Brazo de Mercedes is a traditional Filipino dessert consisting of a custard filled meringue roll. The name literally translates to “arm of Mercedes”. The origin of the dessert is unclear although the name indicates it stems from the era of Spanish colonization. I have to admit I find the name a little baffling. Why would someone name a dessert after a woman’s arm? At any rate it is a delicious dessert and one of my favorites. It’s also pretty straightforward to make. The difficulty is in applying the will power to stop eating it after one serve (well, okay…maybe after two)
10 large eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 C caster sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2 C condensed milk
1 tsp white vinegar
1/3 C powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius.
- Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar then beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
- Gradually add the caster sugar then vinegar. Continue beating to a stiff peak.
- Place baking paper on top a cookie sheet and lightly grease the surface.
- Pour the meringue mixture onto the baking paper and even out the surface using a spatula.
- Bake for about 20 minutes until the meringue turns a light brown color.
- Combine the egg yolks, condensed milk and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook the mixture, stirring continuously until it thickens.
- Remove from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
- Remove the meringue from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes.
- Sprinkle powdered sugar over the meringue and place wax paper over it. Turn it out onto a similarly sized tray and slowly peel off the baking paper.
- Pour the cooled custard over the meringue and spread it evenly over the surface.
- Carefully roll the meringue using the wax paper.
- Transfer the finished roll onto a serving platter and enjoy!
Leche Flan is a Filipino type of custard flan. Literally translated it means milk flan. The flan however, is a dish stemming from the Roman times when innovative Roman cooks adopted Greek culinary principles to tackle the problem of how to preserve surplus eggs and came up with a custard-based dish. This little dish that could endured the transition of various eras and empires. During the Medieval ages, the flan developed into the two main forms that exist today. In England, the custard was poured into a pastry shell and mixed with fruits or nuts to create a tasty baked flan. Its enduring popularity is evidenced by the fact that it’s frequently mentioned in English literature. In Spain it was transformed into a sweet custard generally served with caramelized sugar. This type of flan became a world-wide hit following the voyages of notable Spanish explorers such as Columbus and Magellan who furthered not only Spain’s empire but the flan’s popularity. The leche flandeveloped from the second type of flan and much like its ancient Roman ancestor, it has displayed an enduring and prevailing quality, successfully surviving the turbulent history of the Philippines to maintain its triumphant place on the traditional Filipino table.
10 egg yolks
1 375 ml can condensed milk
1 375 ml can evaporated milk
1 Tbs vanilla essence
1/3 cup raw sugar
2/3 cup water
- Mix the yolks, vanilla and milk together with a wooden spoon. Set aside while you make the caramel
- Dissolve the sugar in the water and boil without stirring until the mixture achieves the consistency of syrup.
- Pour the caramel into a baking dish or into individual molding dishes.
- Using a strainer, pour the milk and egg mixture into another bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon but try not to create a lot of air bubbles (this will affect the texture of the baked custard).
- Pour the mixture into the baking dish or into individual molding dishes.
- Place the baking dish or molding dishes onto a larger tray. Add water to the tray until it’s about midway full.
- Bake for 45 minutes at 170 degrees celcius then increase to 175 for the last 20 minutes. The leche flan is cooked when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean