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Filtering by Category: misc

Russian Buttercream

Patricia Reitz

 Russian Buttercream - ButterYum —

Russian Buttercream - ButterYum —

There are a number of popular buttercreams in the world. Swiss, Italian, French, and American are all fairly well known, but Russian buttercream is just starting to become known in the baking world. How does is differ from the others?

Each kind of buttercream can be flavored in various ways, but basically Italian, Swiss, and French buttercreams are made with a variety of cooked sugar syrups. They also require the use of a thermometer to ensure their respective sugar syrups reach the proper temperature (with the exception of French Buttercream, which doesn’t always require a thermometer - although it’s highly recommended for those under 5, over 80, or immune-impaired).

American Buttercream is by far my least favorite - truth be known, I don’t even think it should be called buttercream, but it’s popular with many because it’s so fast and easy to prepare, and does not require the use of a thermometer - you just dump confectioner’s sugar and butter in a bowl and mix them together.

And finally, Russian Buttercream. Russian Buttercream is as easy to make as American (actually easier), but it has the same silky smooth texture and depth of flavor as Italian, Swiss, and French. Great, great stuff. I hope you’ll give it a try.

To recap, here are the various buttercreams and how they differ:

  • Italian: made by combining a hot sugar syrup with beaten egg whites and softened butter (my personal favorite). It has a silky smooth texture, delicate flavor, and is very stable at room temperature for extended periods of time. You must use a thermometer when making Italian Meringue Buttercream.

  • Swiss: made by heating sugar and egg whites together before whipping, cooling, and adding softened butter. It has a silky smooth texture, delicate flavor, and is fairly stable at room temperature, but not quite as stable as Italian Meringue Buttercream. You must use a thermometer when making Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

  • French: made by combining a hot sugar syrup with beaten egg yolks and softened butter. It has a silky smooth texture and delicate flavor, but it’s is a little softer than Italian or Swiss Buttercream and is not very stable at room temperature. Not all recipes for French buttercream call for the use of a thermometer, but it’s recommended when feeding those under 5, over 80, or the immune-impaired.

  • American: made with softened butter and confectioner’s sugar. It’s texture is extremely gritty and the flavor is extremely sweet. It’s gross and disgusting and I cannot recommend you make it… ever.

  • Russian: made with just two ingredients… chilled sweetened condensed milk and butter. That’s it. There’s no need for a thermometer because sweetened condensed milk contains all the sugar you need and it’s already been cooked. The texture of Russian Buttercream is silky smooth. It’s pretty stable at room temperature too.

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So today my Russian Buttercream is actually going to be a Russian-Mexican fusion because I’ll be using dulce de leche in place of traditional sweetened condensed milk.

For decades home cooks would make dulce de leche by simmering unopened cans of sweetened condensed milk for hours until the milk inside would caramelize. Most people did this successfully, but there were always stories of those who were not so successful. I don’t know about you, but the thought of a can of sticky, molten caramel exploding all over my kitchen kept me from ever trying. Thankfully, at some point, sweetened condensed milk manufacturers decided to assume the risk for us, and home cooks the world over rejoiced.

Ok, that might be a stretch, but yay!

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Start with room temperature butter, about 70F.

A hand mixer works well when making a small batch of this buttercream, but you’ll want to use a stand mixer for larger batches.

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Whip the butter for 2-3 minutes until it’s light and fluffy (the photo above is after about 1 minute).

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Here we are after 3 full minutes - see how light the color of the butter is?

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Time to add the chilled dulce de leche - be sure it’s well chilled to keep the butter from getting too warm.

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Whip them together until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as needed. You’ll want to taste it carefully and add some fine table salt to taste - just enough to highlight the butter and caramel flavors.

If you’re a fan of salted caramel, sprinkle the finished buttercream with flaked or coarse salt just before serving. Yum!

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Well, that’s all there is to it. Super, super simple, don’t you think? Next up, I’ll be sharing a fun way to use this buttercream. Until then, have a great day.

Items used to make this recipe:


Russian Buttercream w/Dulce de Leche

makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound (226g) unsalted butter at room temperature (70F)

  • 1/2 pound (226g) canned dulce de leche, chilled

  • fine table salt to taste

Directions

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, beat room temperature butter using a hand mixer for 2-3 minutes, until light in color and very fluffy.

  2. Add chilled dulce de leche and continue beating with a hand mixer for 1 minute.

  3. Taste the mixture carefully and add just enough salt to highlight the butter and caramel flavors; continue whipping for another minute or two, scraping the bowl if needed.

Note: to make salted caramel variation, sprinkle flaked or coarse salt on top of buttercream when serving.

Onigiri

Patricia Reitz

 Onigiri - ButterYum

Onigiri - ButterYum

One of my daughters is a Japanophile and she loves to introduce us to Japanese foods that are completely unfamiliar to us.  Foods like these onigiri (oh-nee-gee-dee), a rice ball or sorts.  They're kind of a rice sandwich filled with something savory like chicken or tuna salad.  The salty filling pairs so beautifully with the rice and a strip of nori is wrapped around for flavor and color contrast.  They're easy to make in the palm of your hand, but the triangular molds we used are even more fun.  Here's how they're made.

Start with about 3 cups of cooked rice.  I usually cook my rice on the stovetop, but my daughter loves any excuse to pull out the rice cooker. 

 how to make onigiri, japanese rice balls - how to photos

Sushi rice is the typical rice used to make onigiri, but any rice that will stick together when compressed will work.  When you're shopping, look for Japanese medium or short grain rice. 

 how to make onigiri - recipe with how to photos

As I said, you can form these in the palm of your hands, but using onigiri molds is kind of fun.  This set includes two sizes.

 onigiri filling - japanese rice balls, recipe and how to photos

You'll also need a savory filling.  Today we're using this rotisserie chicken salad.  If you're interested in my yummy recipe, here it is.

 how to make onigiri, japanese rice balls - recipe and how to photos

You'll also need nori sheets.  They're the same sheets you might use to make sushi. 

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Cut the sheets into 1-inch wide strips that are 3.5 to 4 inches long.

Alrighty, time to make these adorable onigiri.  Keep a small bowl of water nearby to dip your fingers into.  Sticky rice won't stick to your fingers if they're damp.

 how to make onigiri, o-musubi, nigirimeshi (japanese rice balls) - recipe with how-to photos

Press a tablespoon or two of rice into the bottom half of an onigiri mold, pressing it across the bottom and up the sides, leaving an indentation for the filling.

 how to make onigiri, o-musubi, nigirimeshi (japanese rice balls) - recipe with how-to photos

Add a tablespoon or so of tuna salad or chicken salad.

 how to make onigiri, o-musubi, nigirimeshi (japanese rice balls) - recipe with how-to photos

Cover the filling with more rice.

 how to make onigiri, o-musubi, nigirimeshi (japanese rice balls) - recipe with how-to photos

Fill the mold to the top.

 how to make onigiri, o-musubi, nigirimeshi (japanese rice balls) - recipe with how-to photos

Place the lid on top and press gently to squeeze everything together.

 how to make onigiri, o-musubi, nigirimeshi (japanese rice balls) - recipe with how-to photos

Gently unmold and place formed onigiri on a strip of nori.

 how to make onigiri, o-musubi, nigirimeshi (japanese rice balls) - recipe with how-to photos

Pull the ends of the nori up to wrap the onigiri.

 how to make onigiri (japanese rice balls) - recipe with how-to photos

Ta-da!  That's all there is to it.  Now you're ready to dig in. 

 how to make onigiri, o-musubi, nigirimeshi (japanese rice balls) - recipe with how-to photos

Enjoy! 

Items used to make this recipe:


Onigiri

makes 8-12

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked sushi rice (or any rice that sticks together when compressed)
  • 1 cup tuna or chicken salad (try my rotisserie chicken salad recipe here)
  • 1 sheet nori seaweed, cut into 1-inch wide strips, then cut each strip in half to make 2 shorter strips (each should be 1-inch wide by 3.5 to 4 inches long).

Directions

  1. Place a few tablespoons of rice in onigiri mold, pressing across the bottom and sides of mold, but leaving an indentation for the filling.
  2. Place a tablespoon of savory filling like tuna salad or chicken salad in center of rice; cover with more rice until mold is filled.
  3. Place lid on mold and gently press to compress rice; remove lid and carefully unmold by pressing the release tab on the back of the mold.
  4. Place nori strip on table, shiny side down, and place onigiri on strip as shown; pull both ends of nori up on each side of the onigiri and serve immediately.

All Butter Pie Crust

Patricia Reitz

 DIY All Butter Pie Crust - ButterYum

DIY All Butter Pie Crust - ButterYum

I know a lot of people buy prepackaged pie crusts for "convenience" sake, but I'm here to show you how easy it is to make your own less expensive and MUCH better tasting crust from scratch... and in less time than it takes to drive to the grocery store.  Plus you can make it way ahead of time.  I mean, talk about convenient!

The process here is so simple.  Just place flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and give them a whirl.

 All Butter Pie Crust Tutorial - ButterYum

Then add COLD unsalted butter and pulse, pulse, pulse...

 How to make your own pie crust from scratch - ButterYum

Pulse until the butter pieces are the size of peas.  About 5-10 pulses.

 how to make your own pie crust from scratch - ButterYum

Then turn the processor on and drizzle in ICE COLD water until the mixture starts to form clumps that will stick together when compressed.  CAUTION:  do not allow any ice to fall into the processor - doing so will result in gooey, sticky holes in your crust.

Note:  depending on how humid your climate is and how much moisture your flour contains, you may not need to use all the water.

 simple pie crust recipe with photos - ButterYum

This is exactly what the dough should look like.  

 Scratch Pie Crust Tutorial - ButterYumhow to mahow

Shape dough into a flat disk (two if making the double crust recipe), wrap well in plastic wrap or place in a zip-top bag and chill for at least 1 hour (or up to 3 days) before rolling.

Note:  if you're not going to use the dough within 3 days, freeze it for up to a m0nth.  To thaw:  place wrapped dough in refrigerator overnight before rolling.  

 how to make the best pie crust from scratch - how to photos - ButterYum

Happy Baking!

Single All Butter Pie Crust

makes one 9-inch crust

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons ice cold water

Double All Butter Pie Crust

makes two 9-inch crusts

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 16 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 6-8 tablespoons ice cold water

Directions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade, place flour, salt, and sugar; pulse several times to combine.
  2. Add cold cubed butter and pulse processor on and off until the butter pieces are the size of peas.
  3. Turn the machine on and drizzle ice water slowly until small clumps of dough start to stick together.  You'll know you've added enough water when the moistened clumps hold together in the palm of your hand when squeezed.
  4. Transfer to plastic wrap or zip-top storage bag and press into a round disk shape (two if making the double crust recipe); chill for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days before rolling.  Dough can also be frozen for up to a month.  

Note

  • To prebake pie shell (blind bake),  Place pie dough in pie plate, crimp edges and chill in freezer for 20 minutes or the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 375F.  Crumple a piece of parchment paper that's large enough to fill the pie plate, including the sides.  Fill the parchment with rice (I don't like to use beans because they can't be cooked after baking, but rice can).  Place chilled pie crust on half sheet pan and place it on the center rack of preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the parchment and rice and return to oven for 5 minutes.  Cool completely before filling.
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