Cultural background

Maria Seppälä, 31 year-old, mother of two, from Philippines. Maria was born in Manila, the capital of the said country. For over 1,78 million people living in Manila, food is the main necessity. “In Philippines we eat three times a day and we love rice. But “merienda” or so- called snacking, is my favourite part of the day”

Maria is now living in Kankaanpää, Finland. She first worked for five years as a practical nurse in a big nursing home located in Tampere. Then after almost six years of being stay- at-home mom, she finally had the chance to follow her dream, to start a new profession dealing with food service and to be a professional cook. She is now studying at Sataedu Catering School located also in Kankaanpää.

Brazo de Mercedes is a type of rolled cake made from a sheet of soft meringue with custard filling. This heavenly cake can be considered as one of the all-time favorites in the Philippines.

Culinary information

  • 10 large raw eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 14 ounces condensed milk
  • 1 tsp lemon or ginger zest

Preparation

Step 1

  • Combine egg whites and cream of tartar then beat using an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
  • Make the meringue by gradually adding the granulated sugar to egg whites while mixing the ingredients. Continue mixing until the texture is semi-firm.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  • Place wax paper on top of a cookie sheet or large rectangular baking pan and grease the surface.
  • Place the meringue on top of the greased wax paper then spread evenly using a spatula.

Step 2

  • Bake the meringue for 20 to 22 minutes or until the colour of the top part turns light to medium brown.

Step 3

  • While the meringue is in the oven, make the filling by combining the egg yolks and condensed milk in a small cooking pot. Apply heat and cook the mixture while continuously stirring until the texture becomes thick.
  • Add the vanilla extract and spices to the condensed milk and egg yolk mixture, turn off the heat, and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
  • Remove the meringue from the oven and cool down for a few minutes.
  • Sprinkle the confectioners’ sugar on top of the meringue then place wax paper on the top part of the meringue followed by a similar sized baking pan or tray. The meringue should now be in the middle of two baking trays.

Step 4

  • Flip the meringue: the new cookie sheet/baking tray placed on top should now be below.
  • Remove the baking tray and the wax paper (you should now see the opposite side of the baked meringue) then spread the filling (cooked egg yolks, condensed milk, and vanilla extract mixture) over the meringue.
  • Roll the meringue.
  • Complete rolling side to side starting at the longest side. Make sure that the layer with filling is rolled inward.
  • Transfer to a serving plate then serve.