1 cup egg whites (about 8 eggs)
1 pound sugar (2 cups plus 2T)
2 t vanilla extract
20 ounces (1 pound plus 4 ounces) unsalted butter
YOU WILL NEED:
A stand mixer or a lot of arm strength to hold up a hand mixer.
- A 4 qt sauce pan - fill it with 2-3 inches of water and bring to a simmer
stainless steel mixing bowl (or ideally the mixing bowl from your stand
mixer ) - set it over the pot with the simmering water. The water
cannot touch the bottom of the bowl. this double boiler set up
is called a BAIN MARIE in the pastry kitchen
Fill a 4 qt sauce pan with 2-3 inches of water and bring to a simmer.
Measure into the stainless steel bowl of your stand mixer:
- 1 cup egg whites (about 8 eggs)
- 1 pound sugar (about 2 cups plus 2 T)
Whisk whites and sugar together really well, then set the bowl over the simmering water. Continue to whisk for about 5-10 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is pretty warm - nearly hot to the touch. (To check it, rub a bit between your fingers - if you feel any sugar granules, keep cooking until it feels smooth).
As soon as the sugar is all dissolved, quickly transfer the bowl to
the stand mixer and whisk with the whisk attachment on a medium-high speed. You can leave it to spin for a good 5 minutes (maybe a little longer). it's gonna get white and cool and increase in volume (close to double). While it's spinning, chop the butter into smaller chunks.
Once the egg whites look like a nice stiff meringue, add a splash of
vanilla extract and then start adding the butter. do it kind of
slowly, like a chunk at a time over about 5-10 minutes, until you've added it all - add one and mix for a few seconds until it disappears and then add another. Depending on lots of things (including planetary alignment) sometimes it comes together very slowly and looks HORRIBLE for 10-15 minutes. Don't worry - it always comes together in the end - just keep mixing.
Basically, it's done when you think it looks gorgeous. You can add
some flavorings or colors if you like - just do it to taste.
Check out this site for pix and further explanation: