Buttercream incident

Joined Oct 9, 2002
Last night I made my first attempt at Pierre Herme's version of boiled sugar buttercream. It didn't go too well and I was curious if any of you had thoughts as to what happened. I'm suspecting my KitchenAid (and me) were the culprits...

First, my bad: instead of using the whisk, I had the paddle in place as I poured the sugar syrup into the yolks. It wasn't until after about 5 solid minutes of high speed rumbling that I realized what I did. What can I say...it was late :(

Anyhow, after I realized, I swapped out for the whisk and began whipping away, waiting for the mixture to cool. Well, after about 10 more minutes, the bowl actually started heating up. Thinking I was crazy, I let it go a few minutes more. I've made Italian meringue enough to know that it will cool, just be patient.

But it kept on heating, holding a steady 120 degrees. I tried holding ice packs to the bottom of the bowl (now realizing why they have an ice bath attachment). Eventually, I pulled it and mixed with a wooden spoon until it cooled, but at that point, the sugar-yolk mixture was like pulled taffy.

After it was cooled, I managed to crank it through the food processor and get it to at least resemble buttercream. Good thing this was the test batch.

So my question...on the next run, will it cool properly if I start with the right attachment in place? Or is the batter so thick that it'll overheat anyway? I don't know how Herme's recipe compares to others, but it's 3 cups of 245 degree sugar syrup into 7 egg yolks.

Joined Feb 21, 2001
Just off the top of my head, it seems like a lot of syrup, which is several degrees too hot.
Joined Jul 23, 2002
Was it 3 cups of sugar before you melted it or after? 3 cups of melted sugar is too much and would result in your sticky hot gooey stiff taffy like result. 3 cups of sugar melted turns into something like 1 or 1 and 1/2 cups of syrup. Big difference there.
Also 245 sounds a little high, like maybe you should pull it off the heat at 240 because the tempurature will carry up some.
And when did the butter come in to the pickture?

Hope this helps,
Joined Mar 6, 2001
I don't have his recipe in front of me to double check your amounts and temp.s but I have made his butter cream before with-out any problems. So somewhere you took a left when you should have taken a right.

By the way his butter cream isn't any better then anyone elses. AND whenever your doing a syrup remember it will continue cooking off the heat in your pan as your pouring into your eggs. It effects smaller amounts of syrup very quickly!
In smaller recipes I always pull my syrups short of the actual degree the recipe calls for to compensate for this.

Also, although a paddle isn't recommended.......it would have worked just fine if you had your speed up.
Joined Oct 9, 2002
The recipe was 3 cups of sugar plus 1 cup water, plus pulp from a vanilla bean boiled to 245. That gets beat into the 7 yolks until cool. Then 17 oz. of butter gets slowly beat into the cooled sugar-yolk mixture.

Has anyone else had their KA overheat and actually transfer that heat into the mixture, or is that not really possible? It's what I suspected since the shaft and beaters were real hot (not just the KA housing).
Joined May 29, 1999
You are not crazy.
you are making a pate a bombe and adding butter, heaven in a mixing bowl!

try again using the whisk. whisk your egg yolks fluffy while boiling syrup. pour syrup in on medium speed. let the mixture mix for a while, it will puff up and then get taffy like. if you want to add the ice bath, do so after a 5 min whip. when cool, add butter.
if it does not get cool, add your ice bath.
if it gets too cool and you make yellow cottage cheese, heat it back up over bain marie and whip some more.

whipping at a high speed creates friction, slow down after about 5 min, switch to a paddle and you should cool down.You can add your butter with the paddle.

Have fun!:bounce:
Joined Mar 6, 2001
Michele, I just visited your site.


I LOVE you color choice and type faces........VERY, Very WELL DONE!

I'd buy from you in a second. Very classie!

And that s'mores tart.......yum, I want a taste.

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