Nothing Rivals Sans Rival

It’s Foodie Tuesday!

One of the desserts that people used to beg my Mom to make was Sans Rival. It’s this sinfully rich confection that’s made up of crunchy meringue and cashew layers, smothered in a creamy egg yolk butter cream. It’s so terribly fattening, but when I’m immersed in its heady melt-in-your-mouth awesomeness, I just forget to care.

Before this week, I didn’t know that this dessert was a Filipino invention. It has a French name, after all (it means “without rival”, by the way). But a quick Google search reveals that it is indeed a product of this part of the world.

So I decided to make this recipe for a friend who loves Sans Rival and is celebrating her birthday tomorrow. I’ve only done this once before, and that time my mom was there coaching me. Today, I flew solo, and I braced myself for a whole bunch of mistakes and mishaps. It was a learning experience that will benefit my future attempts, and I hope your first foray into Sans Rival heaven. So here’s it is, straight from my mom’s recipe book, with additional instructions from me.

Sans Rival

Meringue:
7 egg whites
1½  teaspoons cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
1½ cups chopped cashews

Frosting
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
7 egg yolks
2 sticks (8 oz) salted butter

½ c chopped cashews for topping
butter or margarine for greasing
flour for dusting

Prepare four 9 x 13 inch baking sheets by greasing them generously with butter or margarine, then lining them with baking paper, and greasing them again and dusting with flour. At first this seemed like an overkill to me, but trust me, you have to do this, or else the meringue will stick to the paper, and even the pan.

Make frosting. Beat the egg yolks on high speed. Boil sugar and water to make syrup. When the egg yolks are pale yellow and form soft peaks, gradually add the syrup which by now should form a soft ball when dropped in a bowl of cold water. Cover and chill.

Cream the butter and add egg yolk mixture gradually. Use this as filling between meringue layers, and frosting on top, and on the sides. Sprinkle chopped cashews on top and on the sides. Cover and chill.

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Make meringue layers. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar. Add sugar gradually and beat until stiff but not dry. Spread meringue evenly onto prepared pans and sprinkle chopped cashews on top.

Bake in the slow oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until it’s a light toasty brown. Ease the parchment from the pan and transfer the layers onto a cooling rack. Wait a few moments until the meringue has cooled enough slightly so that it’s not so soft anymore. Turn the layers over and very carefully and delicately peel off the parchment. Frost them as soon as they cool and hard and dry to the touch. Wait longer and the meringue layers will soften, and you don’t want that. Stack the meringue layers, spreading the egg yolk and butter frosting in between, and on the top and sides. Chill before serving.

All images by Nathalie Mariano

Posted in Culture, Food | Tagged , , ,

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