When I was a very young child, and asked my grandmothers’ cook what was for dessert and she said “Brazo de Mercedes”, my minds’ eye saw this enormous lady’s arm on a dish being served. This woman’s arm sure tasted so good because brazo meant arm in Spanish-Filipino. Now I know that it is a rolled meringue with egg yolk (yema) filling.


  • 12 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) sugar


  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (35 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (112 grams) butter
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon zest of lime – optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC)
  2. Line a 12-inch by 14-inch by 1-inch baking pan with baking paper or foil
  3. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar and salt until foamy, then add sugar gradually in four additions, beating until stiff but not dry.
  4. Spread evenly in pan.
  5. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or till the top is a light golden brown
  6. Turn out on a cheesecloth dusted with a mixture of powdered and granulated sugar; half and half (about 2 tablespoons each); on top of cooling rack.
  7. Let cool for 2 hours.
  8. While waiting for the meringue to cool, make the filling.
  9. Spread evenly with filling, leaving 1-inch space on all sides.
  10. Leave until the filling is very cool but not refrigerated.
  11. Roll lengthwise into a 14-inch cylinder.
  12. Cut two pieces of waxed paper and place on each end of roll to prevent filling from leaking out.

Filling Procedure:

  1. Combine sugar, flour, and butter in a double boiler over low fire and stir until sugar is totally dissolved.
  2. Add egg yolks, zest and cook, stirring constantly until mixture coats a wooden spoon.
  3. An old fashioned way to test if it’s ready is to place water in a small dish and drop a bit of the filling into the water and it’s ready when you can almost make a little ball with it.
  4. Be careful not to overcook or it will be difficult to spread out.