Have you tried Japanese Fruit Sandos? They’re a new discovery for me and an amazingly fresh, tasty and slightly decadent snack. What’s not to like? They’re very simply sandwiches with fruit and whipped cream in fluffy Japanese milk bread. Absolutely delicious! Maybe they could sell strawberry ones at Wimbledon?
When I first saw Sandos on the internet they looked so tempting and pretty. Unfortunately, I couldn’t track down any Japanese milk bread (shokupan) in Barcelona so found a recipe to make a fluffy sourdough loaf with tangzhong, then followed a Sando recipe where a little sugar and rum is whisked into the cream (recipe links further down). They’re sooo good! If you can buy or bake Japanese milk bread, great. Otherwise sandos apparently work with slices of brioche or white sandwich bread that hold their shape. Instead of strawberries (or alongside them) you can use kiwis, orange segments or any other fruit that look pretty when cut in half. In my optional healthier version there’s drained natural greek yoghurt, but the decadent full-cream ones really hit the spot. Anyway, they’re all delicious and incredibly fast and easy to make! Yum! Tempted?
The Sando above has bigger strawberries and loads of cream. Very yummy.
In this one, greek yoghurt replaced some of the cream. It was nice but needed a bit more yoghurt or cream to balance out the bread and strawberries. And both slices being of the same thickness would help appearances, ahem – just things to look out for.
Basically, you can adapt quantities according to the thickness of your (even) slices of bread, the size of your strawberries and your own love of cream.
My strawberry sandwich is based on the Fruit sando recipe on just one cookbook’s website, which also includes information on the possible origins of this lovely snack. Mine is optionally a little healthier, replacing some sugar with pure maple syrup and substituting a quantity of the cream with unsweetened greek-style yoghurt. Yoghurt makes the filling ever so slightly heavier and tangier compared to the sweeter, floatier full-cream version.
The homemade Japanese sourdough milk bread I used was adapted from Breadtopia’s recipe for Hokkaido milk bread with tangzhong, which is a sweeter version of shokupan and recommended for Sandos, though my version has less sugar (60g instead of 100g). It was my first time using the tangzhong method – it was really easy and wonderful working with such a silky dough!
A minimum 2-3 hours before assembling: drain greek yoghurt, if using
- Day 1: 10 to 20 minutes assembling
- Day 2 (or 4 hours after assembling, especially if using Western white sandwich bread that could get soggy): 5 minutes cutting
Ingredients for 1 sando
The quantities and fruit used are pretty flexible so please adapt to your taste.
- 120g/ml chilled whipping cream (heavy or 35% fat minimum); 180g/ml if not using greek yoghurt
- 2 tsp/13g pure maple syrup (or sugar)
- 1 tsp/4g caster (superfine) sugar
- 1/2 tsp dark rum, optional (could replace with pure vanilla extract)
- 60g/2oz drained natural unsweetened greek-style yoghurt (from about 80g/2.8oz yoghurt, drained 2 to 3 hours)
- 2 slices of Japanese milk bread, about 1 to 1 and 1/2 cm thick (alternatively, brioche or white sandwich bread)
- 5 medium-sized strawberries, all about the same size
Illustrated recipe (click here for printable PDF)
Pretty easy, huh?
For step 1, if it’s warm in your kitchen, place the bowl of chilled cream over a basin of cold water with ice cubes. This helps keep cream chilled and easy to whisk into peaks.
In step 5, you can completely cover the strawberries with cream and really fill out those gaps before topping with the second slice.
For step 7, if you decide to flatten your Sando in the fridge (as recommended in some recipes) make sure it’s with a large even weight to avoid the slight lumpy appearance I got by using a jar. Flattening also makes the bread a bit more dense.
I’ve actually found no weight at all is needed if you wrap the Sando reasonably tightly in plastic film.
For steps 9 and 10, be really careful to keep the Sando in position after unwrapping so you know where that diagonal line was. Otherwise you need to poke the corners with your finger to figure out the diagonal line of strawberries with the tip at one end and the top of the strawberry at the other (done that, been there, will try to remember next time).
Here are the step by step photos.
You can also create your own design with the fruit.
Next day (or earlier if using Western-style sandwich bread that could get soggy) …
When cutting your Sando I would recommend having a bowl of extra strawberries or other fruit on the side and adding the leftover trimmed crusts and cream to this. Covered, this will keep for another day, providing another nice dessert and helping you avoid food waste.
Eating and storing
Sandos look their best if eaten soon after they’ve been cut. But you can also eat half, wrap up the other half and put back into the fridge to eat the following day – tested my own 2-day-old leftover Sando and it tasted just as delish!
The leftovers fruit bowl, stored in the fridge, will also be fine for a few days.
A short history of the Sando
There are some interesting articles on this topic, such as ‘The Cult of the Sando’, that runs through the history of this Japanese sandwich dating back to the 16th century when Portuguese and Dutch trading ships arrived in Japan and introduced the locals to bread (pão in Portuguese, and now pan in Japanese). Interestingly, the writer mentions how in a restaurant the crusts can be served with the sandwich, to avoid waste: Mottainai.
Savoury versions of the Sando, with meat, egg mayo or omelette, are also very tempting and it would be great to explore these soon. There’s an article ‘Getting to know the Japanese Sando’ that lists various kinds and also other examples of yōshoku, Western-inspired Japanese food.
In the meantime, hope you’re inspired to make this simple snack with your seasonal strawberries. Sandos would also be great for a party or buffet brunch, wouldn’t they? Do please have a heavenly Japanese Strawberry Sando!
Thank you for dropping by dear reader. Wishing you all the best during these complex times, with what we can still hopefully count on: some happy baking, no-baking and eating! 🙂 Take care, Lili x