Sandos? Yes, sandos – it’s Japanese slang for sandwich, and it’s going to be your new favorite mini-snack. You might be more familiar with a sando with katsu sandos (breaded pork cutlets), known for their neat and even cuts displaying a perfect cross-section. But fruit sandos are extremely popular in their own right. You can find them at little shops and convenience stores all over Japan and in many Asian neighborhoods in the U.S.
What’s in a fruit sando? It’s basically just sweetened whipped cream and fruit. What makes them distinctive is the sweet milk bread (shokupan), and the pretty designs that the fruit creates once the sandwich is sliced.
Most sandos use large square slices of bread cut into perfect little triangles. But when we saw this mini-loaf of Japanese milk bread in our local Japanese grocery store, we thought this might be fun to work with. (Plus, we have another excuse to use our favorite strawberries!)
And yes – for those of us who aren’t perfect artists in the kitchen, these little slices are much easier to manage. You might only get one piece of fruit in each slice, but you’re more likely to get a perfect slice.
Strawberry Mini-Sandos (Japanese Fruit Sandwiches)
A miniature version of the popular Japanese sandos, little sandwiches with sweetened whipped cream and perfectly sliced fruit.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 8 slices mini loaf of Japanese milk bread
- 4 strawberries, hulled
Beat the whipping cream and the sugar until stiff peaks form. Gently spread a 1/2-inch layer of whipped cream on four of the slices of bread. Carefully set a hulled strawberry in the center of each slice of bread (lying down in a north-south direction). Spread another layer of cream over each strawberry, covering the strawberry and filling to the edges as neatly as possible. Place the four remaining slices on top of each sandwich. Wrap each sandwich tightly in plastic wrap. Press between two plates and refrigerate for at least one hour. Remove the sandwiches from the refrigerator, unwrap, and carefully slice in half in the north-south direction (so your strawberry is perfectly bisected). Clean the knife between each slice so that the slice comes out clean. Serve immediately.
Note: You can also substitute a sweetened whipped topping for the homemade whipped cream. Prepare to use about two to three cups of whipped topping.
Tips for a Great Fruit Sando
OK – some notes. First, as we noted in the recipe above, you may substitute sweetened whipped topping for the homemade whipped cream. Prepare to use between two and three cups.
Second, we also experimented with a popular vegan whipped topping product. Sadly, that one didn’t work as well. As soon as we let the frozen product defrost (to become spreadable) it got too melt-y. We tried chilling the sandwiches in the fridge and we got a gloppy mess. From our experience, if you want to use a vegan whipped topping, you should prepare to have slightly frozen sandwiches.
Third: Chill the sandwiches for at least an hour. Any less than that and the cream won’t firm up enough and you’ll have a liquid-y mess on your hands.
Fourth: It helps if you draw lines on the plastic wrapping with a marker to remind yourself which way to slice the bread.
Last, if you don’t have access to Japanese milk bread, you may substitute another sweet bread like Hawaiian bread or buns. Another option is to use pound cake. If you go that route, it’s truly a dessert. But a delicious one.
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