April 20, 2014

brazo de mercedes

The power of food. Every bite of this classic Filipino-Spanish dessert instantly brought me back to many years in Manila when we used to bake brazo de mercedes. It's a fluffy and light meringue roll filled with a rich custard that's similar to dulce de leche or a soft toffee. The filling is undeniably rich with sweetened condensed milk and eggyolks cooked to a spreadable consistency.

Years ago, my sister-in-law even baked them made-to-order for my aunt's co-teachers at a nearby school in our hometown. I remember they were a hit for birthdays and other special occasions. Brazo de Mercedes has always been a well-loved dessert which became a part of our own family occasions as well. I made it for Easter Sunday this year. The custard-filled roll, made with close to a dozen eggs, was very timely for this religious holiday when eggs have always been a big part of the celebration and symbolism. I love the step-by-step guide posted by Ethel Monique in the Snapguide website. This dessert can be challenging to make so the slide presentation was quite informative and helpful.

a heavenly slice of brazo de mercedes

Interested in the recipe?

1 3/4 cups eggwhites (from about 10-12 eggs)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 tbsps cornstarch, sifted (optional)


1 cup eggyolks (or all the separated eggyolks)
1 can condensed milk
1/4 cup sugar (optional)
1 tsp vanilla or lemon flavoring

Separate the room temperature eggs, making sure the eggwhites measure 1 3/4 cups. For the filling, transfer the eggyolks to a heavy saucepan. Add the condensed milk, sugar and vanilla. Cook over low heat until thick. Set aside. Beat the eggwhites with the cream of tartar then gradually add the sugar. Beat until soft peaks form then fold in the cornstarch. The cornstarch is optional as I've seen other recipes that don't have it. Continue to beat gently until the peaks are very fluffy and shiny. Spread the meringue evenly on a greased jelly roll pan lined with greased parchment or wax paper. With a plastic fork, score the top of the meringue to create decorative lines. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Invert on wax paper dusted with confectioner's sugar. Spread the filling then roll and serve.

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