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Originating from the Philippines, silvanas are sweet cashew meringue wafers sandwiched together with thick buttercream and coated in cashew crumbs. Try them as a dessert or a mid-afternoon treat! See method
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Preheat the oven to 160˚C/140˚C fan/gas 2. Cut 2 pieces of greaseproof paper that fit onto 2 large baking sheets. Use a shot glass or small cookie cutter about 4-5cm wide to draw around, making 36-38 small circles in total. Flip the paper over so the pencil markings are on the bottom and secure to the baking sheet with a little oil.
Put the egg whites into a large clean bowl and use electric whisks to beat until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and whisk to stiff peaks. Slowly add the sugar, 2 tbsps at a time, whisking constantly. Once all the sugar has been added you should have a thick glossy meringue. Put the cashews into a food processor and blitz until they are a fine crumb. Gently fold in 50g of the ground cashews into the meringue.
Spoon the meringue into a disposable piping bag – no need for a nozzle. Pipe 36-38 discs of meringue using the stencil as a guide. The wafers should be about ½ cm thickness. Use a palette knife to smooth the tops. Bang each tray on the side a few times to release any air bubbles. Bake in the oven for 30 mins, then turn off the oven and leave them to cool for 10 mins before removing them to the side to fully cool.
Meanwhile, make the buttercream. Put the butter, milk and 1/3 of the icing sugar into a mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk until smooth. Add the remaining sugar and vanilla extract and beat again. Split the buttercream into 3 different bowls and colour each bowl with your preferred colouring (we used approximately half a tube’s worth for each bowl). Add the colour in small amounts and mix well, you can always add more, but you can’t take it out!
Blitz the rich tea biscuits to crumbs and stir through the remaining ground cashews. Put the same colours (remaining half a tube) used for the buttercream into 3 small bowls; add 1 tsp water to each and mix to a runny paste. Divide the cashew crumbs between the 3 bowls, mixing well to dye them.
The meringues will now have cooled. Carefully peel off the baking paper and spread buttercream on the back of one meringue, then sandwich together with another meringue. Spread a good coat of buttercream with a palette knife on the outside of the silvanas. The meringues are very delicate, so may crumble a little, but don’t worry – the buttercream and crumbs will hide it (see tips). Dip each silvana into the crumbs, matching the colour to the buttercream, evenly coating each and patting the crumbs down, then set aside. Repeat with the remaining meringues. You will end up with 6 in each colour and if you make 20, you can choose your favourite colours for the last few. Leave in a cool room.
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