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Brazo de Mercedes (Filipino Meringue Roll) Recipe

Why It Works

  • Sugar retains the egg whites’ moisture content material in verify for a shiny and secure meringue. 
  • Toasting the sugar brings the general sweetness into steadiness and creates a extra complicated taste. 
  • Cream of tartar stabilizes the meringue. 
  • Including toasted floor cashews to the custard contributes a nutty and earthy tone that balances what can in any other case be a cloying custard.

Based mostly on the title alone, I personally wouldn’t eat a dish referred to as the “arm of Mercedes,” named after Our Girl of Mercy, even when it guarantees some divine reward. However this pillowy meringue roll crammed with a wealthy citrus-scented custard is irresistible. It’s a true celebration of eggs: A dozen egg whites are whipped as much as make the baked meringue and a dozen egg yolks enrich the custard. Previously, this meringue custard roll was reserved for particular occasions and gatherings, however in latest instances, bakery chains have made it extensively accessible. It’s now typically served as a merienda (snack) or an after-dinner panghimagas (dessert).

I’ve a deep connection to this saccharine deal with. As a child I had such a large candy tooth that my lola (grandmother) used to cover and ration goodies and candies at residence. That didn’t deter me from grabbing a candy snack from a panaderia on my manner residence from faculty. I used to drool over these custard-filled meringue logs and would beg my aunt to purchase me a slice to take residence, though it hardly ever made all of it the way in which residence intact. The model I keep in mind greatest from one specific panaderia had custard with a definite citrusy tone. I later came upon it used the zest from dayap, popularly referred to as key lime. In additional analysis I discovered that zests from native citrus like calamansi or pomelo are generally used as nicely.

Critical Eats / Rezel Kealoha


The core of this dish is the candy and citrus-tinged custard that’s enveloped within the ethereal meringue. The inspiration for the custard is yema (Spanish for “egg yolk”), a candy, tender confection made with egg yolks and sugar that’s thickened and formed into balls or pyramids and wrapped in colourful cellophane. Some variants of yema embrace chopped peanuts or cashews, and milk or condensed milk.

It’s believed that yema originated within the Philippines throughout the Spanish colonization. Egg whites and egg shells had been blended with limestone and crushed coral and used as building materials to construct church buildings. The eggs’ albumen proved to be such a robust adhesive that a whole lot of these colonial church buildings are nonetheless standing right now. To make use of the excess of discarded egg yolks, Filipinos integrated them into custard confections corresponding to yema.

Critical Eats / Rezel Kealoha


Sadly, as an grownup, I now not have the identical palate for indulgently candy desserts. So in my yema-inspired custard, I’ve used floor cashews and a beneficiant quantity of lemon zest to chop via the sweetness. The addition of heavy cream ensures a easy and creamy texture. Toasting the sugar for the meringue supplies welcome caramel notes that remodel the ultimate dessert from a cloyingly candy confection to a extra balanced dessert I now savor as an grownup.

Regardless of its grown-up refinements, my brazo de Mercedes recipe nonetheless calls again to the flavour of these rainbow-colored balls of yema, the egg yolk sweet I cherished as a toddler. This candy arm of Mercedes will not be divine, nevertheless it magically makes me really feel 7 years outdated once more.

Critical Eats / Rezel Kealoha


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