RUM-FLAVORED ITALIAN MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM
- 5 egg whites
- 1 1/4 cups extra-fine granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2 to 4 tablespoons of dark rum (to taste)
Set out the ingredients and the equipment.
Separate the egg whites into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment. Measure 1 cup sugar and the water into a 1-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Gently stir with the candy thermometer to combine. Place the remaining 1/4 cup sugar into a small bowl and set aside. Cut the butter into tablespoon sized pieces and set aside in a medium bowl.
To make the sugar syrup, place the candy thermometer in the saucepan and heat the mixture over medium-high heat. Partially cover with a lid to capture the evaporating water-this helps to moisten the sides of the saucepan to prevent sugar crystals from forming.
With the mixer on high speed, begin whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks. When the peaks are stiff you have a meringue. Keep the mixer running and pour the 1/4 cup of sugar into the meringue.
Raise the heat under the sugar syrup to bring the syrup to 245 degrees, if it is not there already. When the syrup is at 245 degrees, remove the thermometer and slowly pour the syrup into the meringue.
After 1 or 2 minutes reduce the mixer speed to medium for 3 or 4 minutes, or until the meringue is cooled. Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Increase the mixer speed to high for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the butter is fully incorporated. Finally add in the dark rum and spread onto your pound cake. Decorate as desired. Note: I used fresh mint and Turbinado sugar.
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