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Ensaïmada, also known as “Ensaïmada de Mallorca”, is a popular pastry from Majorca, Spain and is also quite common in the Philippines and the Spanish regions of Latin America. The name of the pastry is derived from the term “saiim”, which means pork lard that has been and still is the main ingredient along with strong flour, eggs, water, sugar and mother dough.

History of Ensaïmada Recipe
Ensaïmada has its origin in the Spanish cuisine that dates back to the 17th century. In fact, there is mention of the Ensaïmada recipe in the volumes of ‘Die Balearen” written by the Archduke Luis Salvador of Austria. Since then the recipe of this delicious pastry has remained without any kind of change and today there are many Latin American countries and other countries influenced by the Spanish culture and cuisine that take pride in the delicacy Ensaïmada.

Preparation of Ensaïmada
Ensaïmada is made with dough, eggs, sugar and water. Baking powder is added to the dough and all ingredients are mixed together to which strong flour is added as much as the dough cab take in. Once the dough is kneaded well till it is soft, it is set aside for a while and then made into fist sized balls. These balls are then rolled as thin strips and wound like a coil on a greased sheet, which are baked in a warm oven for about 24 hours. Once done, topping of choice is used on the Ensaïmada before it is served warm.

Variations of Ensaïmada Recipe
Ensaïmada is a popular pastry that has many variations. Some common variations are –

  • Llisa – The word Llisa means plain and that is exactly what this variant is i.e., it does not contain any extra ingredient except the basic dough, egg, water and sugar.
  • Talladas – Talladas means sliced and this variant is popular during Lent days. This variety of Ensaïmada recipe includes the same ingredients as the basic recipe, but the pastries are served covered with Sobrasada and pumpkin, which gives them a bittersweet taste.
  • Cabell d’angel – This variety of Ensaïmada literally means “angel’s hair” and the name is obtained from the fact that stringy orange strands that are found inside pumpkins are cooked with sugar. These strings make an excellent sweet filling which are rolled in the dough.
  • Ensaymada – This variant is native to Philippines where it has been a delicacy for many centuries since the Spanish colonization of the country. In this country, the ensaymada is a brioche that is made with butter rather than pork lard and the pastries are topped with sugar and grated cheese such as aged Edam. Though at times they are served with butter cream as well, especially during Christmas, hot chocolate topping is more common in the Philippine Ensaïmada.
  • In Puerto Rico, these pastries are known as ‘Mallorca’, which are usually served at breakfast or eaten

Other varieties are the ones that are filled with sweet cream, chocolate and even turron paste and another popular variety is the one that are covered with apricot. Almond puree with ice cream and custard cream are other sweet fillings of this delicious pastry.

Ensaïmada Recipe Trivia
Ensaïmada leftovers or a day old whole Ensaïmadas are used to make a sweet called Greixonera in Ibiza.