How to Make Your Own Silvanas

How to Make Your Own Silvanas How to Make Your Own Silvanas

 

In French, “sans rival” means without rivals. In Filipino (okay, they aren’t Filipino words, but what the heck), it’s what we call this delightful cake composed of layers upon layers of wafer-thin meringue, buttercream icing, and chopped cashew nuts.

 

Now, while a sans rival cake tastes heavenly, my favorite iteration of this sweet and chewy treat is its cookie form: irresistible cashew-meringue rounds sandwiching scoops of that addictive buttercream icing and then rolled around in cookie crumbs. Frozen solid, each bite is is equal turns crunchy and chewy, with the contrasting textures of silky buttercream and roughly-chopped cashew nuts making it decidedly more-ish.

 

I could go on and on about the virtues of silvanas (we got a couple boxes for Christmas, and it didn’t even last a week in our freezer, but I digress), but you know what, I’ll just give you the recipe for it so you can experience this Dumaguete City delicacy for yourselves:

 

Ingredients

 

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup cashew nuts

4 large eggs, separated

1 large egg

1 ¼ cups white sugar, divided

¼ cup water

? teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, softened and cut into 16 cubes

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Procedure

 

  1. Preheat oven to 300F. Grease and flour cookie sheets. Set aside.

  2. Using a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, process the flour and nuts until the latter are finely chopped. Set aside.

  3. With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on high speed until they form stiff peaks.

  4. Gradually add ¾ cup of the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Gently fold in the flour-nut mixture.

  5. Attach a wide, round tip to an icing bag (alternatively, you can use a Ziploc bag and simply snip off one of its corners) and fill with the meringue batter. Pipe the mixture into 3-inch rounds on the prepared baking sheets. Smooth the tops with an offset spatula.

  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden-brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

  7. Set aside 20 of the nicest cookies. Take the rest and put them in a food processor with a blade attachment. Process to make fine crumbs. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

  8. Combine water and the remaining sugar in a saucepan and boil until it registers 238F on a candy thermometer.

  9. While waiting, whip the egg yolks with the whole egg using an electric mixer on high speed for 10 minutes or until the mixture forms a ribbon when the paddles are lifted. (The mixture will be pale yellow.) Stir in the salt.

  10. After the syrup has reached the desired temperature, carefully pour it onto the egg yolk mixture in a slow, steady stream (lest you end up with scrambled eggs). Whip continuously on high speed until the mixture has cooled and thickened.

  11. Lower the mixer speed to medium and gradually add the butter, 1 cube at a time. Keep whipping until the mixture turns smooth (it will look slightly lumpy and curdled at the beginning). Add the vanilla extract.

  12. To assemble, spread about a tablespoon (two if you’re feeling generous) on one side of a meringue cookie. Cover with another cookie to make a sandwich.

  13. Spread a tablespoon of buttercream icing all over the cookie sandwich, including the sides. Roll it around in the bowl of meringue crumbs and place on a cookie tray.

  14. Repeat with the other cookies until the icing is used up.

  15. Freeze or refrigerate until the buttercream icing is firm.

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