The ensaimada has its origins from Mallorca, Spain’s largest island. This version is rolled into a tube and then coiled into a spiral shape. The Mallorcans take their ensaimadas seriously. There is even a regulatory council and a sampling committee that ensure that the “Ensaimada de Mallorca” meet certain controls and guidelines.
While the brioche has its origins in Rome, the French have perfected the art of this rich roll. The core ingredients of a brioche are flour, eggs, butter, milk, sugar, and yeast. When done properly, a brioche is light, buttery and really more a pastry than a bread.
The Philippine Ensaimada got its origins from the Spanish but has similarities as well to the brioche.
But I have my own version of how the Philippine Ensaimada began. I like to think three bakers, a Frenchman, Spaniard and Filipino were sitting around one day and decided to have a bread baking contest.
The Spaniard went first and his version was made with flour, water, sugar, eggs, pork lard and yeast. The Frenchman, not wanting to be outdone, decided to enrich the roll and replaced the water with some milk and the pork lard with butter. The Filipino baker went even further. He used the Frenchman’s dough and added some cheese before rolling it like a jelly roll and then into a spiral shape before baking. After baking, the baker topped the resulting roll with butter, sugar and even more cheese!
Guess who won?!?!
Recipe for 12 Ensaimadas
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried yeast
1/3 cup warm water
1/4 cup egg yolks (around 3 egg yolks)
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons milk
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup butter for the dough and another 1/3 cup for brushing
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
- Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water, let stand for 10 minutes
- Blend egg yolks, sugar and milk and add to the yeast mixture
- Add the flour and salt then knead and add the butter a little at a time
- Leave in a warm place and let rise until double in size.
- Punch down and divide into 12 pieces. Form each piece into a ball and then roll out to 1/8 inch thickness
- Brush each with soft butter and and sprinkle with grated cheese (I used parmesan)
- Let rise for another hour and bake at 300F for 12 to 15 minutes
- When done, cool and brush tops with more butter and sprinkle with more grated cheese and sugar