Frozen Brazo de Mercedes

I’m taking a break from writing about Macarons and will share a recipe instead on a modern twist of the traditional Filipino dessert, the Brazo de Mercedes (arm of Mercedes, or literally my arm;) My favorite Brazo de Mercedes is Vargas Kitchen’s which is to die for!I followed a recipe posted by a friend (with matching catchy video that leaves you entranced!) but the meringue was a SOUR disaster! It called for a tablespoon of cream of tartar for 8 eggwhites which was waaay too much! Cream of tartar apparently is the residue that’s left in wine barrels and is very acidic so use sparingly! Fixed the rest of Brazo when I got home from work (with matching two layers of filling!) So even more decadent. 


Recipe:

1.5 cups crushed graham mixed with 3 TB melted butter and 1 TB sugar: press into a 9×9 Pyrex, freeze 30 mins. 

Preheat oven to 350f and grease with butter a 10×15 pan and line with Glad Cook ‘n Bake and butter again. 

In a stand mixer beat 10 eggwhites with 1/2 tsp cream of tartar and gradually add 1 cup of sugar till firm peaks. Mix in 1 tsp vanilla and fold in 2 TB cornstarch(sifted). Bake for 30 mins till golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 5 mins then invert on parchment dusted with Sugar, peel off parchment gently.

In the meantime smoothen 1.5 liters of Mantecado or Vanilla Ice Cream on the frozen graham crust and freeze for an hour. 

To make Brazo filling, beat 10 egg yolks with 1 cup sugar and when thick add 1 cup of your best butter and cook over double boiler for around 20 mins or till thick. Cool over ice bath then spread over ice cream layer evenly. Freeze for another hour then place meringue (cut to fit Pyrex) and Freeze 3 hours before serving!

Advertisements

Dulce de Leche Macarons paired with a Salted Cashew-Almond Shell: A Perfect Marriage!

I love traipsing through grocery aisles and fruit stands and weekend markets to get inspiration for the next flavor combinations for my Macarons. Last week as I was walking around S&R (the Philippine version of Costco) I spotted some giant bottles of Dulce de Leche from Barcelona,Spain and I was intrigued. Dulce de Leche  is a confection prepared by slowly heating sweetened condensed milk to create a substance that derives its taste from the Maillard reaction, changing its flavour and colour.Literally translated, it means “Jam made of milk”. At home you can slave over a stove and boil cans of condensed milk for 4 hours(who wants to do that?!) or another way is to bake it ala “baine Marie” (water bath) for an hour in an oven (this the more do-able method but still, it makes you think, I’m wasting all that gas!) So the easiest way is to get the ready made bottles if they make a rare appearance in the shelves! I was tempted to get two bottles but stuck to just one so I could experiment.

The next thing I wanted to work on was the Macaron shell – I first thought of a coffee-mocha combination. I tasted the Dulce de Leche and it was very rich and sweet and needed something to cut the sweetness – and a salty Cashew-Almond shell was just the perfect pair! The Dulce de Leche itself is quite sweet so I whipped in some butter to tone down the sweetness and give it some body (just like the way I make my Salted Caramel). One thing I noticed though was that when I whipped the butter in, it didn’t behave like my Salted Caramel (which would emulsify) – the Dulce de Leche buttercream was flowy and needed some chilling to gain some body and become “pipe-able”. 

After a day of resting the taste test (my favorite part!) commenced and the verdict from my best critic (my husband) : Very tasty and a good combination! That made my heart flutter 🙂 

For this batch of Macarons that are to be delivered for consignment at Parvati, I continued my Pink and Orange shell combination for my Salted Caramel Macarons which are so eye catching! 

Filipino Flair Macarons!

For the past weeks I’ve been dreaming of making Filipino-inspired Macarons that are distinctly Filipino with a twist and finally came up with these Flavors: Ube Creamcheese Dream, Bibingka with Salted Egg Coconut Cream, Mango-Calamansi Curd Buttercream and Malagos Bittersweet Ganache ( Unsweetened Chocolate from Davao).

The hunt for Ube Halaya was a heart stopper because I knew there were Good Sheperd Products in SM but everyone said they were gone (heart dropping to the floor – Good Sheperd is THE only Ube jam I’d put in my pastries !) but thankfully a kind lady heard of my predicament and after 20 minutes she came running to me proudly bearing a jar of the prized jam:)

The Bibingka with Salted Egg Coconut cream was a very ambitious project. First I made the Bibingka and made sure to use kakang gata. I processed it into crumbs to go into and ontop of the salted egg cream same process I followed for my organic coconut flakes to give it a real niyog flavor. I puréed the salted egg with coconut cream and it was delicious on its own!

The Mango curd I felt needed something citrus and Calamansi was it!

The Ube would be boring as just a buttercream so I jazzed it up and added cream cheese and some pandan.

Making the bittersweet Malagos Ganache was tricky as I’ve never used unsweetened chocolate for ganache before so I researched and tweaked here and there and finally added less sugar than recommended because I wanted the “Tsokolate ” flavor to come through.

The colors of the Macarons are fun and playful like a Sapin-Sapin:)

Passion, Hardwork and the pursuit of a Dream: How Petite Patisserie Started

1934169_9199069682_3121_n

I graduated from the Ateneo in the year 2000 and I remember wanting to be either a Pastry Chef or a diplomat. My dad told me, work first, earn your own money. Paddle your own canoe. I provided you with education in the best schools (St. Benedict’s in Cebu and Assumption Antipolo for Grade School, Miriam College for High School and Ateneo for College). If you want to pursue further studies then pay for it yourself. I have done my part.

So I took my first job as one of the first Call Center Agents in the Philippines at e-telecare and it was tough. Night shift, sleeping during the day, learning to deal with irate customers, but it was exciting because we were the Pilot team (the Cowboys we were called because our first account was a telecom company in Texas.) I did my best and was promoted from CSA (Customer Service Associate) to TOIC (team leader in charge) in a short span of time but got stuck being TOIC because of some issues that cropped up when I handled the first Spanish speaking team and also my supervisors had issues with two trips I took abroad during my evaluation period which were legitimate leaves w/in the allowed number of vacation leaves ) The first trip was to visit my maternal aunt who lived in Switzerland to visit a potential Pastry school in Luzern and the other a trip to New York to visit my best friends who were working there and my maternal aunt in Washington DC so I could check out Georgetown, one the best schools for Diplomacy). I realized in the end that I couldn’t afford either (and unfortunately Georgetown didn’t accept my application) and so I continued working the graveyard shift focused and determined to reach my goal : To save enough money to go to Pastry school.

By the end of 7 years I finally did it. I earned my first million (and at this point I was already an Operations Manager Officer in Charge and Shift Manager) and luckily was able to find a Pastry School in San Francisco that fit my budget and had enough money to fly there back and forth several times a year and thankfully my Brother allowed me to stay in his house in Pacifica, free room and board and access to his cars so I could drive myself to school and in the process I had to learn to conquer my fear of driving on the Freeway because there was no way I could go to school w/o passing several freeways to get to the City! (My pastry school, Tante Marie’s Cooking School,was right by the Embarcadero/the Coit and was not accessible by BART.) In exchange I was to work in his Filipino Restaurant Sinugba on Gellert(which incidentally is the BEST Filipino Restaurant EVER!) as the Manager, waitress, stock and inventory keeper and drinks and desserts maker. He also paid me a fixed salary. It was backbreaking work – I was on my feet during my shifts and during marketing days I would carry sacks of rice and haul cartons of eggs and oil at Costco and buy fish and vegetables at the Asian Market by King Drive in Pacifica.

Pastry School was tough, I practiced and baked the entire module for each of the two nights a week classes during my free time because everything I made wasn’t visually appealing according to my Pastry instructor plus I wanted to practice the technical aspect and not worry about it when night class started. We had to fight for oven space and work under time pressure. I remember making so many fondant wedding cakes as my practice for my culminating project (and feeding my brother and sister in law so much white cake and icing in the process !!) and low and behold my discerning Pastry instructor was impressed with my Wedding Cake and asked me to replicate it during our Graduation Culminating activity!

Next was my internship at Patisserie Phillipe in the Market District which was equally tough- I had to be at work by 3AM and assist Philippe in preparing all the breakfast pastries. He was very critical of my work because he felt they were not beautiful and everyday I kept trying. Perfecting arranging the Strawberries on the Crostillant, slicing the apples on this intricate coring/spiraling vintage apple contraption that needed a quick wrist or else the apple collapsed and broke apart with one wrong move. I did my best glazing and piping the almond croissants and arranging blackberries on the fruit tarts. When Philippe would have time he showed me how to make his signature cake the Frasier (strawberries encrusted in Creme Patisserie) and the Opera Cake and was generous with sharing his recipes and allowed me to pick 3 pastries to take home everyday, my brother and sister in law were happy campers! By the time I was done with my 3 month internship, Philippe looked at my Crostillant and remarked “that is the most beautiful Crostillant I have ever seen”. And I beamed with pride! Before going back to Manila I promised myself this: that I would create one niche pastry and perfect it and sell it and also I wanted to teach and give back, just like Philippe who said that all he learned he got from his mentors.

Back in Manila I put up my own pastry business from home, Petite Patisserie and did bazaars. I attended seminars on how to become a proficient entrepreneur and on the last day of a particular one , the seminar leader challenged me to do something extraordinary. So I did! I made my signature 1oz Petite Cupcake and brought enough to feed the entire seminar class during morning merienda. I left my calling card on the table beside my pastries and told myself that I would be lucky if I got orders. Then one day out of the blue the Directress of the Maya Kitchen (incidentally the publisher of the first pastry book I baked from) called me up and said “I was so impressed by the tiny cupcakes you served, do you want to come and teach at the Maya Kitchen? I couldn’t believe it! I was going to teach at The Maya Kitchen, one of the first cooking schools in the country and the publishers of the best cookbooks in the Philippines. I was floored!

At one point I also worked for Chateau 1771 as a pastry cook for a year and it was tough: I was on my feet the whole day, prepped all the salads and pastries during the day and ate lunch by 4pm, worked for 6 days a week, rinse and repeat. I decided to leave and try working for a hotel in order to hone my skills further and I was luckily given the chance to do a Trade Test at the Mandarin Oriental but unfortunately was not accepted. What next? I told myself maybe I should just focus on making one pastry and be good at it, and tried my hand at the elusive French Macaron and after so many failures I was able to perfect my macaron recipe and approached Parvati, a store in Trinoma which sold pastries from home bakers. Thankfully they were impressed by my product and up to now I still sell my macarons in their Chiller section .

I now work for my dad as the Treasurer in my family business, Autocirculo, the biggest dealership in Metro Manila of Kia with branches in Las Piñas (my head office), Pasay, Pasig, Quirino, Greenhills, Esguerra (South Triangle), Sta. Rosa, Laguna and Marcos Highway and numerous subdealers in Congressional, Acropolis, Metroeast, Cubao, Molino, Alabang and Sucat. We also have our dealerships of Peugeot in Edsa Greenhills, Alabang near Westgate and Pasay and this coming October, Mahindra. I told my dad I would work for him, provided that I am given one day to bake my macarons and also take leaves when I teach for the Maya Kitchen.

I am happy because I am still pursuing my passion: baking one day a week and helping my family business four days a week. Passion and hardwork is what has gotten to me to where I am now. I still dream of making prettier looking pastries and slowly I am adding to my skill set – the great thing about being a Pastry Chef is that working , dreaming and creating new flavors never stop – and I’ll never stop dreaming!

Macarons vs Cupcakes

IMG_1352-0.JPG

Said the Macarons to the poor cupcake! I disagree though my macarons are actually friendly and welcome all types of pastry with open arms😄 I just found this quite funny and realized how sometimes macarons are misunderstood. That they are a highfalutin and elitist. Just because they’re hard to make doesn’t mean they’re better than other pastries. It’s probably because they’re equated with high fashion, gourmet and artisan. However you feel about macarons, they are beautiful, elegant and here to stay. Cupcakes are cute and homey and are equally gorgeous. Anyone can make cupcakes, but on the other hand, macarons need time, patience and lots of care. And a whole day to make! Plus aircon for two hours😜! Macarons may seem like divas but inside they are simple and down to earth☺️

Fabulously Local : Pili Nut Praline and Malagos Chocolate Macarons

When I started Petite Patisserie 6 years ago I was committed to using indigenous ingredients. I experimented with Pili for macarons and cashew for petit fours and mangoes for fillings. The Pili Nut actually has the highest fat content compared to other nuts. It’s probably why when I used 100% pili for the macaron shell it had the most beautiful structure!

As the years wore on I I realized it was easier to source more accessible ingredients. It was just more convenient that way. But recently I discovered that there actually is a locally produced dark chocolate that could rival European brands. It’s called Malagos chocolate which is Single origin and cultivated in the hilly farmlands of Davao. Malagos Chocolate is made from cocoa beans grown in the farms in the foothills of Mt. Talomo in the Davao region of the Philippines’s Mindanao island. What sets it apart from regular chocolate is the meticulous process of fermenting the beans to give it a distinctive flavor then it is dried in solar beds then roasted and tempered.

My first taste was an epiphany. I discovered a locally made chocolate that was beautifully bittersweet. I then started looking for a locally made cocoa that would complete my 100% Filipino chocolate macaron and found Cacao de Davao unsweetened Cocoa powder in an obscure store in Salcedo Village. There I also chanced upon whole roasted Pili nuts. What a treasure trove! The only problem was that both the Pili and Malagos chocolate were expensive. Pili is three times more expensive than the already pricey almond. Malagos chocolate is pretty pricey too compared to my trusted Belgian callebaut. But I threw caution to the wind and spent a fortune just so that I could once again use Filipino indigenous ingredients. The result? Unique and delicious macarons ! I will continue to experiment and try my luck sourcing these elusive ingredients. Hopefully I can find a more affordable source ! Any leads are welcome.

petitepatisseriemacarons.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/img_1338.jpg” alt=”IMG_1338.JPG” class=”alignnone size-full” />

IMG_1338-0.JPG

IMG_1332.JPG

IMG_1334.JPG

IMG_1335.JPG

IMG_1342.JPG

IMG_1343.JPG