When I make that frosting now I use meringue powder, to avoid any possibility of undercooked eggs. (That doesn't help it hold up any better, though. It is still a 24-hour frosting.)
Here is a very helpful chart about frosting types:
It's for us, and we started on it last night. Knowing my husband and son, it will be gone by tonight.
You don't cook the eggs with this recipe. You 'bubble' the water/sugar/cream of tartar, then pour that into the beaten eggs whites/vanilla and continue to beat until fluffy. I don't know if the water mixture cooks the egg whites, but since it is pretty hot, it probably does. Never really thought about it. I just know that's always been my favorite frosting. It reminds me of marshmallow cream.
I think the risk of illness from raw eggs is very small, and perhaps getting smaller with regulations that went into effect this year. But after reading pennyjoshua's account of her hideous encounter with that illness I think I still prefer to eliminate any risk that is within my control.
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