I return, my dear readers, from the abyss (aka work), armed with a recipe for the popular ensaymada.
Ensaymada is the Filipino answer to Puerto Rico’s pan de mallorca. Both are equally sweet, rich, buttery breads and they share the same coiled shape.
I’ve talked about the curious culinary similarities between the Philippines and the other Spanish colonized countries. The maja blanca is an example, and we can add the ensaymada to that list as well.
The Spaniards brought their cuisine as they expanded their territories. These were assimilated to the local tastes and spawned near enough versions across the globe. While the original ensaïmada and the pan de mallorca were heavily sprinkled with powdered sugar, we Filipinos stepped up our toppings game and threw in butter, sugar, and cheese.
A truly delicious overkill, in my opinion.
As with my pan de coco recipe, I used the tangzhong (water roux) method to give the ensaymada recipe softness. The tangzhong method calls for cooking some milk and flour before adding to the dough. It’s an Asian technique for yeast breads that many bakers swear by for keeping the bread soft, even after a few days.
I used my specially imported ensaymada molds, but you can use any mold that you have. The ones I got were about 4 inches in diameter. Most of the ensaymadas sold back home are even bigger!
I think the challenge for this recipe is shaping the dough into coils. Speaking for myself, I’m not very adept at rolling things and such. I find that the dough either slips or unravels, hence the uneven ensaymadas. My cinnamon buns and babkas aren’t the most picturesque either.
But in any case, it’s the taste that matters right? Imperfectly coiled ensaymadas pair off quite nicely with a cup of coffee or hot tsokolate, in my opinion.