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The ensaïmada (Catalan pronunciation: [ənsə.iˈmaðə], pl. ensaïmades) is a pastry product from Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain. It is a common cuisine eaten in Southwestern Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia (mainly the Philippines). The first written references to the Mallorcan ensaïmada date back to the 17th century. At that time, although wheat flour was mainly used for making bread, there is evidence that this typical pastry product was made for festivals and celebrations.
|Place of origin||Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain|
|Main ingredients||Flour, water, sugar, eggs, mother dough, saïm (reduced pork lard)|
The ensaïmada de Mallorca is made with strong flour, water, sugar, eggs, mother dough and a kind of reduced pork lard named saïm. The handmade character of the product makes it difficult to give an exact formula, so scales have been established defining the proportion of each ingredient, giving rise to an excellent quality traditional product. The name comes from the Catalan word saïm, which means 'pork lard' (from the Arabic shahim, meaning 'fat').
The Balearic IslandsEdit
Among the variants of ensaimada the most common are:
- Llisa (literally plain) with no extra ingredient.
- Cabell d'àngel (literally angel's hair), the stringy orange strands found inside pumpkins are cooked with sugar to make a sweet filling that is rolled inside the dough.
- Tallades (literally sliced) covered with sobrassada and pumpkin, obtaining a bittersweet taste. It is typical of Carnival days, just before Lent, when meat (including lard and sobrassada) are not supposed to be eaten.
- Crema (literally cream) with cream made with eggs.
- Filled with sweet cream, chocolate or turrón paste.
- Covered with apricot.
The Philippines also adopted the Mallorcan ensaïmada (commonly spelled ensaymada in Philippine languages). As a Spanish colony for over 300 years, the Philippine variant has evolved over the centuries and is perhaps one of the most common delicacies in the country. The localized pastry is a brioche 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 called queso de bola. The ensaymada of Pampanga features a very rich dough with layers of butter and cheese.
It is customary to eat ensaymada with hot chocolate made with native tablea during the Philippine Christmas season.
In Puerto Rico, another Spanish colony until 1898, the ensaïmada is called Mallorca and is traditionally eaten for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.
- The ensaimada Report by MallorcaWeb, in English
- Artisan baker and ensaïmada chef, in English
-  General interest about ensaïmadas and vegetarianism, in English
- Traditional ensaïmada recipe Take a taste of Mallorca, in Spanish
- Traditional Ensaimadas of Pampanga, Philippines
- Ensaimada, the sweet temptation Video in English