“Desserts are the Fairy tale to the kitchen-a-happily-ever-after to supper.”
Soft as a cloud, sweet as sugar. Kinda like softer pavlova without the sickly sweet tough meringue. Carefully rolled and filled with custard and fairy dusted with icing sugar. We call it Brazo de Mercedes which in Spanish is translated as “arm of Mercedes”. Actually it means “Arm of Our Lady of Mercy” in Spanish, from Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, a common devotional title for Mama Mary, mother of Jesus. It dates back to the Spanish colonial period. The Spaniards colonised the Philippines for over 300 years. No wonder, we were greatly influenced by their cuisine. It is believed to have been the result of the repurposing of the discardrd egg yolks from the use of egg whites for mortar and plaster in Spanish colonial architecture. Some churches are built using egg whites. A little bit of history there.
This is one of the easiest but tricky dessert to make. We would always have this in special occasions. The ingredients are basic and are mostly found in everyone’s pantry. Can you make a guess? It’s obviously eggs, just by the colour of it. Just whip a few eggs, add milk and whip a bit of love and there you go, an easy dessert in no time. This is quite versatile, you can replace the custard with purple yam, coconut, chocolate, basically whatever you please. Just don’t over do. We like traditional recipes. Tag and follow us on Instagram if you tried making these. It’s great with a hot cup of tea. Happy Baking! xoxo
BRAZO DE MERCEDES
10 large eggs (yolks and whites separated)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
14 ounces condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
Separate egg yolks from egg whites. In two medium sized bowls, separate the egg whites from the egg yolks. Be careful, as some egg might be off and you have to throw the whole thing and start over again. Oftentimes, we prepare a third small bowl and separate the eggs one by one before transferring each to the medium bowl, making sure each eggs are fresh.
Add cream of tartar to the egg whites. Add sugar gradually and beat using an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Continue mixing until the texture is semi-firm. You know it’s ready when you turn the bowl upside down and the mixture remains intact.
Use a rectangular baking pan. Prepare the pan by placing baking paper on top.
Spread the meringue evenly on to the pan using a spatula. Use a pastry comb to achieve the signature brazo de mercedes look.
Bake the meringue for 20 to 25 minutes or until the color turns golden brown and it doesn’t stick on your fingers when touched.
Make the filling. While the meringue is in the oven, make the filling by combining the egg yolks,vanilla and condensed milk in a small cooking pot. Use low heat and cook the mixture while continuously stirring until the texture becomes thick. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Remove the meringue from the oven and set aside for a few minutes while dusting the kitchen towel with powdered sugar. We will transfer the meringue on top of the towel.
Flip the meringue while still warm: Remove the baking tray and the baking paper carefully as the meringue is delicate and can break easily.
Spread the custard mixture onto the meringue.
Roll the meringue starting at the longest side using the towel. Make sure that the layer with filling is rolled inward.
Ready to serve. Transfer to a serving plate, slice and enjoy!