Trissa of Trissalicious was one of the first bloggers to reach out to me as a new kid on the (bloggin') block. I just had the honor of guest posting on her site. And to my delight, she also agreed to prepare a post for mine. As you'll soon experience, Trissa has a wonderfully warm style of writing that's guaranteed to make you smile (and often laugh). Plus her beautiful photos always make me drool. Another thing I love about Trissa is that she's both sweet and spunky. When she learned of my Donna Hay obsession, for example, she immediately offered to mail me the latest issue from Australia. Yet this same lady successfully faked a proposal to get into a famous and completely booked restaurant! How's that for gutsy? Oh and did I mention she's a master of macarons? Some other standout recipes on her blog include the mango natilla custard cake, strawberry watermelon cake, and bechamel prawn-stuffed mussels. But (and I hope I don't seem biased when I tell you) the cake she shares below just jumped to the top of my to-try list! Please give your warmest welcome to my dear friend, Trissa.
Being invited to someone's house for dinner always poses a problem for me. I often wonder, what's the best thing to bring? Given a choice between bringing the standard wine, flowers or food, I'll inevitably resort to bringing food. Then there's the dilemma of what dish to bring. Do I bring an entree or dessert? And God forbid if I bring the same dish that the host is cooking!
Being asked to guest blog is just as nerve wracking. Especially when the one asking has such a beautifully written and photographed blog like Xiaolu from 6 Bittersweets. If you haven't already met Xiaolu, let me tell you a little bit more about her. She's a great baker, cook and all-around super foodie. I admire her because she turned her back on a successful career at a law firm to pursue a career in nutrition, for which she is currently studying for. It takes guts and personality to do something like that - and both traits shine through when you read her blog. Plus she makes the most beautiful cakes...
I pondered for weeks over what would be suitable for her blog. I knew she was fond of desserts so definitely something sweet most likely...but what? Should I make something tried and tested or experiment on something new? Would she like it? Would she have already made something similar? The list went on and on...but of course Xiaolu, ever the gracious host, gave me the kind encouragement, inspiration and free hand to let me do as I pleased.
Now, I'm not much of a sweet tooth and the idea of ice cream, custard, and meringue sounded a little bit too sugary for my liking - but I did manage to wolf down two large slices, which went down especially well given the heat of the Sydney summer. Everyone else that I offered it to enjoyed it and also asked for seconds so yes, it was a great success. Good enough for Xiaolu's blog?
I'm certainly hoping so! :)
DEFINITELY good enough! Trissa, can I please just have the whole cake to myself? =p
Frozen Brazo de Mercedes [Printable Recipe]
Serves 10 to 12
8 egg whites [save yolks for custard layer]
1/2 cup (110 grams) sugar
pinch of cream of tartar or egg white powder
Preheat the oven to 275 F (135 C) for non-convection ovens OR 250 F (120 C) for convection ovens. Grease and line a 15 x 10-inch pan and then grease the baking paper once more. Using a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until semi-stiff peaks and then gradually start adding the sugar until you have stiff peaks but make sure that you don't over beat the egg whites, otherwise it will go grainy. Spread the egg whites on to the baking tray and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and then place the baking tray on top of a rack and allow to cool. Set aside.
8 egg yolks
10.58 oz. (300 grams) sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons (around 50 grams) of butter
Place the egg yolks and condensed milk in a stainless steel bowl and place the bowl a top a pot of simmering water, making sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Mix the egg yolks and the condensed milk until thick using a whisk until the mixture has thickened like a custard. Remove from the heat and then add the butter, making sure to fully incorporate. Allow to cool in the refrigerator and set aside until needed.
8.8 oz (250 grams) graham crackers OR digestive-style biscuits, crushed using a food processor
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons (around 50 grams) of butter
Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C) for non-convection ovens OR 320 F (180 C) for convection ovens .
Heat the butter in the microwave until melted, then add the sugar and the graham crackers. Mix thoroughly and then spread over two 8 1/2 x 6-inch pans. Bake for 10 minutes and then remove. Allow to cool before assembly.
4 1/4 cups (1 liter) vanilla ice cream, softened at room temperature for about 10 minutes
To assemble, place a layer of ice cream, around half an inch (1.3 cm or so) thick, over the graham crust. Place the mixture in the freezer and allow to set for around 30 minutes. Then add the custard layer and then return this to the freezer and allow to set for another 30 minutes. Finally, cut the meringue (you will have more than you need, so ensure that you can cut it large enough to fit the tray) to fit the two trays and place on top of the custard layer. Return the dessert to the freezer and allow to set for around three hours.