One of our most beloved pastries is filipino Ensaymada. Ensaymada is a soft, fluffy and butter pastry that is coated with creamy butter and sugar and topped with a good portion of grated cheese. We love love to buy this delicious pastry whenever we can find it but we figured it will probably be even better with our homemade version.
The Philippines actually adopted this recipe from Spain's Mallorcan ensaïmada. "Saim" in arabic means lard, and Mallorcan ensaïmada typically used this ingredient. Since the Philippines was a Spanish colony for over 300 years, the Philippine version of ensaymada has evolved and has become one of the most common delicacies. Ensaymada is baked with butter instead of lard and topped with grated cheese and sugar and can be found in almost all neighborhood bakeshops. Other versions are topped with buttercream, salted egg slices, and a specially aged type of Edam cheese. It is much richer than the version from Spain. This pastry is extremely popular throughout the Philippine islands, especially during the Christmas season. Noche Buena is the Christmas Eve feast that goes well into Christmas morning after families attend simbang gabi (midnight mass). During this Filipino celebration, it s common to see ensaymadas along with tsokolateng tablea (Filipino hot chocolate.)
Watch The Filipina Kitchen video tutorial for a better visual:
SOFT AND FLUFFY ENSAYMADA RECIPE
1/2 cup buttter 1 cup milk 5 tbsp sugar 1/2 tsp salt 2 eggs 1 tbsp active dry yeast 4 cups all purpose flour
To add to the top of each Ensaymada: 1-2 cups of grated cheddar cheese or any cheese of preference 1 cup of granulated sugar 1/2 cup softened butter
In a large skillet pan, melt the 1/2 cup of butter on low to medium heat.
Once melted, take the pan off the heat and add 1/3 of the milk to butter and mix.
Add the rest of the milk, sugar and salt and mix ingredients together.
Add the 2 eggs into the mixture and whisk together.
Add the active dry yeast and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes until the yeast has bloomed.
Gradually add the flour into the mixture. This will form a sticky dough. Knead the dough by hand directly in the same skillet pan. Once a full dough has formed, cover the pan with a lid and allow to sit for an hour.
After one hour, roll out the dough into a large log and divide into two equal pieces. Then roll out each piece into another log and divide it into equal pieces. Again, roll each piece into a log and then roll into a spiral shape and tuck the ends underneath.
Place each rolled dough onto baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Cover the baking sheet with a damp towel and allow the dough to rise for about 2 hours. We like to let it sit for even longer, if possible, to allow the dough to rise and the ensaymada will be light and fluffy.
Once the dough has risen, bake at 350 degrees F for 18 minutes. After baking is done, allow the ensaymada to cool completely.
After cooling, spread some softened butter acrosse the top of each ensayamada. Then dip the tops into a bowl of granulated sugar.
For the final step, top each ensaymada with some grated cheese.