Catherine of Munchie Musings was our November Daring Bakers’ host and she challenged us to make a traditional Filipino dessert – the delicious Sans Rival cake! And for those of us who wanted to try an additional Filipino dessert, Catherine also gave us a bonus recipe for Bibingka which comes from her friend Jun of Jun-blog.
Once again, I am feeling like I barely squeaked out the challenge. The month didn't start out that way. I had every good intention that first weekend of November of tackling the Sans Rival dessert. Even when that weekend came and went with no dessert made I still knew I had three weekends left before the challenge deadline and surely I could use one of them to get it finished.
The next weekend was completely gone when we decided to use the long holiday weekend to take a last hurrah camping trip before winterizing our trailer. Still though, one more weekend before Thanksgiving, of course I still had time.
Saturday of that weekend we went down to Seattle to visit some friends and get a few ingredients for our Thanksgiving feast and Sunday was spent in my classroom. Alas, here I was the night before Thanksgiving contemplating whether to skip the challenge and just focus on Thanksgiving or try at the last minute to do both.
What convinced me to give it a shot is that my husband purchased a few pounds of pistachios for this dessert. Yes, you heard me right, a few pounds. I asked for a few cups, he bought a few pounds. Pretty big difference. And while we managed to eat the pistachios that weren't necessary for the dessert I didn't want to just frivolously eat pistachios that were purchased with a purpose.
So . . . I managed to go back and forth between making a dinner of lasagna soup, a pumpkin and salted caramel cheesecake for one of our Thanksgiving desserts, and the Sans Rival. It really was a bit challenging to keep things straight when I was working on vanilla buttercream and meringue but I could smell pumpkin roasting in the oven. It was a bit unsettling to say the least.
The fact that I was majorly multi-tasking did not lend to me giving my full attention to the Sans Rival. I felt as though I was just slapping it out to get it checked off a list instead of trying to make it a masterpiece. In the end I probably should have waited until another time to make it. The pistachios probably would have been better served being eaten plain.
I did figure out though that there may be something wrong with my oven. The meringue baked so unevenly I couldn't hardly believe it. I had three pans in the oven and the two on the top rack were barely cooked while the two on the bottom rack were brown and burnt. I also made smaller meringues and tried to use the toaster oven to bake those. That oven cooked just as unevenly but this time it was opposite; the top ones were blackened to a crisp, and the bottom ones were fine. Very strange and a little unnerving the night before a day where I was going to be using my oven for most of the day. That wasn't even the end of it. You'll have to read my post about my pumpkin and salted caramel cheesecake to hear about the other oven mishap (which actually worked out fine in the end).
So . . . will I make this again? Probably not. I'm not a big fan of light, airy desserts, and while it tasted pretty good (and grew on you as you stole little bites off the plate) I am much more into dense cakes, cupcakes, and cookies with just a bit of frosting on the side. This dessert was pretty much the equivalent of just eating the frosting and forgetting the cake. It was an interesting experience and reminded me a lot of the pavlovas that we made a while back so hopefully it will continue to hone my technique in using meringue. Enjoy!