Bite into this refreshingly light Japanese fruit sandwich full of sweet whipped cream, juicy and plump ripe fruits, and soft milk bread slices. This recipe will teach you how to make your own whipped cream from scratch and properly assemble the fruit, so you get kawaii fruit sandos at home.
What is a Japanese fruit sandwich and what does it taste like?
A Japanese fruit sandwich, more commonly known as fruit sando, is a dessert that is made up of two soft slices of milk bread filled with whipped cream and fresh fruit in the center. Its light and airy texture of whipped cream and soft milk bread pairs perfectly with juicy and sweet fruit like strawberry, kiwi, and pineapple.
Fruit sando is a fusion of Japanese and Western food that combines the popularity of fresh, ripened fruit and the influence of bread from Western trade and immigration. There are two potential origin stories for the fruit sando and both come from the idea that fruit is a delicacy in Japan. One is from a fruit stand named Yaoiso that opened in 1869 in Kyoto, and the other is from a fruit parlor named Sembikiya in 1868 in Tokyo.
These days you can find fruit sandos all over the world. In Japan, you can find them in convenience stores like 7/11 and in the US, you can find them at your local Japanese grocery store like Mitsuwa, or shops like Katsu Sando in LA.
Types of bread to use
Make sure you use shokupan, or Japanese milk bread when making Japanese fruit sandos. This fluffy and slightly sweet bread pairs well with the airy whipped cream and juicy fruit. You can choose to make your shokupan at home if you’re up for the challenge, but they’re also available at Japanese grocery stores like Mitsuwa or local Orange County bakeries like Cream Pan.
You can find shokupan in precut with thin or thick slices or whole loaves that you can cut yourself. I prefer buying the thick-sliced shokupan because they hold up the whipped cream and fruit filling during eating. If you can’t find shokupan nearby, you can also use fluffy white sandwich bread that is thick in width; however, there may be slight taste differences.
Which fruits to use for this sandwich
Japanese fruit sandos come with various fruits like strawberries, kiwis, grapes, pineapples, oranges, and bananas. I would recommend using ripe fruit in season for the best-tasting fruit sandos. You can mix and match fruits or use one type of fruit. For this recipe, I used strawberries and kiwis but with some having only strawberries.
How to make the whipped cream
Did you know that making whipped cream at home is super easy? All you need is heavy whipping cream, sugar, a big bowl, and a whisk (or a stand mixer if you’re fancy). I use one and a half cups of heavy whipping cream and two tablespoons of sugar for this recipe.
To make the whipped cream, use very cold heavy whipping cream straight from the fridge because this helps thicken the cream and keep its shape after whipping. Add the cream and sugar into a large bowl and whisk until it’s thickened. You’ll know when it’s finished when you can turn your whisk upside down and see stiff peaks of cream stand on their own.
I would recommend transferring the whipped cream into a piping bag with a large tip because it’s easier to assemble the sandwich. I also place it in the fridge until I need to assemble the sandwich because it thickens and hardens slightly which also helps keep the sandwich together.
How to assemble the fruit sandwich
The fun part is assembling the fruit sandwich. Here are some quick tips to help you get the sweetest sando.
- Add a thin layer of jam to the inside of each piece of bread. Adding jam prevents the bread from getting too soggy.
- If you want to cut the sandwich diagonally and feature heart-shaped strawberries and kiwi circles, assemble the fruit with the cross-section in mind. Place the fruit in a diagonal line from the top right corner to the bottom left corner. Make sure the bottom of the strawberries are facing the same direction with the tops touching the bottoms. The kiwis should be facing the opposite diagonal direction so that when you cut the sandwich, the cross-section will be circles.
- Use a piping bag to fill in all the empty space between the fruit, and then place a slice of bread on top. Make sure the top piece of bread has jam facing the center of the fruit sandwich.
- Cover the sandwich with plastic wrap, mark the top diagonal line you will be cutting, and use two plates to press it down slightly. Pressing down helps keep the sandwich shape together while you slice it diagonally.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the sandwich diagonally and wipe it down with a clean towel in between cuts.
What are Japanese sandwiches called?
Japanese fruit sandwiches are called fruit sando, or furutsu sando. This dessert is part of the Western-inspired Japanese food genre of yōshoku.
How do you eat a Japanese fruit sandwich?
Cutting Japanese fruit sandwiches diagonally to show the cross-section of fruit in fun shapes like strawberry hearts or kiwi circles is a popular way to present the treats. You can also eat Japanese fruit sandwiches by cutting them in half with the option to remove the crusts. Either way, there’s no wrong way to eat a delicious Japanese fruit sandwich. I like having mine with coffee or tea!
Japanese Fruit Sandwich
- 1 ½ c heavy whipping cream
- 2 tbsp white cane sugar
- 4 slices shokupan or milk bread
- apricot or apple jam
- 6 medium strawberries tops removed
- 3 kiwis peeled
- mixing bowl
- whisk or electric whisk or stand mixer
- piping bag, optional
- butter knife
- plastic wrap
- 2 plates or small sheet pans
- In a large mixing bowl, add the heavy whipping cream and sugar together. Whisk until it’s thickened into whipped cream. Stop whisk and turn the whisk upside down, if there are stiff peaks, the whipped cream is finished.
- If you’re using a piping bag, fill the bag with whipped cream and tie off the ends. Then, place the whipped cream in the fridge until time for assembly.
- Wash and prep the fruit. Remove the tops of the strawberries and peel the kiwis.
- Spread the jam on the inside of each piece of bread lightly.
- Remove the whipped cream from the fridge. Pipe or spread out a half-inch thick layer of whipped cream over the jam on one piece of bread.
- Assembly for strawberries: Place the strawberries in a single line diagonally so that the bottom tip of each strawberry is nestled on the top of the next strawberry. Place one strawberry on the other corners.
- Assembly for kiwis and strawberry: Take one kiwi and place it in the top right corner so that the ends are touching the sides. Place the strawberry in the same direction in a diagonal line and add another kiwi in the bottom left corner. Place half a kiwi on the other corners.
- Fill the spaces between the fruit with the whipped cream. Place a piece of bread with the jam facing the center on top.
- Wrap firmly with plastic wrap and put the fruit on a plate or sheet pan.
- Mark which way the diagonal line of fruit is because this is where you will be slicing the sandwich later on.
- Put another plate or sheet pan on top with something firm to press the sandwiches evenly across (like a can of food or leftovers in Tupperware). Leave this to the rest in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Remove from the fridge and figure out which corner the diagonal fruit is laying. Slice the sandwich in this direction carefully. Wipe the knife in between each slice. Optional to remove the crust on the sides.
- Remove the plastic wrap and serve immediately.