Mrs. Elliott's Fluffy Whipped Frosting

Mrs. Elliott was my landlady the first two years I lived in town.  She and her husband were very kind to me while I was waiting for my teaching certification to be approved so I could get paid.  School started in September and it wasn't until the end November that I received a full paycheque, which thankfully included all the back pay that was due.  During that very lean time the Elliotts were patiently waiting for the rent due on the apartment.  Not many people would do that.  The rent was $200 but I could only afford to pay them fifty dollars each month because I was only receiving a small advance on my salary.  I guess they breathed a little easier once I paid them the back rent and assured them there would be no more interruptions in the payment schedule.  I know I was really happy to get a full cheque each payday.

The apartment was very convenient for me because it was next door to the school and was furnished with the essentials of a stove, refrigerator, table and chairs, living room sofa and a bed.   I wasn't long stocking the cupboards when the "big money" arrived and was soon baking and cooking up a storm for my new boyfriend, Don and for anyone else who happened to be visiting.

Mrs. Elliot must have smelled the aroma of my cooking achievements (and failures) wafting through the floorboards to the upstairs area of the house because one day she met me as I was coming through the door of the basement entrance with a recipe for a wonderful cake she'd eaten the night before at some party or church activity.  It wasn't actually the cake but the frosting that had been put on an ice cream angel food cake that had been served at the party.  She explained how the angel food cake had been layered with ice cream or some kind of custard and then frosted all over with this fluffy meringue frosting.  She encouraged me to try it and I must say it did sound like a  lovely company-type dessert to make. 

The recipe in Mrs. Elliott's handwriting except for my scrawl on the bottom.

The recipe languished in my recipe box until just a short time ago.  Many times I would take it out, read it and think, "I'll make that one day."  Well, "one day" came and I was very pleased with this soft, billowy, not too sweet icing.  It's really a boiled or a type of 7-minute frosting with the exception of no granulated sugar in the recipe.  Oh, there's sugar but it's in the form of corn syrup.  (Now don't get too bent out of shape.  Corn syrup is not the same as high fructose corn syrup.  You know about families.  There's the good cousins and the bad cousins. You can't even buy high fructose corn syrup in most supermarkets.) 

As Mrs. Elliott didn't give too many instructions on making this icing I took the liberty of adding to them.  I don't serve raw eggs in desserts (or in any recipe) and I don't think this recipe was meant to use the eggs raw so I used the method of heating the eggs and sweetener to 160 degrees F/71 degrees C, which kills any harmful bacteria.  Most of the time I just use pasteurized eggs whites which are even safer if you don't have a thermometer and they also eliminate the need to find something to do with the egg yolks.  

I've doubled the amounts so you can have enough to not only frost but fill a cake as well.  If you only want to cover a cake and use a different filling, use half the ingredients as in the original recipe.

Fluffy Whipped Frosting
2 egg whites
Dash of salt
1 cup white corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the egg whites, salt and corn syrup in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water.  Stir constantly until the thermometer reaches 160 degrees (or until the sugar is completely dissolved if using pasteurized eggs).  Transfer the hot egg white mixture to the bowl of your beater and beat until soft peaks form.  Add the vanilla and beat until medium firm peaks are formed.  Don't beat this too stiff because it will be too hard to spread.   This is enough to frost and fill two or three 8- or 9-inch layers.  

White corn syrup is clear with no colour to it.  If you can't find the clear corn syrup, use the regular stuff.  Using only the corn syrup and no sugar gives you a frosting that isn't quite as sweet as some, which is very nice as cakes are so sweet.  

I like to use liquid egg whites for this recipe.  Several brands are available and anything in a carton has been pasteurized.  You can find them in the supermarket by the carton eggs or in the dairy section.

If you don't have a double boiler, have no fear as you can improvise with a heat proof glass or stainless steel bowl set on a small saucepan of simmering water.

Once the egg whites and corn syrup are set over the hot water, stir constantly so the egg whites will not curdle.  Corn syrup or sugar will prevent the eggs from curdling only if they are stirred.

Bring the mixture to 160 degrees F/71 degrees C to destroy harmful bacteria.  This temperature is important if you are using raw egg whites.

Whip the eggs to a medium firm peak.  
Now you have a soft, billowy frosting reminiscent of marshmallow fluff.

Melt in your mouth good!
 I think Mrs. Elliott would have been pleased with the results of this recipe.


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