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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Heritage (Cooked Flour) Frosting

I'm not a fan of super sweet frosting unless it's on something that's not very sweet (like Lofthouse-style cookies.)  There has to be balance.  So when I heard about cooked flour frosting, reported to be less sweet, I wanted to try it.  It was used during the depression and war years to extend expensive and hard-to-find butter and sugar, but is also the traditional frosting for Red Velvet Cake.

Here's what I used:

4 tablespoons flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1-1 1/4 cup sugar (granulated or powdered)
2 teaspoons vanilla or other flavoring

Put the flour in a small pan and slowly add the milk*, whisking all the while.  Cook over medium heat until the mixture reaches a boil. After about 30 seconds of full boil, the mixture is as thick as it’s going to get. Allow it to cool about ten minutes, then apply plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the mixture. Let it cool another fifteen minutes or so, then put the saucepan in the refrigerator for about an hour.  At the end of that time, it should be a thick, pudding-like consistency and retain its shape when scooped.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat about 4 minutes until very light and fluffy.  With the mixer running, beat in the milk mixture.  Beat for about another minute until you have a sweet and silky faux buttercream.  If it looks curdled or broken, follow the golden rule of buttercream and just keep beating until it’s where you want it.  Beat in the vanilla.

*Alternatively, you can cook the sugar with the milk and flour in order to fully dissolve the granules.  In this case, your roux will be more soupy and could result in a softer frosting.

Conclusion:  This frosting was delicious!  It has a very light and whipped consistency, and the pronounced flavor is butter.  (The whole point to a buttercream, right?)  I was surprised at my desire to add sugar, but the cake I was making that time was not very sweet either.  The only downside is that it does not hold up well in heat -- best to keep chilled.  This will become my go-to frosting from now on.

Recipe:  Heritage Frosting via Joe Pastry

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