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Homemade Special Ensaymada

             It's been a while since I last baked. Well, the last time I got my hands dirty (in the kitchen sense, of course) was more than 4 months ago, give or take. When I was in high school, I would bake almost every week trying out different recipes, from cookies to breads to cakes. After my attempt at making rainbow bread, which didn't turn out the way I hoped it would - it was colorful but tough to chew (my baking skills were rusty at that time), I was looking for a sweet and tasty bread recipe to try. After rifling through several different recipes, I settled with ensaymada. That was the first time I tested the recipe. Not only does it have a historical background, it also is a favorite among Filipinos. Originally eaten in most territories in Spain, the ensaymada dates back to the 17th century and was eaten mostly during celebrations. It has a distinct coil shape and is dusted with sugar. They are soft, sweet, buttery and make the perfect partner for a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate. Some variants make use of queso de bela for a more extravagant pastry experience. 

                     Since my mum and aunt were slaving in the kitchen cooking our Christmas eve dinner, I wanted to bake something different instead of cookies or bread pudding. So, I didn't blink twice and  primed all my ingredients, sifted the flour and set my pans aside. Plus, ensaymada is always a great way to end a Christmas meal. Hence, the puffed up sweet bread you'll see a couple of photos down this entry.

       Yes, that's me kneading the bread. I know my hands look kind of stiff but my fingers were being worked to the bone. The dough looks a lot bigger than it appears on the photo so I guess it's safe to say that my hands had a quick workout. 

They look like fingers, don't they?

            I decided to make two batches of ensaymada - one in big tin molds and the other in muffin pans. That way, one recipe could yield more than enough to feed my hungry family.

Buttered baby ensaymadas right before they hit the oven. 

           I was worried they wouldn't rise, but after just several minutes inside the oven, they started to inflate like a balloon eager to burst!


       When these little numbers finished cooling, my lola was so proud with the outcome of the special ensaymada. My lola is the ultimate baking doyenne in our family, I think that's how my fascination with the craft started. Back in Narvacan, Ilocos Sur, my lolo and lola owned a bakeshop called Sugar & Spice. They would make all sorts of pastries and breads - from ensaymada, to brazo de mercedes to hopia and all sorts of delicious cakes. Hearing my lola commend me is as fulfilling as winning an award at an ambitious pastry making contest in Europe.  

     The regular ensaymada is usually just topped with butter and sugar, but this batch is extra special since smothered with butter, dunked in a generous amount of sugar and finished off with cheese. I think I'll call this Extra Special Ensaymada

The mini and regular sized ensaymada. 

Have a wonderful and food-filled Christmas everyone! :) 

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4 Responses to “Homemade Special Ensaymada”

  1. This seems awesome!!! :D I nominated you for the Liebster Award, btw! (Check the post out here: ) :D heehee!

  2. tasted good too especially with a cup of coffee or tea or hot chocolate!!!