The Ichigo, or Strawberry Cream Sando, is found all over Japan, in convenience and grocery stores and bakeries too. Ichigo is Japanese for strawberry. These sandwiches are particularly popular in the prefecture of Tochigi, where most of the Japanese’s strawberries are grown. Tochigi strawberries are extremely plump, sweet, delicious, and expensive.
Any favorite fruit or combination can be used to make a Cream Sando, but unless it is all strawberry, don’t call it Ichogo. In terms of veganizing the Sando, well, fruit is vegan and vegan bread is easily found. The question remained for me, what to do about the cream?
Recipe notes I found for making this fruit and cream sando said to use soft bread, crusts removed so that the whipped cream smeared bread will “melt in the mouth”. I went in a different direction, the one I use when making avocado toast, which means using a healthy choice of bread. Gluten-free breads are easy to find now, and as the rest of the components for my sando are gluten-free, everyone can enjoy this treat.
I used sprouted wheat bread so the cream, here Vanilla Pastry Cream, would remain as a distinct layer. For version 1, I cut the crusts off the bread, a nod to the Japanese tradition, but you don’t have to do so and I didn’t when I made the final Ichigo, which is the first photo of this blog.
Gluten-free bread makes this a fully gluten-free dessert, and if you want to go the Japanese way and use soft bread and let the cream soak in, by all means, go ahead.
Whichever fruit you decide to use, this is one of the easiest and most unusual desserts you’ll ever make, fun too, and I’ll add after eating two whole sandwiches, really! The fruit trimmings topped my overnight oats breakfast and the bread crusts became breadcrumbs– or a nosh. I made a few of these sandos.
For each slice of bread, I used about 3 tablespoons of Vanilla Pastry Cream, 1/2 peeled and sliced nectarine (cold and ripe, but not at all soft), 2 strawberries, sliced as shown in the photo, and 1 peeled and sliced kiwi. For the Ichigo, I used 4 or 5 evenly sized strawberries. I used jam, which is optional. I felt like I was eating lazy woman’s version of the Strawberry Shortcakes we make with Drop Biscuits in the Rouxbe Essential Vegan Desserts Course. (Next course starts September 11th!)
To Make a Strawberry Cream Sando:
- If you want a perfectly square sando, trim the crusts from the bread. (Save the crusts for breadcrumbs or munching.)
- Spread the bread with the optional jam and then about 3 tablespoons Vanilla Pastry Cream, more or less as needed.
- You can refrigerate the bread at this point for a few hours.
- Before serving, peel 1 firm, cold nectarine or peach. Cut around the stone, and make sticks of even sizes.
- Peel 1 kiwi and cut into rounds
- Core 2 strawberries and slice.
- Choose the size of the cut fruit to fit your cream coated bread and arrange decoratively.
- You certainly don’t need to follow my photo, and you can use all strawberries, all peach, all—whatever fruit you have on hand.
To Make an Alternative Sando:
- Spread the bread first with a layer of no-sugar added jam.
- Next add the cream. The jam and cream will mix and you’ll get a nice pink color.
- Spread the bread with a layer of Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache and allow to set. Add the cream and proceed with the fruit.
What kind of fruit will you use on your sando? I’d love to know and see some photos!!