"Kusina" = Kitchen; "Manang" = older sister

A Filipina's unabashed chronicle of her adaptations in the American kitchen. Includes step-by-step photos on how to make pan de sal, ensaymada, pan de coco, siopao, hopia, pandelimon, pianono, atsara, crema de fruta,etc., and if you are lucky, you will find videos too!

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Almond Sans Rival Part I - Meringue layers

I got into this obsessive desire to try making sans rival after my correspondence with retired pastry chef, EQ, who loved my supersoft ensaymada. I asked for his recipe for sans rival, but he could not find it, so he pointed me instead to two sites that will help me create them.

Sans rival ("no rival") is a very sinfully delicious dessert that I encountered first, I believe, in a bakeshop within UP campus during my college days. I cannot remember the name of the building (not an academic building but one of the administrative type of buildings, I think). In any case, since introduction to it, I had been enjoying it whenever and wherever I saw it (together with another favorite dessert, Sambo). I can't buy them where I am now.

The most common flavor then was cashew. Nowadays, browsing through the net, there are also other flavors such as pistachio and other nuts, and pandan. I made almond, based on the recipe pointed out to me. I am not too keen anymore on the pandan...somehow, the essence/extract/flavoring tastes too artificial to me. Nothing like the real leaves boiled in water.

As I said in the previous post, I will post this in a series (like my hopia series). If you have plenty of egg whites (maybe you make your leche flan only with yolks, or you are making runny ensaymada dough using 20 egg yolks), you might want to make sans rival. Both meringue and buttercream recipes I used as reference make use of egg whites.

Now, I don't know what the origin of the term is, but this particular wafer has its own name (which it deserves to have, in my opinion): Dacquoise. I don't have the least idea how to pronounce that. This is what makes the meringue layers of sans rival. Plain or used in sans rival, these have become a big hit in my family, including my hubby.

The way I prepared the meringue layer was as individual servings of round flat "cookies" or wafers which everyone in my family also loves plain. I have experimented in the past by baking one whole flat sheet then using a biscuit cutter, but I ended up with crumbs and broken pieces. The site I referred to here gave me the idea about using patterns, although it did not elaborate much on how to easily peel off the meringue from the parchment paper. Some sites say to use greased and floured baking pans. I remember when I made the frozen brazo de mercedes, I greased the wax paper. At the edges where I missed some spots, the meringue stuck. So I experimented doing these two things: greased only, and greased and floured.

2/3 cup egg white, in room temp for 30 minutes
2/3 cup almond meal (I had sliced almonds chopped finely in food processor)
1/4 cup sugar, mixed with almond meal
2 tbsp sugar, mixed with egg whites during foaming
2/3 cup sugar, mixed with egg whites during soft peaks


EDITED 3/19/09: Take out your eggs from the fridge and separate the whites if you don't have them ready yet (easier to separate them while cold). Use a small bowl/cup to catch the egg white. Once you are sure you are not gonna break the yolk, transfer the white to the mixing bowl, preferably glass or metal, not plastic. If you break the yolk, reserve that whole egg for another recipe and use another egg to avoid contamination of the whites). Let the egg whites sit out at room temp (better for whipping) while you prepare the pans.

A. Prepare the pan . Follow these steps carefully or you will end up breaking all your dacquoise trying to remove from the pan, then you will end up with crumbs.

1. Make patterns of circles on one side (the side that will touch the pan later) of wax or parchment paper. (I used sharpie and a plastic cup.)

2. Apply a thin layer of shortening onto baking sheet. (I dip paper towel into a bucket of Crisco to get about a tbsp of shortening. I then wipe this onto the baking sheet.)

3. Place the patterned wax/parchment paper onto the greased sheet.

4. Grease the paper also (like in step 2).

Note: I attempted to try sprinkling with flour one of them greased paper. I compared the two after baking. The floured ones stuck more. So just be satisfied with greasing the paper. I don't think that greasing the pan under the paper will also help, but I do it anyway so my paper sticks to the pan and not slide.)

B. Prepare the batter and bake. Pre-heat the oven to 225 deg F. (Recipe courtesy of Zoe).

1. Mix the almond meal with 1/4 cup sugar.
2. Start whipping the egg white under medium speed.
3. When whites start to foam, add the 2 tbsp sugar. Continue whipping.
4. When soft peaks form, gradually add 2/3 cup sugar while continuing to whip the whites. Stop when stiff peaks form. [Note that in the slideshow I changed from glass bowl to the metal bowl. I did this because my hand mixer did not seem to have enough power to beat once the sugar made the mixture sticky. The motor was running but the beaters were not. So I immediately transferred to my clean metal bowl and continued whipping there. It is important that there is no trace of water, oil or even egg yolks when whipping egg whites.]
5. Add half of the sugar+almond mixture by folding* this into whipped egg whites. Repeat with the remaining half.
6. Place in ziploc bag. Cut a corner and pipe out thin layers onto prepared pan, following the patterns.
7. Bake for 1 hr. Peel off paper and let dry out some more on cooling racks while making the buttercream. [Note: Maybe a shorter time will do, since this is very thin, maybe 20 minutes? maybe increasing the temp will help also? Then just let dry out some more on wire racks, if your air is as dry as mine here. If not (like in the Philippines, where it is always humid), maybe stick to the temp as above, bake for 20 mins, turn off heat and let residual heat dry out the cookies/wafers some more.)

*If any of my readers would be interested to make this (and other recipes with "folding" step) but do not really know exactly what folding is (if you are a newbie in baking), I will try my best to upload a video as an example, if requested. I may not be an officially trained baker, but I do know what "folding" means in baking terms. It was demonstrated to me by my ex-MIL, who is a home economics graduate. One thing to remember: YOU DO NOT USE A WIRE WHISK TO GENTLY FOLD something into the batter; rather, you use a spatula or spoon. The folding is a means to incorporate ingredients into an airy/bubbly batter without breaking up all the air bubbles, because you want to maintain the airy-ness and fluffiness of the batter for "volume" and sponginess upon baking.

UPDATE as of 3-27-09:
I made this again today, but basing on other recipes, i tried to do short cut by baking at 350 deg F for 20 minutes. Well guess what...after about 10 minutes, I sniffed the burnt smell! It was too late! I already ruined this batch...I will have to wait again for egg whites...


  1. hello po, manang thank you so much for sharing this recipe. sana macompleto. this is my fav. sans rival. im learning everyday. thank you thank you. have you heard of cheese chiffon cake with grated cheese toppings? manang if u have this recipe post nyo po ha. again thank you po.

  2. Hi jean,
    You are so welcome. I hope that the result you get from this is the same sans rival you are familiar with.
    I haven't heard of cheese chiffon cake...sorry. :(

  3. manang...! i also made sans rival last week but mine is chocolate and pistacchio. i have not posted it yet (still finishing my daring bakers challenge). the recipe came from my godmother who is also a home economics grad. her original recipe is plain with cashews (as you said, that's the typical filling for sans rival) so i tweaked and made chocolate sans rival with pistachio filling. i will have to try your recipe with almonds...i love almonds! just about the only nuts i am allowed since it does not have starch. you are one hard-working woman! hats off!

  4. Hi raquel,
    abangan ko post mo. I was thinking about the chocolate version for my hubby's sake (he is so not into buttercream!). My sons will most probably enjoy the pistachio flavor as well!

  5. gud morning po...meron na po bang part ii ang sans rival? nawawala kc un recipe ko..salamat..

  6. Hi leah,

    If you read the post above, the very first sentence gives you a link to the sans rival series. click on that link and it will give you all three posts on sans rival, with the first one being at the bottom. :)

  7. Hi Manang! I made sansrival last night, but my meringues got stuck on the wax paper. I made my wafers bigger than what you did though, and I used canola oil to grease the wax paper. I have to patiently scrape the paper off. I am very happy with it except for the meringue getting stuck. Do you have any suggestions?

  8. Hi Anonymous,
    I had the best outcome by using the Reynold's parchment paper, and using Crisco shortening to grease it. I have also tried the butter-flavored spraying oil and it works as well.

  9. Thank you for replying Manang, I will try doing that next time.

  10. Hi Manang,
    Thank you so0o0o much for ur recipe! Lam mo ba nung first time kong gawin ito sa dahil nakuha ko sa ibang site dahil hindi pa kita nadiscover nun,it was horrible !!! my butter cream are melting!!! so greasy nung ilalagay ko na sa meringue!!! it was a disaster until nung makita ko yung recipe mo at malinaw ( step by step ) ang pagkakasabi mo at naging AMAZING kinalabasan noh!!! BONGGA!!! hahaha... kc naman yung recipe nung una kong nadiscover sa ibang site hindi ko maapreciate kc palpak lahat ung ginawa ko! complicated ung recipe na un hindi man lang nilinaw at sana naman may picture tulad nung sayo kaya kinalabasan nung MERINGUE ko dahil cooking time lang ang binigay nya eh SUNOG ang aking MERINGUE hahaha...malaki naitulong mo saakin Manang maraming salamat saiyo!mwaaah... Oooh by the way Manang, medyo hirap ako sa pag sh-shape nung meringue eh yung shape ng meringue mo flat yung top saakin hirap akong iflat yung surface nya... ano dapat ko kailangan gawin ko para maging smooth ung surface? dapat ba akong gumamit ng cake spatula? Thank you Manang for everything! more power to you !!! ingat ka lagi

  11. You probably first had this at Chocolate Kiss at the UP Alumni building. :) I love that restaurant.

  12. Hi Manang, I'm so proud of you doing what you do for other people to learn from your postings/blogs. Maraming salamat.

    How many rounds of wafer did you make out of this recipe? Pano po ba ang gagawin kung dalawang trays total? Hindi po ba mag de-deflate yung egg white while waiting for one tray to cook, kasi po di kasya sa oven ko yung dalawang trays na side-by-side.

  13. HI Ela,
    Thanks for the appreciation. I wish I had more time to devote to this blog.
    Honestly, I did not count how many wafers I made. Basta gawa lang ako nang gawa, then I pair with the buttercream. I had excess wafers, but we loved them plain anyway so I did not mind. I had to bake the wafers at different racks. Since the temp is low, the main thing to achieve here is to cook the egg whites and let the wafer dry out so they become crisp and not chewy. The thinness has more to do with the crispiness. The thicker, the more chewy (which some prefer in their sans rival).
    If you don't have enough space to fit in all of them at the same time, rest assured the later pans of meringue will not deflate as they wait for their turn to be baked. :)

  14. What a great find this site is. The almond meringue looks delicious. I look forward to making it for my family.

  15. Hi KA Pro 500,
    Thanks! Are you a Filipino or belong to a Filipino family?

  16. Hi Manang!

    I've seen sans rival recipes that use confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar) vs. cane white sugar, is there any difference in the sans rival result & do you have any preference between the two?

  17. Hi Anonymous, I am sorry I have not tried the confectioner's sugar for this recipe. Although I would think some recipes probably use that to ensure that the whites do not deflate as sugar is added. I think as long as you add the sugar gradually, it won't deflate anyway. And the sugar, once it starts to dissolve in the whipped eggwhites, seems to stabilize the whites anyway.

  18. hi manang! i like your old sansrival recipe. the best yun..so much better than the recipe i found from a famous pastry chef here in the philippines :)

  19. hi crystal, well, well, well! Thanks for that super duper compliment! I do pass on the credit to the pastry chef I mentioned above, EQ, who was so kind to give me links that I could use to come up with my recipe for the sans rival.

  20. Hello Manang,

    Whats the secret po for a crunchy meringue. Mine is NOT CRISPY at all. Since this is my first time in trying it out, hindi ko po alam where did I go wrong. Okay lang po nba na brown na yung color ng meringue as long as kumpleto na 30 minutes at 325 degrees and baking time?


    1. Hi blackorange...I don't know where you got the 325 deg 30 minutes baking time. My instructions above call for baking at 225ºF for 1 hr. Maybe that's where you went wrong.

  21. Hi Manang,

    Can you kindly post a video of your san rival recipe especially, the icing butter. I do not know what spins a thread means.

    1. Hi Anonymous, I don't think I ever took videos while making this. And if I did, it would take time to look for it in the tons of photos and videos I have in my computer. I don't think I will have the time for that. So I can't promise that I will be able to post a vid anytime soon.
      Re spins a thread...not sure that I even used those terms in making buttercream...could you enlighten me please?

  22. why when i made the mirengue after i put the hazel nuts d egg foam became liquid again.?so frustrated i tried 3x but same thing happend.?somebody give an advice please.

    1. HI Anonymous, First off, I used almond meal (finely ground using the food processor), not hazel nuts. Second, the meringue would deflate upon addition, but it will not turn too liquidy. YOu will still be able to use the spatula to scoop it and place inside the piping bag, then pipe out into a circle much like in the shape of a katol.


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