(Chicago) -  Pinoys have sweet tooth. Brazo de Mercedes is one of the most beloved Filipino desserts, popularized by huge and ubiquitous bakeshops in the Philippines such as Goldilocks and Red Ribbon. Actually, even smaller bakeries in every corner of Manila usually sell Brazo. It’s everywhere.

I’m not quite sure though about the origin of Brazo de Mercedes. It could well be from the lady named Mercedes who is a big sucker for eggs from when the Philippines was under Spain. :) Who knows? But one thing is for sure, this light and fluffy meringue with the creamy, velvety yolk crema is certainly beautiful and delicious–and undoubtedly, Filipino.

** This recipe is derived from Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan’s wonderful cookbook, “Memories of the Philippine Kitchen”.

Ingredients:

Meringue:

  • 12 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup superfine sugar

Egg Yolk Pastry:

  • 12 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

**Eggs has to be room temperature.  Get the eggs out of the fridge and soak it in luke-warm water.  After a 10 minutes, eggs should be ready.

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 325F. Line a 12-by-16-inch baking pan with parchment paper, cutting slits in each corner of the paper to allow the parchment to fit snugly into and up the sides of the pan.

To make the meringue, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt on medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until just before soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar on high speed until soft peaks form. Using a rubber spatula evenly spread the meringue over the pan. Smooth the top with an offset spatula.

Bake until the meringue is set and very lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Transfer the meringue to a wire rack and let cool in the pan.

To make the egg yolk pastry, set a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl and have it ready near the stove. Combine the yolk, sugar and butter in the top of a double boiler or in a metal bowl set over, not in, simmering water. Do not let the water come to a boil. Whisk constantly until the butter has melted, then switch to a heatproof rubber spatula and continue to cook, stirring constantly and scraping the sides, until the mixture is thickened, about 15 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary while cooking to ensure that the water does not simmer too actively (this can cause the egg to curdle). Strain the mixture immediately.

With a paring knife, loosen the sides of the meringue from the pan. Put a buttered parchment paper on top of the meringue, invert and remove bottom parchment paper. Using a rubber spatula, carefully spread the egg yolk pastry thinly over the cooled meringue, leaving about an inch of the meringue on all sides without egg pastry. With the short end of the cake facing you, gently pull the cake from the parchment and roll it away from you, like a jellyroll. Using a serrated knife, cut the roll crosswise into slices and serve.