The August Daring Bakers' Challenge took us for a spin! Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen taught us to make rolled pastries inspired by Kurtoskalacs, a traditional Hungarian wedding pastry. These tasty yeasted delights gave us lots to celebrate!
Actually, the challenge was to do either the kurtoskalacs or the ensaymada. Naturally, I chose ensaymada - the Filipino version that is. This recipe from my sister-in-law (Ate Eva) has been in my to-do list for years! I finally had a good kick in the butt to do it.
The ensaymada of my childhood were very much like the original Spanish version. They were coiled flat and more flaky with lard often used for this purpose. Sometimes there were nuggets of raisins in it that were like little oasis of delight in my juvenile mouth. Yum! Nowadays, the modern Filipino ensaymada are more brioche-like. In fact some of them are so rich they resemble cakes more than a pastry. Nevertheless, they are equally wonderful and great as a midday snack. As with most things in Filipino food, the modern ensaymada combines the buttery sweet taste of the butter-sugar topping with the saltiness of the grated cheese so you get that familiar salty-sweet flavour with the soft pillow-like pastry.
This recipe is indeed a challenge for me. I am not very experienced with pastry so when the dough came out very very sticky after the first rising, it took me a looong time to get it to a manageable state with all the kneading and adding of more flour. In the end it was still sticky but did not cling too much when handled. I think I'll reduce the liquid a lot the next time I bake this. This particular recipe is not the 'special' ensaymada variety they call in the Philippines. That one has *a lot* of eggs and butter which make it more cake-like and quite rich. Ate Eva's is less rich and more bread-like. As a matter of fact, when I tasted the finished product bare without any toppings I thought it was okayish. But when you combine it with slathered soft butter, sugar, and grated cheese on top it was great! Exactly what I intended to make.
As a note to myself, this is the actual recipe from my SIL (with some adjustments in some ingredients and more elaborate procedure steps). And it makes a ton of ensaymada! It roughly makes about 30 medium-sized ensaymada and probably double that for the muffin-sized ones. In which case I believe this can be done with just a third of the recipe if only to keep me from eating ensaymadas for weeks!
The freezer is my friend now.
3/4 cup lukewarm water
3 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp sugar
6 1/2 cups strong flour (bread flour)
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp melted butter
3 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup cooking oil
butter - softened to room temperature
grated cheddar cheese or edam
- Mix the yeast mixture in a small bowl, cover and set aside. After about 15 minutes it should start to foam. If it didn't that means your yeast is probably old. In that case, throw away the mixture and start again. If you are using instant, rapid-action, or fast-action dry yeast you can skip this step and add the yeast and sugar directly with the flour and the water with the other wet ingredients.
- Combine the flour with the sugar in a large bowl.
- In separate bowl, mix the melted butter, egg yolks, and vanilla.
- Add in the milk. Mix well.
- With a wooden spoon or with a mixer on low speed, stir in the milk mixture and the yeast mixture into the flour mixture. Combine well.
- Add in the cooking oil and mix until well combined.
- Cover and let it rest to rise in a warm area for about 1 hour or until double the size.
- Punch down dough and turn out onto a well-floured surface.
- Knead the dough while adding more flour. In the end it should be soft and sticky but should come away from fingers when kneading.
- Prepare the baking moulds by brushing the bottom and sides with softened butter.
- Divide into portions - 75-80 g for medium-sized ensaymada and 25-30 g for small ones.
- On a greased surface, roll out each portion thin into a rectangle shape and brush generously with softened butter or with your choice of fillings - cheese, chocolate, ham, etc.
- Roll portion from the long side into a thin log (about 1/2-inch or less in diameter).
- Coil the rolled dough into a spiral shape inside the prepared moulds taking care to tuck in the outer end.
- Cover loosely with tea towel and let rest at room temperature for 1-2 hours. They will double in size again.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F for about 18-20 minutes for medium-sized ensaymada.
- Cool completely on a wire rack.
- Put toppings - slather softened butter then press top onto a small bowl full of sugar then sprinkle grated cheese on top.