Brazo de Mercedes is one of those Filipino desserts I have a fixation for.
As simple as the recipe is the meringue seems to cause a furor amongst my countrymen they'd rather leave this to the brave few and scurry to the bakeshop instead.
Nonetheless, I still prefer exploring this recipe hoping for a few converts along the way.
In this version, I have replaced the traditional calorific and cholestorolphilic custard filling with a creme patisserie base for a lighter and less sweet alternate. And to up the ante again, I flavored it with Japanese matcha green tea which I got from an Asian supermarket in Melbourne.
Green tea can be very intense when mixed with other ingredients. Being a green tea lover myself, I usually take it with some mint leaves and lemon to tone down the earthiness. However, the intensity varies from one brand to another. For this recipe, do the tweaks as necessary to suit your taste.
I found that the success or failure in baking the meringue lies largely on how much you beat the egg whites. The more firm it gets the higher the chance of the meringue collapsing. Hence, always beat the egg whites up to soft peak stage. Anything more than that could mean a trip to your favorite bakeshop.
300 grams Egg Whites, room temperature
1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
1 tsp Lemon Zest
180 grams Caster Sugar
- Heat the oven to 170 Celsius.
- Beat the egg whites using the wire whisk attachment of your mixer until frothy.
- Add in the cream of tartar.
- Continue beating on medium speed until very foamy.
- Gradually add the sugar.
- Continue beating on medium speed until soft peak stage is reached.
- Fold in the lemon zest.
- Spread on a 9" x 12" baking tray lined with baking paper. You may use wax paper but make sure you spray it with grease or it will almost be impossible to take the meringue off it.
- Bake until the top is light golden brown.
- Allow it to rest on the countertop before rolling.
- Generously dust top with icing sugar. I mixed a little bit of natural green food color into my icing sugar for added effect. Don't use artificial green food color powder as it tastes very bitter.
- Lay a wider piece of parchment paper or cheesecloth on top and carefully invert the meringue.
- Spread the matcha green tea custard filling.
- Roll like a log pushing it slightly to tighten and secure the meringue together.
The Matcha Green Tea Custard
300 grams Milk, full cream
10 grams Vanilla Extract
2 tsp. Lemon Zest
60 grams Egg Yolks
75 grams Sugar
20 grams All Purpose Flour
20 grams Cornstarch
8 grams Matcha Green Tea Powder
3 grams Gelatin leaves, gold extra (soaked in ice-cold water)
1 drop Green food colour
100 grams Whipped cream
- Heat the milk until boiling in a medium-sized saucepan
- Combine the lemon zest, vanilla extract and egg yolks.
- In another bowl, sift together the sugar, flour, cornstarch and green tea powder.
- Mix the egg yolk mixture into the dry mixture until a thick paste is formed.
- Pour half of the boiled milk into the mixture and mix it well until smooth.
- Pour the custard slurry back into the remainder of the milk in the saucepan.
- Cook over medium heat while continuously stirring until mixture is very thick.
- Stir in the food color and the softened gelatin leaves.
- Allow to cool down and set completely in the refrigerator.
- Before folding in the whipped cream, soften the custard by mashing it using the paddle attachment of your mixer or with a wooden spoon.