YOU’RE familiar with Brazo de Mercedes. It’s that velvety smooth and soft meringue roll with a custard filling. Iloilo has its own Brazo de Ube. From Pampanga comes another variation called Brazo de Mais. Made using corn (canned corn kernels, to be specific), Brazo de Mais is actually an heirloom recipe of Pampanga that has withstood the test of time because Pampanga-born chefs and culinary experts, such as Chef Sau Del Rosario, continue to make it and share the recipe with others.
Unlike Brazo de Mercedes, whose meringue roll has a basically smooth surface, Brazo de Mais has a meringue covering that is made to look like the corn kernels on a cob, which is an effect achieved with a piping technique with the meringue.
In a recent cooking class which he conducted for The Maya Kitchen Culinary Arts Center featuring Christmas recipes, Chef Sau presented four recipes—Free-range Chicken Galantina, Salt Crusted Snapper, Tamales and, yes, Brazo de Mais.
Here’s the recipe of Brazo de Mais:
For the meringue:
8 egg whites
1 tsp. cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsps. confectioners’ sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper, and grease with butter.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add sugar and confectioners’ sugar gradually while continuing to beat until stiff peaks form. Do not overbeat.
3. Spread meringue evenly on prepared baking sheet for a plain meringue, or pipe out “corn kernels” with the meringue. Shape the meringue into strips, making small contours that would look like corn kernels when baked.
4. Bake for about 20 minutes or until top is medium brown. Set aside and allow to cool. Then slice and serve.
For the filling:
8 egg yolks
1 cup canned corn kernels, drained
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup condensed milk
1 Tbsp. Maya Cornstarch, dispersed in 1 Tbsp. water
1. In a saucepan, combine egg yolks, corn kernels, vanilla and condensed milk.
2. Cook over low heat while stirring constantly.
3. Thicken with the cornstarch slurry.
4. To assemble, sprinkle the baked meringue with confectioners’ sugar, then top with a sheet of wax paper. Flip the baking sheet and remove the wax paper lining. Spread the mais filling on the meringue. Roll. Refrigerate, then slice and serve.
(The Maya Kitchen Culinary Arts Center is located at 8th Floor, Liberty Bldg., 835 A. Arnaiz Ave., Makati City.)