This is an old chestnut! I've been making this recipe for over 30 years. One ingredient that is missing is salt. You need to add a couple of nice, big pinches in order to counteract the blandness which shortening imparts. Measure flour into your saucepan with the salt, then whisk in the milk, little by little, to banish lumps. After it has been cooked (low heat, whisking constantly) long enough that it starts to boil (this has to be done in order to activate the flour's full thickening power, thereby eliminating an unpleasant "floury" taste) remove from the heat, and press a piece of plastic wrap right onto the surface of your paste. This is the best way to make sure your paste doesn't form a "skin" as the paste cools. The sugar should be added in a very slow, very tiny stream in order to incorporate it sufficiently, then the mixture should be beaten vigorously for 5-10 minutes, depending on the power of your mixer, to eliminate grittiness. Then incorporate your chilled paste. Add your flavoring (I add a dash of lemon and orange extracts to the 2 tsp vanilla for a beautifully complex finish) and beat for another few minutes. Not the heavy texture of your conventional buttercream, but, as others have noted, more of a whipped cream kind of texture. Light, luscious, not too sweet. It's the perfect finish for any cake. Best not to attempt to decorate with it, however, as it's not as sturdy as a conventional decorator buttercream. This is always served to raves.
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This is an old chestnut! I've been making this recipe for over 30 years. One ingredient that...