer next time.  Is there any danger at all in overbeating?

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Posted: 23 March 2009 03:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Well, eventually I suppose, but I’ve beaten it for very, very long periods of time (like when I’ve made larger batches - it takes quite a while for the larger amount of sugar syrup to cool).  I’d be worried about my mixer over heating before I’d worry about over beating my mousseline.
wink

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Posted: 23 March 2009 03:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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what speed on the mixer are you using?

When I make this in a KA 6 qt, I use speed 6 to beat the whites; then 8 when adding the syrup; and I go back to 6 while it cools, and then stay there when adding the butter.

What temp are you bringing the sugar syrup to?  You can add the syrup directly from the pot, you don’t have to pour it into a glass measure and add it incrementally; you can take it off the stove, then pour in a steady, thin stream directly into the running mixer.

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Posted: 23 March 2009 03:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Jeanne - 23 March 2009 06:51 PM

You can add the syrup directly from the pot, you don’t have to pour it into a glass measure and add it incrementally; you can take it off the stove, then pour in a steady, thin stream directly into the running mixer.

I agree.  I omit the measuring cup step completely as I find the syrup cools too quickly in it.  I pour directly from my sugar pot, in a thin steady stream, just like Jeanne.

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Posted: 23 March 2009 05:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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MOUSSALINE—my go to icing! Your issues sound like a room temperature thing. I use Rose’s recipe and it works like a charm on my Kitchen Aid. After beating egg whites (should be stiff and still a bit glossy) add hot syrup, then continue beating 4-5 minutes on medium speed 6 or 8 to cool mixture (until mixing bowl is only slightly warm), then add butter. I do not beat butter beforehand but I do add 1 T at a time. Also, when I’m really pressed for time I add butter straight from the fridge (cut into Tablespoons) without beating egg whites the extra 4-5 mins. Still comes out glossy, smooth and perfect!

To salvage your previous batch, remove bowl from fridge and allow to stand until room temp, then rebeat with whisk. And I hope you used a whisk throughout recipe? Good luck!

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Posted: 23 March 2009 08:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Kacy, so sorry to hear your woes, we have been there.

if you have grainy pieces of butter it is because the butter was too cold.  butter must be EXTREMELY soft, but still holds its shape (not in puddles).

hope you keep trying, as there is no other better.  Rose just told me that Mousseline is still her #1 on her upcoming new book!  and i can’t really say anymore about the new book.

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Posted: 23 March 2009 09:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Kacy, believe it or not, it sounds like you made mousseline correctly!  It is nervewracking to see it go through so many changes in volume and texture, but that’s what it does.

A few comments:

After beating the butter, I put it into the fridge, so that the edges get cooler but the middle stays at room temp.  Then when adding butter to the meringue, I take it from the colder edges first (helps cool the meringue). 

In my kitchen it usually takes longer than five minutes to cool a double batch of meringue (I always make a double batch of mousseline, freezing whatever I don’t use).

When adding butter, first the meringue deflates dramatically and thins.  Then, at some point (middle or end) during adding butter, it curdles (gets grainy).  I have never made a batch of mousseline that didn’t curdle.  And when I increase the speed and try to get it smooth again, it doesn’t really work.  So after some minutes (at least five) of beating, I continue to add butter. 

Once the butter is all in, if it is still curdled, beat it longer, it will come together into a smooth, creamy buttercream.

To rescue your first two batches, let them come fully up to room temp (this can take hours!), then try beating them until they emulsify and turn creamy/smooth.  Then you can freeze, or add flavorings and frost your cake.  If continued beating doesn’t work, then it could have been a sugar temp issue, but try the beating first.

Which cake and which flavor mousseline are you making?

Good Luck, I bet you’ll get the hang of it soon!

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Posted: 24 March 2009 04:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I’m making my mousseline with midori (honeydew) liquor and green tea powder.  It should come out with a subtle floral flavor from the honeydew and tea.  I’m planning to make a honey genoise to pick up on that floral-ness.  The chocolate portion will be chocolate butter cake with earl grey ganache.  (my friend the bride is obsessed with tea). 

I will try to recover the mousseline and/or make a new batch later this week.  Thanks for all the encouragement!

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Posted: 24 March 2009 05:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Wow Kacy, what an interesting combination of flavours. Good luck with your next batch of mousseline. I’m sure you will master it. It’s not that difficult once you get the hang of it. I promise.

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Posted: 24 March 2009 06:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I am at home today after some account meetings; I have a client coming in tonight for a consultation and decided to make a batch of buttercream instead of driving another 30 mins to get what I made yesterday at the shop.  At home I only have a KA 6 qt.

So I was able to take some measurements and hope it will help someone in the future.

The mixer was on speed 6 to beat the whites; and I brought the syrup to 240 before I poured it in (there are 12.5 oz whites in the mixer, then 3.5 oz sugar added at the right time); there’s something like 10 oz of water and 14 oz of sugar in the pot (you don’t have to be as careful about the water measurement, when the sugar gets to the right temp, it’s because the water has been boiled off and the concentration is right for adding to the meringue).

The temp of the butter - which I just warmed in the microwave in short bursts on a defrost cycle at very low - was between 65 and 68 degrees.  It was cool to the touch, but malleable (squishable smile if we’re getting technical!)  I don’t beat the butter before - I used to, but when I was in school, I asked the chef about it and she said it was not necessary - it aerates the butter but the results would not be different if I didn’t beat it first.  So, because for a very, very long time, I was the baker and the dishwasher, I stopped beating the butter first.

I stopped the mixer after a little while - usually to tell if it is cool enough, I put the inside of my wrist against the bottom part of the bowl.  If I can keep it there comfortably, I’ll start adding the butter.  So, the temp in the center of the meringue was 111 degrees when I stopped it and I decided to just start adding the butter.

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Posted: 24 March 2009 07:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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This is wonderful and so thoughtful of you Jeanne. I’m sure it will help those trying the mousseline for the first time. I do the inside of the wrist temperature test too. Something I learned when checking the temp. of the bath water when my kids were babies.

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Posted: 24 March 2009 07:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Yes, how very thoughtful Jeanne!!!  Btw, do you have the new 11-tine whip for your 6qt KA?  If so, do you like to use it when incorporating butter into your buttercream?  I find it gets glogged more than the standard whip.

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Posted: 24 March 2009 09:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Jeanne, I wonder if you also get the “ball of whites” stuck inside your KA 6QT whisk when making a double batch of mousseline?  It happens to me after I add the hot sugar syrup and the whites expand dramatically.  I have to push down the whites and stop the mixer to clear out the inside.  Do you beat at a higher speed when cooling the whites? 

And does your mousseline curdle?  I don’t start adding the butter until the whites cool down to below 90F, perhaps your warmer mixture doesn’t curdle so much?

Thanks so much for providing those details!

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Posted: 24 March 2009 11:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Wow!  Thanks Jeanne!  The extra details are very helpful.

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