Sans Rival Sandwich Bites

The Sandwich Surprise: With Thanksgiving just days away, I had a special dessert on the brain: Sans Rival Sandwich Bites.

sans slice (best)

The Inspiration: Sans Rival is a traditional Filipino cake for big occasions, like graduations, weddings, and birthdays — the theme for this month’s Let’s Lunch. (Check out everyone’s birthday dishes here!)

Sheets of baked meringue alternate with healthy smears of buttercream frosting, and every layer is studded with chopped, toasted cashews. The cake is frozen and served cold, highlighting the crunchy of the meringue and the almost ice-creamy sweetness of the icing.

If I had been a savvier child, I might have requested Sans Rival for every birthday. Alas, in reality, I’ve only had this buttery, sugary, nutty deliciousness a few times in my life.

But now  I know how to make it whenever I want. (Teehee.) And turning this Pinoy delight into mini sammies means:

1) I got to live my dream of doubling the crunchy meringue — just like I did with the graham cracker crust of my Honey Pecan Almond Cheesecake Sammy Bites last November; and

2) I tweaked the usual frosting recipe — straight-up buttercream is not my favorite — by subbing in a little cream cheese for some of the butter.

The Sandwich Surprisees:

My Pinoy pals, Mary Margaret and Michelle, and the fabulous honorary Filipino Elaine:

sans elaine happy

The Verdict: “I’ve never had Sans Rival before, but it’s really good,” said Elaine, a transplant from Texas.

“The cream cheese is great, because it makes it creamier but not too sweet,” said Mary Margaret.

“You did a good job,” added Michelle.

Then we got to talking about tres leches, the Mexican special-occasion cake, and made a dinner date for Mexican food. Because the only thing better than eating with friends is planning for future eating with friends while eating with friends.

The Recipe:

Preheat oven to 300˚.

Using a hand mixer on high, beat 6 organic egg whites in a medium glass bowl until frothy. Add 1/2 t. of cream of tartar, then slowly pour 1 cup organic white sugar while mixing on high speed. Continue until mixture is glossy and you can make stiff peaks with it.

Fold in 2/3 c. toasted, chopped, unsalted cashews.

Line a 12″ x 18″ baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour mixture onto paper, then spread evenly onto the sheet using a spatula. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the meringue is a golden brown.

Remove meringue from paper onto a cooling rack.

sans meringue best

For the frosting, soften 2 oz. of cream cheese with 6 oz. of unsalted organic butter. Using a hand mixer, briefly whip in 2/3 cup of organic white sugar and 1 T. vanilla extract until fluffy.

The traditional recipe calls for 6 egg yolks to be added to the frosting — you can omit this if you like, since it’s kinda a pain in the neck. But if you use it (I did), boil 1/4 c. water with 1/3 c. organic white sugar and heat until it reaches 250˚ on a candy thermometer.

Whip the yolks on high until thick and light yellow, and then, while continuing to mix on high speed, pour a little bit of the syrup in at a time, until all the syrup is incorporating. (If the syrup balls up in the yolk mixture, you can spoon it out.)

Then whip the yolk mixture into the butter mixture until fully combined.

sans frosting

Once the meringue cools, cut two 8″ x 8″ slabs. Set aside one slab, and fold the other in half with the stickier side in the middle. Place in a cake pan lined with parchment paper.

Spread frosting on this layer, then sprinkle with more toasted, chopped, unsalted cashews until fully covered. Break off pieces of the remaining meringue and layer on top of the nuts. Then spread more frosting until covered and sprinkle more nuts.

sans layers 3 (best)

Repeat until you run out of frosting. Fold the second slab in half and place atop the last frosting layer.

sans pre freeze

Cover with parchment paper and wrap tightly with foil. Freeze for at least 4 hours.

When ready to serve, slice cake as soon as you take it out of the freezer and serve immediately. Return the rest of the cake to the freezer — unless you plan to eat the whole thing right now. Silly me …

Sandwich Surprise loves to surprise its friends!

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*Let’s Lunch is a fun group of food bloggers from all over the world. We have a virtual lunch date every month via Twitter (#letslunch) and share each others’ food adventures on a new topic each time. Here are the other Let’s Lunchers’ posts!

Betty Ann’s Pancit Sotanghon (Filipino Noodles) at Asian In America

Cheryl’s Chinese Tea Eggs at Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

Karen’s Mini Cheesecakes at GeoFooding

Linda S.’s Mama’s Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup at Spice Box Travels

Please check here throughout the day for more birthday-themed links to Let’s Lunch’s bloggers!

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