Tag Archives: European buttercreams

Swiss and Italian Buttercreams

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Yellow Birthday CakeMany years ago when I realized that pastry was to be a major focus in my life, I was fortunate to have Andre Gotti, a French pastry chef as my mentor. Although I had no training except watching my grandmother and mother make pastries that were unparalleled – even in France- Andre saw someone with a burning desire to learn.  My mother made croissants, Schaum Tortes and Dobos Torte to name a few, long before many people in America heard of them.  I used to watch my mother and grandmother make phyllo from scratch and pull it out so thinly we could read a newspaper through it.  In fact, the only time my grandmother was ever cross with me was when I sat on the resting phyllo that was covered on a chair.  We had special table cloths that covered a big round table (corners would tear the pastry).  It was my job to sweep up the paper thin crumbs that fell to the floor while being pulled.  When I talk about this, I guess my interest in pastry is not such a mystery.  I should also share that my mother and grandmother were from the now defunct country of Yugoslavia.  What I remember most, is how they would chatter away in their native tongue, while I watched and waited for the phyllo to tear, which is never, ever did. Continue reading

All Manner of Buttercreams

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.
Buttercream blog photo

Key ingredients for European butter creams

Italian, Swiss and French buttercreams have long been the finish that defined upscale cakes and wedding cakes. The Italian and Swiss buttercreams get their name from the type of meringue on which they are mounted.  They have also been one of the most feared techniques in pastry making.  But I don’t know why!  They mainly consist of eggs of some kind, sugar and butter.  Although they do require more steps than the traditional American powdered sugar based frosting, the result is a smooth emulsion that literally melts on your tongue.  In the next few blogs, we are going to look at, not only the Italian, Swiss and French buttercreams, but also one based on creme anglaise and the American frosting, while sometimes a buttercream and sometimes not. I reserve the word buttercream for finishes using actual butter, not margarine or a plastic shortening like crisco.  Those are frostings to me. Continue reading