I am so excited to share this recipe with you all, because when you live in another country there is always a recipe that transports you to the place that you were born. For me is this recipe. Even though Swiss Rolls are famous all around the world, Brazo Gitano is very special to us. The Brazo Gitano is part of the Puerto Rican history and culture thanks to the the Spaniard colonization. Actually, there is a famous company in P. R. that was founded by Enrique Franco Rey, a Spaniard who immigrated in 1850, who claims to have introduced this recipe to the island.
The Brazo Gitano is so popular that it can be found in any bakery on the island. Since we are a tropical island, guava is one of our typical fruits and is the preferred filling for our Brazo Gitano. Guava fruits are very versatile and in our country is used to make juice, desserts, cocktails, even sauces for meats, specially BBQ sauce. But let me tell you a secret that everyone in P.R. knows, the perfect match for guava is cheese! So, I chose to make this swiss roll with guava & cream cheese frosting because I want you to enjoy this perfect and sweet marriage!
½ cup (100g) self-raising flour
½ cup (100g) sugar
1/3 cup of water
1/3 cup of sugar
2 teaspoon of almond extract
The sky is the limit! Jam is the classic, to achieve the perfect colored swirl. I used a popular combination in Puerto Rico, Guava & Cream Cheese.
For the Guava Filling:
1 cup of Guava Paste or Jam (if you use jam, water is not necessary)
1/3 cup of water, to dilute the guava paste.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting (optional):
4 oz of softened cream cheese
2 tablespoon of softened butter
2 cups of icing sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract.
Icing sugar for sprinkling
- Pre-heat the oven to 190 C/ 375 F. Grease a swiss roll or cookie pan (13 x 9 in) with butter or cooking oil and line with baking paper (grease the baking paper also).
- With an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together until light and foamy, then add the sifted flour, carefully folding with a spatula it into the mixture.
- Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for around 10-15 minutes, until it’s lightly browned and coming away from the pan at the edges.
- While the cake is baking, bring water to boil then add sugar until it dissolves and becomes a syrup. Remove from heat and cool until lukewarm. Then add the almond extract.
- Place some baking paper or and aluminum foil on a work surface and sprinkle with icing sugar. Turn the cake on top of it and peel the paper from the back of the cake.
- Brush the cake liberally with the syrup while both are still hot, that will moisten the cake and will be easier to roll up.
- Roll up the cake using the baking paper or the aluminum and leave to cool. Note: I prefer to use the aluminum foil because you can roll the cake more tightly and it will hold it’s shape.
- While the cake cools, prepare the fillings. Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add sugar gradually, beating after each addition until blended. In a small pot, heat guava paste and water, stirring occasionally, until paste is all melted.
- Once the cake is cooled open the roll and spread with the guava jam and cream cheese filling. Roll carefully. Neaten up the ends with a knife.
- Sprinkle the top with more icing sugar if necessary and enjoy this pinch of sugar with a good cup of coffee!!