Ay Meringue!!! – A Silvanas Disaster a la Marketman?!?


I’d like to believe that all cooks have their “Waterloo,” their “Achilles heel,” or the dishes that they just can’t seem to master or even achieve basic competence in… for me, paper thin lumpia wrappers have caused many a four letter word in the kitchen as I have tried again and again to get it right, to no avail. I also gave up on an “easy puto” recipe to do at home, and I have ALWAYS had SERIOUS problems with all kinds of meringue (see Sans Rival, as well). So it was probably a bit of a “hope springs eternal” attitude when I decided to attempt to make silvanas at the beach (I should have just ordered the bloody things). I prepared for this experiment; obtained the finest ingredients, made sure my oven was in tip-top working order, got oil sprays to coat the stainless pans, and even waiting for a low humidity day combined with airconditioning if necessary. I was in a brilliant baking mood and FOCUSED on silvanas. I followed a recipe that I thought sounded simple and doable and my progress was truly encouraging. My mixer bowl had a beautiful meringue whipped up with lots of air and lots of pulverized almonds folded in.



I had no idea how folks make those small oval shapes so uniform and thin so I decided to use a makeshift pastry bag out of a ziplock plastic bag to pipe out a rough oval shapes. In retrospect, they may have been too thick, so maybe next time I will make them thinner, and flatten the icing peaks. I also suspect that folks might bake a large flat sheet of meringue, then soon after it is taken out of the oven, they use a polvoron mold to cut uniform oval shapes which are then allowed to cool and harden/crisp further…


The meringues were baked in a low heat oven say 230-250 F for 2 hours plus and browned just slightly. For white meringues, you can’t really go over 200F but some color was desirable for this dessert, hence the higher temperatures and shorter (?!) cooking times… But as usual, the problem wasn’t the meringue itself, it was getting it OFF the pan cleanly. My meringue shattered into hundreds if not thousands of bits, despite a well-oiled pan…


And in the end, out of say 50-60 meringues, only 3 pieces came off whole! Yikes… that does seem like a total disaster, doesn’t it???


30 Responses

  1. Silvana is one of my favorite desserts. It was first introduced to me a very long time ago by my Cebuano friends. I don’t attempt to make it but buy it from San Lorenzo.

  2. MM,

    Those crushed meringue are great topping for ice cream or even whipped cream over fresh cut fruit.

    Just a tasty tip. ;)


  3. They still look deliciously edible(I have a terrible sweet tooth)…if you still have the patience next time around, you’ll perfect it na… Though I would never attempt to make any desserts that fall under ‘meringue’…

  4. Hi MM! May i suggest some tips in baking your meringue? You should first GREASE AND FLOUR your baking pan to make sure that you get the meringue off the pan without any problem.Ypu don’t need silpat mats anymore. You should also be careful not to overbeat your eggwhites. Suggest that you beat the eggwhites till thick & foamy, then add your sugar gradually. Fold in the nuts BY HAND alternately with a little flour. It is also important to drop the merinque quickly, and I mean quickly or the meringue will be too watery and will not be crisp at all. I prefer using a baking tablespoon for this. Also bake at 300′ instead.

    Another impt tip, make sure there are no traces of water, oil or egg yolk in the bowl or the egg whites so the whites will really “rise”.

    Looking at your merigue, it would be best to sandwich a good butter icing between your meringues then cover it with more butter icing then roll with fresh cake crumbs. That will be super!

    Hope the tips will help the next time you decide to bake some meringue again for your silvannas.

  5. I always had that problem with sans Rival but after dorwning the wafers with butter filling, it does not look like much of a disaster, as long as it is not burned, it will taste good. next time harvest the wafers while warm and pliant so that you do not break the pieces.

  6. You are looking for a perfect and uniform ellipse? or for that matter, a perfect plump heart shaped macarrons for St. Valentine’s day for the love of your life? I use a cookie press. I know, I know professionals use a forcing bag but you said you want perfectly shaped shapes consistently.

  7. mm, next time line your pan with parchment paper then when you are done baking pour a little water under the parchment paper and it’ll be easier to peel the meringues off.that’s what they do with macaroons.Although i like my silpat mats because i don’t need to do an oiling they just slide right off.

  8. rachel, thanks for the tip, will try parchment, silpats and oiled and floured pans next try to see which works best… Apicio, AHA! I guessed right, a cookie press, may I ask if you cut them just as you take them out of the oven or after they have cooled somewhat. openonymous, thanks, you are reading my mind, stay tuned for the next post. Trish, thank you so much for those tips, will try them the next attempt… elaine, I think I am jinxed with meringues, but will still give it another try or two… Doddie, you are right… trust me, these didn’t end up in the trash… bijin, yup will try parchment and silpats… Thanks everyone… fried neurons, I think I tried silpats once but that was for large sans rival sheets and I didn’t have much luck with that either…

  9. I love silvanas too. I buy one wherever they are available, just for comparison. I really don’t get the ones that are shaped like little footballs. So far, my favorite is from Beard Papa’s in the foodcourt of Glorietta. I also love the classic ones from House of Silvanas.

  10. Try greasing pans then flouring them. Also try covering the pans with tin foil then grease, then flour the foil. My sister always makes sylvanas and they arealways perfect.

    And better to use syrup boiled to soft ball stage than plain sugar. Your meringue will hold up better even if you don’t cook them right away. Meringue made of plain sugar becomes watery after a while in room temp.

  11. This post is enlightening! Like MM, I too have the same problem and have given up making them. I will try again using the above tips,because I just love Silvanas. Thanks to all.

  12. that is so funny-looking…sorry! i was just indulging on some silvanas brought in by a balikbayan nephew who visited cebu and they are really delish. i, too, never had success in making meringues and similar-looking sweets. i guess we have other talents huh? at least, there are 3- one for you, mrs mm, and the kid.

  13. I can understand and relate to your frustration,MM! I learned how to make Sans Rival when I was just 12 years old…Now, I can say, I have learned quite a few tricks over the years and can pass on to others to save them a lot of HAIR PULLING and sweat and whatever have you to vent out your frustrations! Like as Trish says, it is of UTMOST importance that not a trace of oil or yolks get into the whites…so I would avoid using at all costs a PLASTIC BOWL to whip up the whites,,,use preferably metal or glass bowls….room temperature whites works best…also a little cream of tartar or lemon juice or calamansi juice added to the whites as a stabilizer…Now, to get the perfect oval…I usually draw the oval on the underside of the parchment paper. No need to oil or butter or flour the parchment paper. If you use wax paper though, draw on the underside, then LIGHTLY GREASE the wax paper. I don’t even flour it. Now, after whipping the whites to foamy stage, I add the sugar gradually. Here’s a tip you might want to try….FOR EVERY EGGWHITE

  14. I’m a bit intimidated when it comes to meringue, I guess I have to find the courage and one day make some myself! Thanks for the tips!

    Those crushed meringues are perfect for my mid-afternoon snacks!

  15. Oh, my goodness!..so sorry about the other half of the above comment…hubby called and I forgot to press save draft!!! anyway, so for every eggwhite I usually add a TSP. CORNSTARCH mixed in with the sugar ADDED GRADUALLY to the eggwhite. Stop whipping when meringue looks like shaving cream. Overwhipping the meringue causes it to weep ….that’s why you get the syrupy thing stuck to the wax paper. Also, if you don’t want to be bothered with drawing, and the rest of the stuff…using a template works as well. To make a homemade one…cut a clean cardboard box, draw the oval, cut it and cover with foil…poke hole and reshape the oval…there’s your template. Fill in with meringue smoothing it out with palette knife. Lift your template. I usually bake my wafers in the upper third of my oven at 275 to 300 degrees rotating it
    after half an hour or so. I hope this works for you since this method has never failed me yet! My sister is leaving again very soon and I could send you a real template that the bakery uses. BTW..my sister thanks you for the little present and would gladly take the template with her for you! Hope
    this works for you as well!

  16. betty q., thanks for the tips, I think I have enough info now to try this with more confidence again. No need to send anything, will manage, but thanks very much for the offer. :)

  17. Don’t use cold egg whites straight from fridge, they’re more difficult to beat, you won’t get good volume. Separate the eggs while cold and let egg white stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes (depending on how warm room temperature is). The fresher the eggs, the less watery the whites are, the better the meringue.

    Make sure all utensils for beating egg whites are grease-free (wash in warm soapy water, rinse and dry).

    Use parchment or Glad bake baking paper and grease lightly.

    Use a spoon to shape your meringue, you could draw circles using a pencil on the underside of the baking paper before you grease it, flatten surface of meringue with back of spoon.

    After baking, remove meringue shells from the baking paper and transfer to clean baking paper set on a wire rack. The meringue “cookies” shouldn’t stick if these are cooked properly. Cool completely but don’t leave meringue out too long specially if it’s a humid day (shouldn’t ever cook meringue on a humid day anyway).

    Store in an airtight container and stick in freezer or sandwich 2 cookies with icing, wrap individually with wax paper and stick in freezer immediately. This would give a crunchy meringue. Don’t let the icing soak into the meringue coz this will result in a soggy meringue.

    Always pre-heat oven before making the meringue.
    Don’t let meringue sit specially after mixing nuts in. I think the oil in the nuts will kill the bubbles.

    Prepare all baking pans, ingreadients etc. beforehand.

    I make very good sans rival using just my hand-held mixer. The shoulder and back pain are well worth the effort.

    I haven’t tried rum and coffee icing. Thanks for the tip MM.

  18. remove the meringues from the pan as soon as you take them out of the oven, MM. or you could use your silpat liner.

  19. Very helpful tips from the readers, thank you! And if I may add another tip that helped me with my own meringue making adventures—I bought a separate cuisinart handheld mixer which I use only for eggwhites!and an exclusive glassbowl for it!I’m now confident–Look Ma!No oil!

  20. I was at the mall a while ago and I saw this store selling them, just them, in white and brown glory! I wanted to buy some but refrained though.. I think I should have..

    Meringue is really hard to do. I did it before, first when I was in fifth grade, we made this meringue pie. The mixer was a problem, and I guess the humidity too. We were mixing for an hour already and that thing won’t rise!

  21. Sorry if I skip over previous comments, my time on this machine is running out. I line the cookie sheet with aluminum foil, grease or butter the foil surface evenly and sift flour over it. Invert and give the pan a few boinks to remove as much excess flour as possible. Using this liner for silvanas, macarrons, brasa mercedes and sans-rival makes the job of dislodging as easy as picking the pieces up or peeling off the foil off them.

  22. I have the same waterloo. I vowed never to make meringue after a few disasters. This weather is a nightmare to bake. So hot and humid!

  23. I love sylvannas, the chewy ones. Best I’ve tasted are the ones from Dumaguete and Cebu. If unavailable, the ones from red ribbon will satisfy the craving.

    When greasing and flouring your sheets, I think its best to use shortening (Crisco) rather than oil or butter.

  24. Guys, please share your SILVANAS recipe… I have been dying to make one and have not been home to taste the real thing from San Lorenzo or Dumaguete.

  25. Hello, I just came across your posting (and blog!) today. I love the nice and even, golden color of your meringue. The tips about parchment is right. If you use parchment, no need to grease and flour. That parchment will be reusable.

    And yes, draw on the other side, or get a cardboard and draw the circles/ovals there then put it under your parchment to trace it. This way you have a reusable template.

    Usually with practice, you’ll be able to pipe uniform meringues. From the picture you posted the other important thing that I would recommend is that you use a metal piping tip, probably an 803 or 804 ateco. Using a piping tip would help you control your piping. You’ll have a more even thickness and you won’t be needing a spatula to smoothen your meringue.

    Also when I’m piping a circle by doing spirals, I usually start from the center, circling out, instead of starting from the outside, going in. Try both techniques and see what works for you.

    You post a lot of good stuff here! It’s nice to more pinoys blogging about food, especially Filipino food. Keep it up!

  26. I’ve given up on meringue as crusts for sans rival and I’m trying to come up with a good substitute. I’ve never had silvanas so it’s so helpful the way it’s been described.
    I came upon a simple recipe for it on-line, which is this:

    Silvanas Grahan-Style

    1/4 cup butter, softened
    1/4 cup margarine
    1/2 cup powdered sugar or confectioners’ sugar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    75 g cashew nuts, finely chopped
    5 chocolate graham crackers, each cut into 3 pieces
    1/3 cup chocolate graham cracker, crushed


    1 DO FILLING. Whip butter and margarine until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until creamy and well-blended. Set aside about 1/4 cup for decorating. Mix in chopped cashew nuts.

    2 ASSEMBLE. Spread about 1 teaspoon butter cream on square Grahams piece. Top with another square piece to make it look like a sandwich. Repeat this procedure until you have 7 sandwiches.

    3 SPREAD a thin layer of butter cream all over each graham-butter cream sandwich. Roll and cover sandwiches in crushed MY San Grahams Chocolate. Chill and serve.


    I also thought of using Oreo Cookies without the white filling (but with that chocolate flavoring….it would be a different kind of silvana.

    Now, I’m thinking of wonton wrappers, brushed with butter and baked till crisped. Toast the cashew nuts to get the flavor to come out and make the filling. The wontons won’t have any flavor to intrude with the sans rival filling. Spread the filling and stack them up.
    I’m hoping the wonton wrappers will retain some of its crispness.

    I’m also thinking of very thin layer of rice krispies squares to serve as a base. I know it wouldn’t be the real thing…but living far from home with no access to the real McCoy…a good substitute is all I can hope for. :)

  27. I’ve come across some thin Italian wafers/cookies called Pizzelle at a regular grocery store, which I think can substitute for the merengue crust. I wonder if it’s available only for the holiday season. Maybe Italian grocery stores have them year-round.
    Mangiabenepasta.com/pizzelle.html has a picture and recipe of it. Marketmanila might want to make the wafers (they’re versatile imho).

    I bought the maple-flavored variety. Apparently it also comes in chocolate flavor (was not available at the grocery store)
    It’s sort of like a very thin and delicate version of barquillos. I stacked up 4 pieces and bit into it to test the texture…..looks promising.
    I’m using them to try my hand at silvanas today…will let you know how they turned out.

  28. They turned out very well! In less time and less work. I used almonds. Can’t wait to try out other kinds of nuts!



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