Brighten your day with Japanese Fruit Sandwich called Fruit Sando! For these sweet sandwiches, we embed juicy seasonal fresh fruit in chilled whipped cream between two slices of pillowy Japanese milk bread. These colorful sandwiches with strawberries, orange, and kiwi are perfect for breakfast and snack!
Walking into any fruit theme cafe (fruit parlor in Japanese), basement food halls of department stores, or convenience stores in Japan, you would probably encounter this slightly outlandish, vibrantly colored sandwich called Fruit Sandwich or Fruit Sando (フルーツサンド). Slices of Japanese milk bread anchored by fresh-cut fruits set in whipped cream.
Odd as it may seem, once you give the sandwich a try, you’d know instantly why it is so popular in Japan and you wondered why you have never thought of this combo before!
What is the Japanese Fruit Sandwich (Fruit Sando)?
Simply put, it’s a sandwich filled with fresh fruits and whipped cream between two slices of Japanese milk bread known as shokupan.
While the bread is fluffy, pillowy and all, it is the colorful fruit filling that steals the show. Symmetrically shaped strawberries, oranges, kiwis, mangos, and blueberries make the centerpiece of the sandwich. In between the bread and fruits is the smooth and buttery whipped cream, and in my opinion, bestowing the dreamy factor to the entirety.
Just like how you’d imagine it – every bite of the sandwich is bursting with juicy sweetness. It’s refreshing, it’s light, and it’s like sunshine in a sandwich form.
The Origin of Fruit Sando
There are two strong theories on how Fruit Sandwich originated in Japan.
One theory says that it started in Kyoto around the early 1920s because there are a lot of cafes in Kyoto featuring Fruit Sandwich as their main menu. The other theory says Senbikiya (千疋屋; the very first store that started a fruit parlor in Japan in 1868) in Tokyo started Fruit Sando.
Although we don’t know which theory is true, the pairing of fruit and soft white bread does not surprise me. After all, we even go as far as eating noodles in a sandwich form (I’m talking about Yakisoba Pan).
Anyone who has tasted fresh fruits in Japan knows that they are extremely flavorful, so sweet and juicy that sometimes you may think you’re eating candies. So I can see why somebody decided to use fresh fruits as a filling in sandwiches.
5 Helpful Tips
To make sure your Fruit Sandwich is good-looking, here are a few tips you may want to consider:
- Think of the orientation of the fruits and cross-section before you start making the fruit sandwich.
- Try to use the same-size fruits and arrange the fruits so they are aligned in a nice line.
- When wrapping the sandwich with plastic wrap, pull the wrap tightly to secure the sandwich.
- Make sure to weigh down the sandwich and refrigerate it before you cut it.
- Clean your knife after each cut so the bread doesn’t have a smear of the whipped cream.
A Worthy Summertime Sandwich for All Occasions
With the bounty of berries and fresh fruits available in the summer, this Japanese Fruit Sandwich is going to be the star sandwich you want to make over and over again. You could serve it as breakfast, afternoon snack, or picnic sandwich. Or perhaps for your backyard BBQ – because it’ll stand out as a showstopping appetizer or side dish. Or for a kid’s birthday party this summer – because he/she is going to love it.
Japanese Fruit Sandwich
- 12 strawberries
- 2 kiwis
- 1 navel orange
- 4 slices shokupan (Japanese milk bread) (the same thickness as those from a square shokupan loaf cut into 8 slices)
For the Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
- 5 tsp sugar (10% of heavy cream by weight)
- 1 tsp rum (optional)
Before You Start…
- Please note that this recipe includes a chilling time of at least one hour or up to overnight.
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Prepare the Fruit
- Use a small (paring) knife to remove the core of 12 strawberries.
- Use the knife to cut off both ends of 2 kiwis and peel the skin.
- Use a knife to cut off both ends of 1 navel orange. Peel the orange by hand and separate the orange segments. Using your fingers, carefully peel back and remove the membrane from the sides of each segment (leave the membrane on the outer edge in place). Continue with all the orange segments. Tip: Using your fingers to segment the slices keeps the pulp is intact and minimizes the juice.
- Set the prepared fruit on a tray or plate. Using a paper towel, pat the fruit dry to remove any excess moisture.
To Make the Whipped Cream
- Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl about half full with iced water. Then, set a medium bowl on top of the iced water in the larger bowl. Make sure the medium bowl is clean and dry. Next, add 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream to the medium bowl and whisk on low speed using an electric hand mixer.
- Once bubbly, add 5 tsp sugar and 1 tsp rum (optional) and whisk on medium-high speed.
- The cream will thicken as you whisk.
- When you lift the whisk out of the cream and it shows peaks, remove the bowl from the ice bath and switch to a hand whisk. Whisk until you achieve the right consistency and check as you go. Aim for medium peaks where the cream holds its shape when you lift the whisk, but the peak’s tip folds back on itself. The cream should be spreadable but not runny because it goes between the sandwich bread.
To Assemble the Sando
- Line up 4 slices shokupan (Japanese milk bread) on your work surface. Next, add a dollop of whipped cream to each bread slice and spread it evenly. Reserve some whipped cream for later to fill in the gaps after you add the fruit. Tip: I prefer to keep the crust on the bread until the end. When you put your fruit between the two slices of the bread, the crust helps the sandwiches keep their shape.
- Add the fruit next, placing it on only one slice of bread per sandwich. Think carefully how you want the cross section to look when you cut your sando in half, and align some of the fruit attractively along the cut line. I plan to cut the sandwiches diagonally into triangles, so I lined up my strawberries along the center diagonal to show their lengthwise cross section once sliced. For the kiwis and oranges, I chose a crosswise cross section. Tip: To keep track of your cut line, I recommend that you take a photo of your fruit's alignment and don‘t change the orientation of your sandwiches when you move them.
- Add more whipped cream to fill in any gaps between the fruit. You don‘t have to use all the whipped cream. Tip: If you have leftover whipped cream, you can dip fruit in it or make Fruit Parfait.
- For each sandwich, put the top slice of sandwich bread on the fruit with the whipped cream side down.
- Prepare sheets of plastic wrap large enough to encase each sandwich. Wrap each sandwich tightly on all four sides. Remember, don’t change the orientation of the sandwiches as you wrap them.
- With a marker pen, draw a line on the plastic wrap of each sandwich to mark your cut line with the attractive cross section.
- Put the sandwiches between plates to gently compress them. Refrigerate them for at least one hour (and up to overnight). In Japan, putting weight on a sandwich prior to cutting them in half is a standard method.
- Remove the sandwiches from the refrigerator. Unwrap one sandwich and slice it in half along the marked cut line with a clean knife. Keep the sandwich halves closed (don’t open it up to show cross section yet). Clean the knife with a hot wet towel and repeat with the other sandwich.
- Gently hold down each sandwich and cut off the crusts, cleaning the knife with a hot wet towel between cuts. Tip: Don‘t throw away the crusts; repurpose them to make Shokupan Crust Rusks. These crunchy, buttery snacks are so delicious! You can make them now or freeze those crust strips to make them later.
- Now, you can reveal the cross section for the first time!
- Serve immediately. If you plan to transfer the sandwich, make sure to keep it chilled all times.
- It‘s best to enjoy Fruit Sando as soon as possible after you cut it. You could keep it in the refrigerator overnight BEFORE cutting it in half.