Day 5 of our trip to the Philippines brings us to the beautiful island of Boracay and to the lovely hotel The Ambassador in Paradise.
After a 4 am wakeup call (yes again !) in Cebu, a short one hour 7 am flight we quickly transfer across to the island of Boracay by a quick ten minute boat transfer. A fifteen minute transfer to our hotel by mini bus and an early lunch leaves us with a free afternoon on a day that threatens rain one minute sun the next. Luckily we have a solution, an impromptu cooking class with Chef Fortune and pastry chef Marjorie.
Below ground we are proudly shown around the kitchen, which, despite the air conditioning being on full blast, is still hot and humid – we mop our brows frequently and drink plenty of water as we watch Chef Fortune cook (Chef, Fortunato “Fortune” Fulgar) Chicken Binakol for us which is one of the Filipino dishes we had at lunch (see separate posting). After leaving the dish to simmer away, we visit the pastry section to watch Marjorie turn a few simple ingredients into a stunning dessert, called Brazo de Mercedes – it’s the dessert which I had spotted in the chiller as we ate lunch and I’m pleased to find out that it’s a very traditional Filipino dessert. Meaning ‘arm of our Lady of Mercy’ the dessert is a a spanish influenced dish which is rich and indulgent when eaten, yet not overly heavy due to the large amount of soft meringue.
As a special treat, this Brazo de Mercedes was to be a Jackfruit one which can be made using fresh or canned jackfruit.
- 12 Eggs
- 1 400g Tin Condensed Milk
- 1/2 Cup Icing Sugar
- 20g Butter
- 1 Large can chopped jackfruit in syrup (syrup drained off)
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- Custard Filling
- Separate the eggs – yolk in one large bowl and the whites in a mixing bowl
- Whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla extract and condensed milk
- Put the bowl over a double boiler over hot water and whisk vigourously until the mixture is extremely thick and combined (approximately 30 minutes)
- Add the butter, stir in the jackfruit until it is all combined well
- Take off the heat and put aside to cool down
- Meanwhile, make the meringue by whisking the egg whites and icing sugar together until they form stiff peaks (it’s better to use a food mixer with a whisk attachment if you have one as this takes time)
- Line a large swiss roll tray evenly with parchment paper
- Spread the meringue mixture evenly across the paper so that it is of an even consistency all the way across
- Use a cake scraper to score some lines across the surface of the meringue
- Bake in a hot oven (200C) for 15 minutes or until it’s a golden light brown colour
- Bringing it together
- Place parchment paper on the work surface and lightly dust with caster sugar (this needs to be bigger than the baking tray)
- Quickly flip the baking tray over quickly so that the top of the meringue is facing downwards on the parchment paper on the work surface
- Place the jackfruit custard filling into a piping bag with a large round nozel and pipe the filing lengthways along the length of the meringue piping it evenly in about ten lines of filling
- Grasping the long edge of the parchment paper, gradually roll the edge of the meringue towards the centre and keep rolling until you have a swiss roll shape – ensure that the paper does not stay inside the roll as you roll it inwards and don’t press too hard as you want the meringue to remain soft
- Remove the parchment paper, cut the roll into two equal pieces (trim the edges so they are straight) and chill for a few hours until set
- Find a quiet place on the beach, away from everyone and order this from the restaurant, and indulge whilst groaning and sighing about how good it is … (ok maybe that was just me !)
- Serve chilled in slices, perfect on it’s own or top with a rose of whipped cream and a cherry
Thanks to Pastry Chef Marjorie who slaved over a hot double boiler tireless whisking the custard for at least 30 minutes, and for producing a simply divine dessert and to Chef Fortune, who let us invade his kitchen.
PS – having witness this being made, our two Filipino guides told us they usually buy this pre-made from the bakery and had no idea just how much work was involved in the making of this gorgeous dessert.