Saving Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Swiss meringue buttercream can be highly temperamental, and it’s not uncommon for it to go 'off track'. But, it can ALWAYS be saved!
One of the common 'issues' when making Swiss meringue buttercream is that it’s prone to curdling (as in this pic). This happens if you add cold butter (or even butter that still holds a chill) to your room temperature meringue mixture. The more butter you add the more 'split' it will look with the butter forming small lumps throughout the mixture. It will also lose all its initial volume and become quite 'wet'.
To fix it, you want to slowly, and carefully, bring up the overall temperature of the buttercream. There are two easy ways to do this:
- Place one or two tablespoons of the buttercream mixture into a separate microwave proof bowl and microwave on High for 1-3 seconds, depending on how cold the buttercream is, then stir. When it returns to a smooth consistency (don’t worry if it is quite thin) add it back into the curdled buttercream and continue to beat or whisk (depending on your recipe). If the mixture doesn’t come back together, and become silky smooth in texture, after a minute of whisking/beating then repeat this process again until it does. You can then continue to add any remaining butter.
- Alternatively, place the bowl of buttercream in a sink of warm water so the water reaches about a quarter of the way up the side of the bowl. Stir frequently for 5-10 minutes to gently increase the temperature of the buttercream before beating/whisking. Again, if the buttercream doesn’t come back together after beating/whisking for a minute or so, repeat the warming process before trying again. If using this technique, make sure the water isn't too warm or the butter will start to melt which can cause your buttercream to then become 'soupy'… more on the solution for that problem another time!