September 8, 2008

Brazo de Oggi

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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.:-)

the accident-prone Brazo de Oggi

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).


What's Cookin Chicago said...

Wow... that looks delicious! Its been ages since I had a piece of Brazo de Mercedes. I've had some really eggy ones and it kind of turned me off to them. However this version looks amazing. I especially love the character yours has with the oven grill indentions. Perfection isn't always in the appearance! Great job Oggi!

Anonymous said...

This version looks delicious! I have been wanting to try making Brazo for some time ever since a friend told me it was not hard to do. Thanks for the recipe!

P.S. You may have a competitor in the "bigger arms" category. Like you, I do have big arms (relative to my body size) after years of carrying my babies. I think this is hereditary. My mom has big arms too.

Oggi said...

Joelen, I used less egg yolks so it it doesn't taste too eggy.

Ning, I'm the only one in my family with big arms...both my sisters have thin arms, kakainggit.:)

Ruy said...

I find that your brazo de mercedes looks just right and yummy. I love the name too!=)

raissa said...

That brazo looks yummy. Its really quite a feat to make brazo. My cousin made a frozen version which is equally delicious and also sinful LOL

You are not alone - when I gain weight it goes to my arms too hahaha so is it a Filipino thing?? LOL

eatingclubvancouver_js said...

Looks yummy! I love the fact that it's not eggy. Don't like overly-eggy things.

Ah, the arms. . .I feel your pain.

Oggi said...

Ruy, thanks...just having fun.:)

Raissa, frozen brazo is sooo much yummier, less eggy too. Fat arms, at least I am not alone, haha.
Hey I already watched 'Till There Was You''s not bad at all, waaay much better than Milan.:D

JS, me too, I don't like eggy stuff like yema candies...the real thing (Spanish) is made of just yolks and sugar.:)

raissa said...

my cousin tweaked her frozen brazo recipe to make it less sweeter and less eggy. I like eggy desserts as long as its not too eggy too.

oh yay..yes Till There Was You is way much better than Milan. Oh I recommend "A Very Special Love" its new so I dont think dvd is out just yet. Its light and kinda mababaw but its a heartwarming rom-com, feel good and you really come out of watching it feeling so good and smiling. Its the first tagalog movie that was screened in LA that was extended for another week.

Anonymous said...

What is it with Filipinos and our obsession with big-boned arms? Legs aren't such a big issue afaik but people get so self-conscious over arms. I don't get it. :)

 gmirage said...

My first brazo de mercedes crumbled lang...a friend sent me a frozen brazo recipe maybe I'll try that!

Mine are concentrated at my back, natatakot ako later on baka magmukha akong hunchback =D So I think the arms is better than having them there hihi....

Oggi said...

Raissa, I took note of the movie, thanks. I hope it becomes available at Netflix. I also started watching Komiks, the series...bizarre, corny, hilarious, sometimes dramatic but strangely entertaining, not to mention politically incorrect which makes the series very appealing. One episode has Piolo Pascual as a fisherman who fell in love with a sirena.:)

Jude, I agree, I think only Filipinos are obsessed with fat arms.:D

Gizelle, frozen brazo tastes better because of the ice cream and the graham crust. I actually used plain graham crackers laying them whole at the bottom of the pan with no additional butter or sugar. Try the frozen, you will love it!:)

Mira said...

omg! This really looks yummy! I will have to copy the recipe, hopefully I can try it one of these days.

On that portion about Filipinos having flat noses. I would probably get annoyed (not offended) when it will be brought to my face over and over. But just not to stoop on these people's level, I would just ignore them and yes be proud to have this distinct look. Flat nose is one of the trademarks that makes us stand out from the rest of the races I guess. But behind these faces with flat noses are enormous talents that are making waves around the world. So the hell with these people looking down on us with flat noses, LOL. I would rather have a flat nose than a fake nose, LOL.

I have imperfections and when I was younger also entertained the thoughts of altering them but whenever I see people with handicaps and missing limbs, I just wake up from my vanity and thank God that He made me whole.

Anyway, I enjoyed reading your posts here. Have a great weekend!
Random Thoughts
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A Moment to Exhale
My Barefoot Journey
My Kitchen Table
Scrappy Mommy

Anonymous said...

Hi! Your frozen braso... err... brazo certainly looks scrumptious. I initially wanted to do the traditional brazo de mercedes for this Sunday's lunch with my partner's family. I've been searching the net for recipes and advice (it's going to be my first brazo). However, there's quite a lot of raving and ranting about this newer version that I've become a convert. I'll give it a try on Sunday, but would like it to really look nice. Was thinking... this latest food fad may be a close kin of Baked Alaska. I've seen pictures of those sold commercially (courtesy of fellow bloggers) and the meringue on top would always look perfect (aren't they always are?) So was thinking,could they be baking it after everything's been assembled instead of pre-cooking the meringue layer?

BTW, thanks for posting the recipe. It'll be a good start when I make one, though I'll probably tweak it a bit and apply the principles in making Baked Alaska. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Oggi said...

Mira, I'll always be proud to be Pinoy!:)

The Mistress, I had Baked Alaska once before, have not tried baking it though. Let me know how it turns out.:)

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