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Musings. Family. Food. Stories. Cooking. Recipes. Eating. A recipe journal. From simple Filipino dishes to challenging recipes and exciting gastronomical failures. This is for my girls to look back on for comfort, memories, laughs, love and lots of food!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Paciencia - Filipino meringue cookies

A meringue is really nothing but a foam. 
And what is a foam after all, but a big collection of bubbles? 
And what's a bubble? It's basically a very flimsy little latticework of proteins draped with water. 
We add sugar to this structure, which strengthens it. 
But things can, and do, go wrong. - Alton Brown

Well it is exactly that.  It's a foam created from whipping egg whites and the structure it creates whether soft peaks or stiff and glossy, is from the sugar that we add as we whip and whisk and whip and whisk away.  Meringue is one of the most versatile foundation for any dessert - as a base it is spectacular as in a pavlova. With nuts it becomes sensational as it macarons, and dacquoise and tortes. Topped with some 100s and 1000s (as in specks and sprinkles), they become like that classic treat you see at local bakeries.  On their own, piped in swirls they're pretty as a bow on a present.  They're even sensational in a mess (as in an Eton mess)!

According to Jennifer Field - a pastry chef I follow online, the basic ratio for a stable meringue is one part egg whites and two parts sugar.  As meringue is versatile, they are also the base for a lot of icing and frosting recipes.  I love Italian meringue buttercream in my cakes and use Swiss meringue for a lot of my cupcakes.  And because meringue is the star of this month's theme at the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop hosted by Claire K Creations, it wired up my head with so many possibilities.  But I'd like to let you in on another sweet treat from my home country of 7000 islands, so here comes Paciencia or meringue cookies as they are also called.

Paciencia which means patience in Spanish can only be one of the many food influences which evolved in the Philippines stemming from the Spaniards who set foot in the country.  According to The Winter Guest - Miriam, paciencas are small round cookies typical from various parts of Castilla.
So suffice it to say, it is originally Spanish.  But, as this is so common in the Philippines it has been adapted to suit the Filipino palate.  Pacencias or paciencias are sold commercially in small packets.  Home made, they are packed in jars or small boxes and given as food gifts during the Christmas season. Why its called paciencia eludes me. 

There have been a lot of blogs about this from the Filipino bloggers community worldwide, from Jun Belen, Adora's Box, Oggi - I Can Do That to cite a few, but this version is adapted from Jude of Apple Pie Patis Pate.

These cookies are made with a meringue base, some flour, icing sugar and vanilla.  Piped into small rounds they are baked on low heat till light brown and then cooled. 

To make these meringue cookies:


30 grams (1/4 cup) plain flour

60 grams (1/2 cup) pure icing sugar

2 egg whites (I used large eggs)

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

30 grams (2 tablespoons) caster sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 125*C 

Line your cookie sheet or baking tray with baking paper or use a silpat.

In a medium sized bowl, sift the flour and icing sugar together.  Set aside.

Using the bowl of your electric mixer, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until frothy.

Add the caster sugar a tablespoon at a time and whip until the meringue is stiff and glossy.

Add the vanilla and continue to whisk until incorporated.

Fold in the flour and icing sugar mixture until combined.

Spoon the meringue into a piping bag with a 1/4 round tip.

Pipe the meringue into small rounds (almost the size of a AU$1), making sure there is space apart.

Bake in the preheated oven till light brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Take the tray out of the oven and cool on a wire rack.


* To get stiff peaks when whipping egg whites, make sure your bowl is squeaky clean.  A tip from my chef teacher at TAFE is to swirl a little bit of white vinegar in the bowl to take off any visible grease or dirt.  Throw the vinegar out, but no need to dry the bowl.  Whip away.

* When piping the meringue cookies, you will get some tips or spikes.  If you want a flat cookie like I do, you can dab the tops of the cookies with you finger.  First pour some warm water in a small bowl, dip your fore finger in the water and dab on top of the cookies.  Don't wet them too much, but just to flat out the spikes.

* To keep the cookies nice and crisp, make sure they are cooled before putting them in jars or containers.

These meringue cookies were devoured straight away by my hungry girls after school.  No time for taste testing.  Just gulp gulp gulp.  These are also best served with good coffee, with any flavoured ice cream or simply on their own.

As the "ber" months arrived (in the Philippines, the "ber" months starting from September signals the season of Christmas and almost every commercial establishment starts decorating for the season), this has reminded me to include this in my Christmas gifts for friends, neighbours and office colleagues.

I reckon they will look pretty in a nice jar with a cute doily and a ribbon. And while we're at it, have you started your Christmas list yet?


  1. I'd say they get the name because you need patience to let them cool and not dig in straight out of the oven? They look like something I could down quite a few of in quick succession! Thanks for joining the hop.

    1. Thank you Claire. It does seem to fit the patience bill. And thank you for coming up with a sweet sweet theme this month. xx

  2. These look like they would be the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon cup of coffee or tea (preferably dunked in). Yum!

    1. Thank you Swah. You'd need a teaspoon to catch them straight out of your coffee. Yum!

  3. I love your blog, I found such an experimental blog is this, Which will arrange as a treat for my friends and family.

  4. These are gorgeous :) I adore meringue so these are perfect little bite size treats!

    1. Thanks lovely. Meringue is indeed magical. :)

  5. Yum, these look great and really simple too. My mum used to make something quite like this only she would add shredded coconut.

    1. Thank you Erin. They must be called coconut macaroons? Either way, the coconut sounds lovely.

  6. These look great - I imagine I could eat a handful without even realising!

    1. Thank you Mary. Yes one can get carried away munching these little treats.

  7. Thanks for the recipe. Never tried Filipino meringue before but I heard it's really good.I love baking and did so almost everyday before I got too busy managing a Chinese Restaurant in Capalaba area. But this seems easy to prepare, I'd love to do this on the weekend with the kids, thanks for the recipe!

  8. Oh these look so light and yummy. Is it therefore OK to eat an entire jar of it in one sitting? :D

    1. Thank you Monica. Yes, they're so small you can get carried away with it. They're really light and not so sweet so yeah, maybe a jar wouldn't hurt. :D

  9. I can imagine these being just the perfect thing to go with a stunning cup of coffee. I will definitely be trying these!!! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you Marian. They are indeed great with a cuppa.

  10. These are gorgeous Anna - some how in the midst of my trip I missed commenting but thanks for sharing for SABH!



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