We all love the fact that the Thermomix comes with very few add on gadgets. At least I do. Long gone are the days of drawers full of random accessories to go with your varying kitchen appliances, which usually ended up lost or forgotten and largely unused.
Thermomixers have but three accessories with which to wrangle. Luckily
‘The Butterfly’ is one very sophisticated piece of equipment.
In fact Thermomix legend has it that before the latest TM5 came out, there was a guy who wrote an entire thesis on the Butterfly and all it’s benefits. Thesis or not, I have my own preferences for using the Butterfly, or not. And some of them may surprise you.
If you have had a Thermomix demo you will know that the Butterfly is inserted post ice/fruit blending into the sorbet mixture of choice, usually with an egg white or dash of cream and then the sorbet is whisked into beautiful snowy mounds of deliciousness. This my friends is aeration. It is a very mechanical method to enhance mouth feel and increase the volume with the incorporated air. In commercial sorbet creation this is done by churning or by the use of additives. Butterfly WIN.
Meringue will always require aeration and although many have failed in creating a Thermomix meringue, there has been loads of trial and error through the years with great success. (I am automatically thinking of the Killer Vanilla Ice cream recipe, which starts as a glossy meringue before becoming a perfect scoop, all thanks to the Butterfly!)
Sponge cakes really need no chemical aeration if the Butterfly is in play. (Classic Sponge Cake in Tenina’s America cookbook) Eggs and sugar are whipped to submission then the flour is just folded in. Grandma would be proud.
My Fluffy Pancakes recipe also aerates the egg whites before adding other ingredients to create a foamy light batter that couldn’t be achieved without the Butterfly.
Simply put, emulsification is the combination of two ingredients which do not ordinarily mix easily. A bit like the two families at a wedding…it takes a bit of whipping (and potentially some wine) to get the blend happening!
Usually an oil or fat (like egg yolk or butter) will not blend with water or a broth without some serious whipping. Insert the Butterfly and once again, you are cooking like a pro.
The best thing about making your own hollandaise or mayonnaise is being able to make them from scratch with none of the usual additives that are in the purchased variety. A vinaigrette is also an emulsion, oil in vinegar, that should be silky smooth and combined without too much separation. Achieved easily with 2 minutes and a Butterfly!
It is time to discover hollandaise and mayonnaise. Don’t be afraid. The Butterfly is your friend.
This one may surprise you. Whilst I do not use the Butterfly when cooking risotto, which is quite a common use for the Butterfly, I do use it to cook meat and quite often. (Sticky Pork Noodle Salad recipe)
When I first got my Thermomix, my kids were resistant to meals cooked in it because they maintained that everything tasted the same and that the texture of meat was just over minced and unpalatable. To be fair, I secretly felt the same. Not to be thwarted, I knew there was an answer to both complaints. Firstly add more flavours and then miraculously, add the Butterfly. I confess the attachment requires some serious cleaning after cooking meat, but the texture is so superior that this is a small price to pay. Try it. You can thank me later.
Sounds simple right? Yet people accidentally make butter all the time! Here are a few tips for you when it comes to cream and well, making butter.
Always have a cold Thermomix bowl. Make sure you haven’t just washed it in hot water, I often put my bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes just to get the chill factor happening.
Also make sure your cream is chilled. Slightly less than chilled cream is always going to present problems.
Close to code cream will turn into butter faster than fresh cream, so you should in fact purchase according to use by date depending on what you want the cream for.
When whipping, start checking your cream after 10 seconds. I know that sounds crazy, and sometimes cream may take up to 2 minutes to reach the consistency you are after, but the difference between fluffy mounds of whipped cream on top of your Chocolate Cream Pie and chunks of butter floating around in buttermilk, can be just a matter of seconds. Over time you will become familiar with the differences in sound as the cream whips and is ready. In the meantime, check it!
For desserts, under whipping is preferable, as the whipped cream will become more solid in the fridge. But that could just be my personal preference, (or my OCD, take from that tip what you will!!)
If you are making butter, intentionally that is, then there is no need to check whipping times. Just let it rock and roll. You should stand by though because as the fats and liquids separate, the Thermomix will start rocking, literally.
If you look underneath your blades, you will see a small blade symbol on one blade. This is the highest profile blade and is the chief blade. When inserting the Butterfly, for best results you should set the Butterfly to the left of this highest blade. It doesn’t lock exactly, but it has less movement when put in this position and is less likely to come off when you are in the middle of something.
If it does come off, you must stop the machine immediately and reattach.
Never use the Butterfly on any speed above 4. You know this already. If there is a recipe out there that goes above speed 4 with the Butterfly in place, it is in error. Don’t do it.
Wash the Butterfly in warm soapy water, put it in the dishwasher or when you have used it for meat, you should give it a good scrub with a brush ensuring you have removed all pieces of meat thoroughly. Then dry as usual.
Last but not least, the Butterfly is safer to lick than the blades. Just saying.