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Seven minute frosting has been around since the early 1900s, and probably before that. Pastry chefs know this type of frosting as a Swiss Meringue. To make the unique texture this frosting is known for, egg whites and sugar are combined and beaten over simmering water, to dissolve the sugar and achieve a very light, fluffy texture. The frosting must be used promptly, because it firms up as it sits and cools.
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
1/3 cup (2 5/8 ounces) cold water
2 egg whites
2 teaspoons light corn syrup or 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
In the top of a double boiler, combine the sugar, water, egg whites, corn syrup or cream of tartar, and the pinch of salt. Beat with an electric mixer set at low speed for 30 seconds, then set the pan over boiling water (the pan shouldn't touch the water). Beating at high speed, cook the frosting for about 7 minutes, or until it's stiff and glossy. Remove it from the heat, add the vanilla, and beat an additional 2 minutes. Yield: Enough frosting to cover a 10-inch tube or 2 or 3-layer cake.