Yield: about 2 ½ cups buttercream
“Back to Baking”, pp. 170
For New Year’s Eve I offered to bring a dessert for our hosts since they were taking care of everything else. I wanted to make a beautiful-looking cake that would be tasty as well, and this is the chocolate hazelnut* buttercream required for the recipe. This is a more involved buttercream that requires more steps than simply whipping eggs with sugar and butter, but I enjoyed making it and the flavour was delicious. I did find however that it was too salty*, so I would recommend using ¼ teaspoon of salt instead. This may have something to do with the fact that I used whisky instead of the sweeter Frangelico liqueur or brandy though, so if using those you may want to start with ¼ teaspoon, taste it and add more salt if necessary.
- 3 oz (90 g) semisweet chocolate
- 2 oz (60 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 5 egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons Frangelico or brandy *
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt *
- In a glass or metal bowl, melt together the semisweet and bittersweet chocolate over a pot of barely simmering water, stirring until melted. Set aside. Note: If using a substitute for bittersweet chocolate, add the sugar and/or cocoa powder in this bowl.
- Using a hand or stand mixer ideally, mix the egg yolks with ¼ cup of sugar until they are pale and have doubled in volume, about 3 minutes.
- In a small saucepot, bring the remaining ¼ cup of sugar, water and lemon juice to a boil over high heat, and cook uncovered, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pot with water, until it reaches a temperature of 238°F (114°C).
- While beating at slow speed, carefully pour the hot sugar down the side of the bowl with the yolks. Once all of the sugar has been added, increase the speed to high and beat until cool, about 6 minutes.
- Beat in the melted chocolate, then beat in the butter a few pieces at a time.
- Beat in the Frangelico or brandy *, the vanilla and the salt.
- Use the buttercream at room temperature. It can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated. If doing so, just pull it out of the refrigerator to warm it up to room temperature and beat until it is smooth and spreadable.
- I did not have bittersweet chocolate so used instead unsweetened chocolate. Semisweet chocolate could also be used as a substitute, provided that you add the appropriate amount of sugar and/or cocoa powder to compensate.
- Frangelico is a hazelnut liqueur. Since I possessed neither Frangelico nor brandy, I used whisky instead. I do think it enhanced the flavor of the buttercream without being too much, but just keep in mind that if you do not use Frangelico it is no longer a chocolate hazelnut buttercream, but just a brandy- or whisky-flavored chocolate buttercream. Still tasty, but not quite the same I imagine.
- I used the suggested ½ teaspoon of salt but the buttercream was too salty. Not so salty as to make it inedible, but almost. I would decrease this amount to ¼ teaspoon. I do however wonder if the choice of alcohol would affect the saltiness of the buttercream. Please keep this in mind when adding the salt at the very last step of making the buttercream.