My Sans Rival is Getting Better…

But not good enough to write and post a recipe yet. :( Long-time readers of this blog know I attempted a sans rival in late 2005, to fairly horrific visual results though perhaps a 5 or 6 out of 10 on the taste rating scale, post here. Readers then chimed in with terrific tips for making a better sans rival, as well as lots of leads to really good commercially available sans rivals. At the time, frazzled by my attempt, I concluded that buying was better than sweating it out. :) A few years later, I attempted some silvanas, a similar type of dessert, and that effort likewise ended in frustration and meringue capitulation, posts here and here. Let’s just say I wouldn’t be offended if someone referred to me as being “meringue-challenged.”

But a slew of Visayan torta experiments meant we had dozens and dozens of egg whites in the house so I don’t know what came over me but I thought I would attempt a sans rival again. First of all, the “lots of egg whites” reason is kinda dumb, since lots of egg yolks are needed for the buttercream… but anyway… I made two large layers of meringue with lots of chopped almonds and baked them until light brown. They were too thick and undercooked, hence slightly chewy. But at least I managed to peel them off the parchment paper and cut them neatly in half, resulting in four perfectly shaped layers that would fit exactly into the covered plastic container which could fit in the freezer. Had I lowered the temperature in the oven to 250F and cooked the meringue layers longer, they would have been uniformly tanned in color and would have dried to a crisp wafer, the ideal result…

For the buttercream, I went all out and used some canned Queensland butter, hoping to get that more flavorful, almost cheesy aspect to infuse the icing. And while I thought I was generous with the icing recipe, I didn’t have as much as I thought for all the layers and the outside of the sans rival. I tried to make up for it with a generous amount of toasted and chopped almonds.

After several hours in the freezer, this cut beautifully, but was a little chewy to the bite. I’d say it was a 7.0-7.5 on the Sans Rival scale but I think I am getting the hang of this infuriatingly difficult dessert to make, or at least for me it is infuriatingly difficult. :) Will have to keep at this a couple of more times before I would publish a recipe. But having run out of almonds, I am going to use some freshly harvested cashews that I brought back from Palawan the other day. They are the best tasting cashews or kasoy I have sourced locally and roasted myself.

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37 Responses

  1. Yum! I love Sansrival. The photo is mouthwatering. :) And because of your post, I’m buying one here in Kapitolyo. Judging by your efforts, I feel like it is easier to buy than make! :D

  2. I’d say that that your rating of 7.0 to 7.5 of your sans rival would still be a lot better compared to those sold commercially, considering your high standards. And once again, this is me volunteering to be your taster!

    Those sans rival looks really delish! I haven’t had one for a very loooooong time! Dying to taste one!

  3. looks yummy! got to have one today…since i don’t bake, who can suggest where i can buy the best one?

  4. getting there! the gold standard is crisp and crumbly, but some folks actually prefer it chewy and gummy.

  5. Heck I think I’d probably better off buying the one in Burger Machine than make em hahahah… It’s a fave when I drop by their store… heheh

  6. The Phil-Am store in Queens used to sell sans rival- it was my go-to birthday cake!

  7. If crisp meringue is what you’re after, then you are right in storing it in the freezer. However, in French cake recipes with almond meringue component such as Robert Linxe’s Délice or Julia Child’s Dacquoise, the suggestion is to assemble the cake a couple of days ahead and let it sit in the fridge to allow the crispness to mellow into toothsome tenderness. It could be that our taste and preference is just different so we have diverged from the French standard.

    A cousin arrived to settle in Toronto recently who takes orders for them leaves the empty spaces between the layers caused by the thick edges intact. I would feel cheated by the caverns so I gently press down on mine to squeeze out the void and make the cake solid. She swears the cashew nuts, the egg yolks and the butter back there are a lot tastier than what she can obtain here.

  8. Can I ask how much the cashews cost? I wonder if it’s harvest time right now. Some of the cashews sold by wholesalers to bakeries actually come from Vietnam.

  9. While you’re still experimenting and your dessert is still “Avec Rival”, there’s a girl named Gay in Valle Verde who makes a really good Macadamia Sans Rival. My friends might kill me for sharing this but her number is 6310125 (can’t seem to find the mobile number now). She has other variations–toffee sans rival, etc. But I think her mac is the best of all.

    Disclosure: I’m not related, don’t know her, never met her–just in a sharing mood.

  10. @Marivic: Avec Rival’s clever. Hehe. And thanks for the tip.

    @MM: You can do it, don’t give up. Cheering for you.

  11. The stoneware plate is beautiful. May I ask who the artist is?

    I miss sans rival. I don’t know of any place selling it here in San Antonio. :(

  12. Let me guess MM, is that Ugu Bigyan’s pottery? Am such a big fan of him too. Hopefully, I don’t offend other potters as there are lots of them out there now.

  13. i think humidity is also a factor regarding keeping the meringue crisp and light…but i forget how it affects it. drier days make for better crisper meringue, i think, and more humid days, chewier ones…not sure

  14. @ Marivic- Thank you for sharing your friends no. I was just thinking of what to get my mom for her bday this sunday. My whole fam so love macadamia, we will surely love her sans rival.

    @ MM- Whenever I do a recipe that calls for a lot of yolks, I make sure to buy fresh fruits also, so I can make Pavlova with the whites. It’s just a lot easier to do than a sans rival. But can’t wait til you post your recipe!!!

  15. heny sison offers classes in sans rival. same as jill sandique who taught sans rival there. you can call them as they offer private lessons if you want. or contact jill sandique- she can probably teach you privately in your home. she is also bisaya.

  16. As a kid, it was tradition to have sansrival on my birthday (as well as a bucket of KFC, funny how something which was special to us as kids would become commonplace now) I actually prefer my sansrival chewy that’s why I like them better after a day or two in the ref so that the crispy meringue would soften.

    I remember reading from dessertcomesfirst an egg white omelette she had in HK. Maybe you can do something similar with your egg white surplus?

  17. What a challenging but rewarding task. This cake has been my birthday cake for as long as I can remember. In fact, I have tried making it countless times. One thing I do is to bake it at 300 all the way till medium brown, dry and firm to touch ( it dries further out of the oven). For an 8 inch round it takes 50-60 minutes, enough to be able to remove it from the parchment in one whole piece.

    I also had some metal rings made in Quiapo (mine’s 8x 1/4 inch high-any higher and you’ll have to adjust the baking time). Fill it with meringue, making sure there are no spaces, then using a metal spatula long enough so the blade rests on either side of the ring as a guide, sweep the top in one continuous motion. Remove the rings and bake asap. This makes for a clean and smooth top too.

    Hope this helps. Good luck MM and keep us posted!

  18. I actually do not use yolks for my sansrival buttercream, just butter-icing sugar-evap. I think yolks make it ‘nakakailay’. I make yema with the yolks instead or ensaimada…

  19. Hi Marketman! To make sans rival crispy, you have to work fast. After taking out the wafers from the oven, I peel off the paper and quickly put it straight in the freezer on a cookie sheet and cover it with wax paper. When it’s cold, I take out each layer and apply buttercream and put it back in the freezer and then work on the next layer and so on and so forth and then leave the finished product in the freezer (wrapped in foil) until ready to serve. It remains crisp this way. I thaw it out in the fridge before serving because buttercream tastes better when it’s not frozen. Hope this helps.

  20. Haha, this one looks a lot better than your past attempt though the buttercream kind of looks like cheese (some of the nuts even looks like bacon bits)! As whackerZ says, it looks like a lasagna! don’t give up MM, as they say, “There’s nowhere to go but up!” :)

  21. Rebecca, I know that place it’s Krystal’s. They still sell Sans Rival. I use to go to Krystal’s in Queens to buy Sans Rival, now I go to Red Ribbon in NJ.

  22. I am sure BettyQ will come to the rescue, MM! I made ensaymada yesterday and now have a ton of egg whites, too. I thought about making Sans Rival but I am the only one in the family that eats it. And, yes, you will still need egg yolks for your buttercream.

  23. mm, would you please park your cooking stuff and let us travel to your world of music. food and music blends together. is your kitchen with piped in music ? do you humm when you cook ?

  24. MM, this looks yummy already and i know will tastes great….and to look forward to your recipe of Sans Rival :D

  25. mel, actually, our kitchen at the beach, which I call “my kitchen” does have piped in music. As for the playlist, that’s usually left up to the Teen and Mrs. MM. I am less of a music buff than either of them. I did buy a cello and take some lessons once, but gave up. :)

  26. Hi Marketman! I remembered the sans rival which can be bought in Sta. Rita, Pampanga. Heavenly! :)) You can really tell on the first bite that they aren’t stingy when it comes to the butter and the cashews. Aside from the sans rival they also sell the real turones de casuy and cashew petit fours. My US-based relatives always request for them. :))

    Good luck MM for your perfect sans rival recipe quest!

  27. To Marivic,

    While visiting in the PI recently, I did buy the sans rival from VV and found it way way too sweet for my taste. The buttercream was pretty good but the overly sweet meringue ruined it for me. Unfortunately, unlike sweet icing, you can’t scrape off sweet layers. I felt it a total waste of my money – boo hoo!

    I have attempted making sans rival and nailed the icing but I couldn’t get the thick meringue layers. I’m eagerly awaiting MM’s recipe …

  28. ANYONE willing to share the recipe PLS PLS PLS :( TRY TO make this over and over and over again

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