I work with a few recipes, taking pointers from each and making a few slight adjustments such as reducing the amount of sugar used! The main recipe I refer to uses 8 eggs, both the whites and yolks, unlike the Leche Flan that used 12 yolks and left me with 12 whites to use up. The photo on that page, even though messy, still looks a lot better than mine, it's almost what I had pictured in my mind.
I think the more traditional method of making this dessert involves reducing down some milk for the filling but some recipes, like the one I referred to, call for a can of condensed milk which works perfectly fine. I also read that some recipes included some ground cashews in the filling which I decided to omit this time around.
As I am beating my egg whites, I am kind of mesmerised at how someone, some time in history invented the method of beating egg whites to make all these yummy desserts (and some savoury dishes too of course). I am simply fascinated by the science happening between my egg beaters and the egg whites.
The egg yolks are mixed with the condensed milk and are gently cooked over a pot of water (double boiler). As I hadn't really done this method of custard before I had the water on the lowest setting and kept stirring and stirring for about 30 minutes. Looking back at the photo I think I could have done with the heat up a little higher, I don't think I cooked the custard enough as it ended up being quite runny even after refridgeration.
As I am pouring the beaten egg whites onto the baking tray I panic a little thinking maybe there was too much egg white or my tray was too small (it was as wide as my oven is already so couldn't have been). Looking at the tray side on, it looked extremely thick but I thought that I should follow the recipe to the tee here.
I havn't really baked meringues before so wasn't quite sure what to expect when making this. When seeing how brown it was I had imagined that it was maybe quite solid but when I touched it, it was very soft to the touch. The outer layer is dry enough to handle, with the soft meringue in the middle so it is still pliable. It looked a little thick still so I was worried wether it would roll up properly or not.
I panic a little when I discover that the whole thing shrinks! Panic changes to relief as I realise it's now the perfect thickness for rolling. Though the shrinking has made the surface quite ugly. This is generally the side that is used for presentation, sometimes people make groves and patterns in the meringue before baking. It's then flipped over after baking and the other side is rolled and inverted into the roll. I decide that I like the underside of my meringue so make that become the outside of my roll.
For photo purposes I decided that I would transer the roll to a nice platter. Tough task it was, I felt the meringue break a little as I attempted to lift it up, it also refuses to budge from the baking paper getting stuck from all the sticky filling. I almost have to flip it twice from the baking tray onto the platter.
I definately wanted Ryan to try this dessert. I was going to split the log into 3, but ended up cutting it in half, one half for my uncle, aunty and cousins to try and one for Ryan's family. I wasn't sure if anyone at home would want to touch it because they're not fond of strange looking food but I end up cutting a few slices off to leave at home, I end up eating it all anyway. Ryan loved it but commented that it was extremely rich. Apparantly when his parents discovered what they were in posession of they ate almost two thirds of the half that I gave them. Brazo De Mercedes is an extreme popular dessert of the Filipino's. The fact that I got Ryan's dad excited meant alot. He's not one to try strange foods either.
I found out that Grandma was down from Queensland and staying with my uncle and aunty and had a slice of my log, the next day she was over for dinner and told me how much she enjoyed eating it. I'm definately making this again. I made so many mistakes to learn from, next time I am expecting to make a much more improved roll. I think I like this even more than the Leche Flan now. The soft, almost melting meringue together with the sweet creamy filling. Oh it is blissful to eat!