Thursday, 31 March 2011

Ensaymada - the Queen of Breads

This is purportedly the most wondrous bread that bro-in-law brought back from the Philippines - EnsaymadaSome Filipinos called it the "Queen of breads".  I am not sure if this brand - Magic Melt - is the best in the Philippines.

Nicely packed in a box, the Ensaymada is a soft brioche (bread), whose high egg and butter content give it a rich and tender crumb. It is topped with a melt-in-your-mouth mixture of finely grated cheese, sugar and butter. The Ensaymada is made with strong flour, water, sugar, eggs, mother dough and a kind of reduced pork lard named saïm. Pork lard?!  However, some argued that saim is actually the arabic word for 'butter', which seems to be a better fit for the name. 

Each box includes 6 of this bread, each carefully wrapped with plastic. The Ensaymada originated from Majorca, Spain and is commonly eaten in most former Spanish territories in Latin America and the Philippines, which has been continuously made and eaten for centuries. In fact, this simple bread has its history dating back to the 17th century!  At that time, wheat flour was mainly used for making this bread. However, by the time it got to the Philippines, the recipe had reverted to its butter-based origins.

We unwrapped the Ensaymada and heat up it in the microwave for about half a minute. It looks exactly like the soft plain sweet buns we can find here in Singapore, minus the grated cheese on top. The original Ensaymada is one large snail-like coil dusted in sugar, but today's version of individual sized buns is more popular it seems.

My verdict? The Ensaymada is smothered with buttercream (mix of butter and sugar) and sprinkled generously with grated cheese. The high milk content of the brioche actually lends richness and tenderness to the bread, which has a smooth, delicate texture. It is ultra soft, buttery, milky, rich, with the added slather of butter, sugar, and cheese, resulting in both sweet and savoury tastes at the same time. Having said that, I would think that those freshly baked from the oven would have tasted 10 times better compared to this microwaved version. It must be refrigerated and can only be kept for up to only 3-4 days. If you visit the Philippines, perhaps you may wish to savour this bread.   

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I'm from the Philippines. Sad to inform you that its not the best brand. But really its difficult to say which is the best brand of ensaymada because its so loved here the Philippines that almost all bakeshop and pastry shop has their own version of the ensaymada and most of them are really good.
    By the way, I just want to share that I got to visit ABC last friday. First heard about them through your blogsite.
    Anyway, if you want more ensaymada let me know I'll send some thru ABC. Really love your blogsite. :-)

    ReplyDelete

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