French Buttercream Frosting Is The Less Sweet Option For Richer Desserts

All buttercream frosting is not created equal. French buttercream isn't as sweet as traditional buttercream recipes, and the texture is thick and spreadable, like pastry cream — an ideal medium to pipe layers on top of decadent treats or fill spreads between luxuriously made cakes. French buttercream frosting might be dense, and it isn't as sweet as American and Russian buttercreams, but it has cemented its place in the world of tempting treats.

Yet while practiced and professional bakers know that egg whites can be whipped into a spreadable frosting to cover desserts, whipping egg yolks can help create a custard-like flavor that can even rival rich, creamy ice cream. The finesse and time required to make French buttercream can be worth it, however, and as hot, sugary syrup is poured over batches of whipped egg yolks, the silky finish of a perfectly decorated treat can be the goal set in the minds of focused pastry chefs.

A luxurious approach to decadent treats

Macarons are often filled with French buttercream because the rich, decadent filling perfectly complements crisp, chewy cookie shells. Brandy, bourbon, or rum can be used to flavor and loosen the egg yolks used to make French buttercream, and vanilla can add an earthy complexity to the overall flavor profile. This mixture of ingredients requires careful attention as it is stirred until the yolks have been cooked and the concoction turns into a smooth, thick syrup before being whipped into a foamy consistency in which cold butter is added until stiff peaks form. The result is a velvety, light spread that can be enhanced with chocolate, spices, or nuts to complement the baking project at hand. 

If you're looking for white icing to decorate your baked goods, however, the eggy ingredients of French buttercream do not lend to pure hues. Because of the egg yolks used to make the frosting, this buttercream can be tinted. Choose your frosting recipes depending on your desired result, and look to match the flavor, texture, and color of your culinary projects to build the decorated desserts of your dreams.