Yesterday was my sister’s birthday, and I wanted to surprise her with a dessert that we both grew up with, Sans Rival. While both the name and the methods used are purely European, Sans Rival is a dessert widely popular in the Phillippines.
The name itself literally translates to “without rival,” and with a name like that who could resist; it’s composed of layers of nut meringue (traditionally cashew) and a rich, buttery French buttercream. Here I decided to give it a twist by replacing the crushed cashews with peanut toffee bits, and by adding a bit (a lot a bit) of rum to the buttercream. I also opted out of covering the entire thing with the buttercream because a little of the stuff goes a long way!
The end result was an incredibly rich bite, with a crunch from the meringue and a smooth, creamy finish with the buttercream. Trust me when I say a small portion is more than enough to get your sweet tooth on.
Peanut Toffee Sans Rival
makes 1 (6-inch) cake
151 g egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
60 g granulated sugar
60 g peanut or other nut toffee, ground finely to almost a powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 250F. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine egg whites and cream of tartar, and whip on medium high speed until it reaches soft peaks. With mixer running, slowly stream in sugar, then whip until it reaches stiff, glossy peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold in peanut toffee and vanilla extract.
Line 2 half sheet pans with silicon mats, then using a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip, pipe meringue batter in a spiral pattern onto silicon mats. You should have enough meringue to make 4 discs, each being 6 inches in diameter. Place sheet pans in preheated oven, and bake about 50 minutes, or until center is firm to the touch when pressed lightly. Let cool completely before filling; discs will be very fragile when cooled, so be careful!
For Rum French Buttercream:
75 g egg yolks
76 g granulated sugar
65 g water
150 g butter, very soft, cut into cubes
6 g dark rum
In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, whip egg yolks on medium high speed. While yolks are whipping, combine sugar and water in a small saucepot and bring to a boil. Let sugar and water cook until it reaches 121C (250F), then with mixer running, slowly pour sugar down the side of the mixing bowl and into egg yolks. Let yolks whip until pale yellow and almost double in volume. With mixer running, add butter little by little, and whip until fully incorporated and buttercream is very smooth and creamy. Slowly stream in dark rum and mix until smooth.
Loosen meringue discs off of silicon mats, being careful not to break them. Determine which disc is the largest and use that as your base.
Place first disc down onto your serving dish (or cardboard circle if you’re transporting it like I did) with a bit of buttercream on the bottom to hold it in place. Divide buttercream into 3, and layer it between meringues, carefully spreading buttercream from the center out, then topping each layer of buttercream with some crushed toffee before adding the next meringue. I dusted the top of the last layer of meringue with some cocoa powder, just to give it a more finished look and a bit of bitterness to kind of balance out the overall sweetness, but it is completely optional. If you would like your Sans Rival to be crunchy, let it sit at room temperature for at least an hour before consuming. If you want it more chewy or soft, let it sit at room temperature for a few more hours or even overnight before enjoying.