“You just gotta roll with it.”
Another weekend, another baking day for me! This time, I shall be making pionono.
What is pionono? This is difficult to answer. You see, depending on where you are from (e.g. Spain, Philippines, South America, etc.), we may not be talking about the same thing. Pionono varies depending on where it is made. The common factor though is that it is said to have been named after the Italian name of Pope Pius IX, Pio Nono.
In the Philippines, these are small, Swiss roll-like cakes. I loved them as a kid and used to buy them at the Landmark, Makati when they still had Fortune Bakery. Today, it’s not very often that I see pionono in bakeries and I truly missed them lately. That’s why I decided to make my own.
Actually, this is already my second attempt at this because I did not document my first try. Half of the first one I made went to my aunt who came over to visit. Mom mentioned lately that she wanted to have it again because she did not get her fill the first time. So, I decided to make it for her as soon as the weekends came.
- Preheat your oven to 150°C/300°F. Separate the whites and the yolks of 5 large eggs. Make sure the egg whites will have no trace of the yolks.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks, gradually adding 30 grams of white granulated sugar. Add in 25 ml milk, 1 tsp vanilla, and 25 ml melted butter.
- Sift 1/3 cup cake flour and 1/8 tsp salt and add to the egg yolk mixture. Fold in gently and stop once combined.
- With a clean whisk/beater attachment to the electric mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add 1/4 tsp cream of tartar and continue beating. Gradually add 70 grams of granulated white sugar and beat until stiff peaks form and the egg whites do not slide or move when you tilt the bowl. This is the meringue.
- In three batches, add the meringue to the egg yolk mixture and fold in gently. Be careful not to over mix to avoid knocking all the air out from the meringue.
- Line your baking tray with a parchment/baking paper and gently pour in mixture. Gently spread it around to get to the corners of the pan. Give the tray a light tap on your counter/table.
- Bake at 150°C for 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick test comes out clean.
- While still warm, sprinkle the top with powdered sugar. Then, cover the top with parchment paper. Get another baking tray and flip the cake over. Gently remove the parchment paper that was used for baking.
- You may either divide into four or six portions to make small, individual rolls or just make one big roll. Gently roll the cake into a log using the new parchment paper to guide it. Let it cool while rolled into a log.
- While waiting for it to cool, combine 1/4 cup of softened butter and 2 tbsps of powdered sugar. If using unsalted butter, you may add a pinch of salt just to liven the taste of the filling. You may just use butter or margarine too. That should work fine.
- Once the cake has cooled, unroll it and spread the filling. Make sure to leave one inch on each side without filling. Then, gently roll back the cake into a log.
- If desired, you may brush the top of the cake with melted butter and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
When it came out of the oven, it smelled strongly of eggs. It’s not a wonder given that five eggs were used in making this treat. I was too lazy to make 6 individual pieces out of the whole pan I baked so I decided to make it into one big Swiss-roll like piece.
I might have been a little impatient because I realized that it has not cooled enough to keep the butter filling from melting. Tsk. Also, I have to work on making a tighter roll.
The good news is, it still tasted great! It tasted exactly like the pionono I loved as a kid. Even Mom liked it too. She was even teasing me that when I was younger, she baked and I taste tested. Now, it’s the other way around.
It’s true. I learned how to bake from my Mom. We just used a stove-top oven because we could not afford an electric oven yet. Today, we still dream about a large oven and a stand mixer. Hence, I must work very hard to be able to afford these.
Anyway, there you go, guys. My go-to recipe for pionono. What’s the pionono like in your country? How do you make it?