Two months ago a Filipino reader left 4 of the same long comment in 4 different entries (the subject is not worth discussing). She accused me of racism and I was a tad annoyed when she said something about Filipinos having flat noses as being offensive. Now why would Filipinos be offended by it and I replied that I AM PROUD OF BEING FILIPINO AND YES OF MY FLAT NOSE. In the Philippines I knew of a few friends and acquaintances who had nose jobs making Vicki Belo a household name. Although I take good care of my outside appearance, I have never been a vain person, never had and will never consider altering my face or body, and never ever have been or will be ashamed of my Filipinoness. However, I must admit there is one part of my body that I am very conscious of that I try to hide as much as possible, they are my fat-ish arms. They started getting plumper after my second childbirth and it seems that whenever I gain a pound or two, they go straight to my arms and stay there even after losing the weight gain. Other people complain of their thunder thighs, jelly belly, or hippo hips, my beef is about my ficeps. I whine about them all the time and my daughter kept assuring me they are not THAT HUGE and I always dreaded summertime when I could not wear sleeveless garments. But I have recently changed my attitude and am "accepting" the fact that I will never have anorexic arms again. And as an homage to my fat arms*kiss kiss*, I made Brazo de Oggi (Oggi's arm) which is my version of Brazo de Mercedes, a very popular egg roll cake in the Philippines. Its origin is the Spanish Swiss roll cake called Brazo de Gitano (gypsy's arm), a very thin sponge cake with custard or whipped cream filling. They are also sometimes called Brazo de Monja (nun's arm). Their arms were probably really plump to inspire such a rich dessert.
I made Brazo de Mercedes a year ago but my daughter thought it was too rich and eggy, maybe I undercooked the meringue or I missed adding an ingredient. A reader suggested I add vanilla extract to the egg whites to lessen the egginess. Then I saw a recipe adding ube (purple yam) to the egg yolk filling which I think is a brilliant idea, and then Maricel, who sent me the recipe for the Coffee Mangosteen Cake, also gave me the recipe for Frozen Brazo de Mercedes which has a layer of ice cream filling. It is very rich and has high sugar content but I want to indulge just one time. After months of portion control and low carb diet, I think I and my arms deserve the treat.:-)
I made a few modifications to the recipe to make it less unhealthy (no butter and less sugar and egg yolks). There were also some mishaps while making the dessert. I didn't expect the meringue will rise so high and it got caught in the grills of the rack above it where I have 2 loaves of bread baking. It was not so bad, only the middle portion got stuck. When I finally put the finished cake in the freezer a small container fell on one side of the cake and squeezed out a little of the ice cream filling. The cake looks a little funny which I don't mind because the cake is so very yummy. The good thing is we have already changed our minds about Brazo and are now fans of this dessert. Thanks again Maricel for being so generous.:-)
Frozen Brazo de Mercedes
2½ C (250 gm) crushed graham crackers
½ C (112 gm) melted butter
1/3 C (85 gm) sugar
288 gm egg yolks
255 gm butter
60 gm sugar
2 gm vanilla extract
1 can sweetened condensed milk
½ gallon mantecado ice cream or your favorite ice cream
300 gm egg whites
150 gm sugar
pinch of cream of tartar
1 gm vanilla extract
- Prepare the crust: Mix graham crackers and sugar and stir in butter. Press into a 10 x 14-inch glass dish. Bake in a 350 degree oven until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
- Prepare the egg yolk filling: In a glass bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and condensed milk. Cook in a double boiler until of spreading consistency. Turn off heat and add butter and vanilla. Leave to cool.
- Prepare the meringue: Grease and line a 12 x 17 x 1-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Grease paper. Set aside. Whisk egg whites until foamy, add cream of tartar and a pinch of salt. When soft peaks form, gradually add sugar and beat until stiff. Spread meringue on the prepared pan up to the top. Pass a cake comb to make a design. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 1 hour until golden in color. Let cool in pan. Loosen sides, dust top with powdered sugar. Invert into a piece of parchment paper. Remove paper lining.
- To assemble: Spread cooled filling on the crust. Beat ice cream until of spreading consistency. Spread on top of egg yolk filling. Freeze. When frozen, invert the meringue on top of ice cream so that the golden side is on top. Freeze until ready to serve. Alternatively, you may use two 8 x 8-inch glass pans (I halved the recipe as it's quite big).