One of the mini-obsessions of this blog is an “old-fashioned” ensaimada, and regular visitors who have read my previous posts related to ensaimada will understand where I am writing from. But for newcomers, let me repeat the basics. Marketman believes that the vast majority of commercially sold ensaimadas today are a mere shadow of their original inspiration… I tend to find them to be too airy, too sweet, too cloyingly cute to deserve using the name ensaimada. HOWEVER, I do recognize that dishes and tastes evolve and as such tolerate to some degree the tectonic shift in the past 50 years from a more bready, substantial, artisanal ensaimada to the lighter airier sweet ones of today. Just so you know where I stand on the issue. Having said that, I am ALWAYS on the lookout for a more “old-fashioned” version or recipe that is available for sale. I waxed poetic about Marc Medina’s family recipe, for sale at Salcedo Markets if you get there early enough. I tasted and liked the Gonzalez family recipe that is for sale at the Pastelleria Mallorca bakeshop in Quezon City, I liked another large fatty ensaimada that we have received in a white box every Christmas from our landlord and other families that go back way into my parents generation. And I stopped in my tracks when I found this new vendor at the Sunday Legazpi Market offering huge ensaimadas with a mouth full of a name…
This Imang Salud Dayrit-Santos ensaimada was about 6-7 inches in diameter and had a topping of grated queso de bola. Back home, I cut a piece and sat down to savor it. It was more substantial than the airy mall versions, and it is was soft, rich, buttery and quite good. It bordered more on the cakey, not bready consistency, and it certainly joins the Medina, Gonzalez, no-name white box versions as ones I would buy when I am too lazy to make my own. At PHP160 a piece, this is pricey, but less pricey than the Medina one at PHP195 a piece.
It just so happened that I purchased a Medina ensaimada the day before, so I took another slice of the Dayrit-Santos ensaimada (left) and an equivalent slice of Median ensaimada (right) and did a taste test, noting that the Medina one was a day older. The two ensaimadas were very similar in the crumb, weight and texture of the bread/cake. The Medina one struck me as being noticeably more buttery or richer, possibly due to the incorporation of queso de bola into the batter, or simply more butter/fat added to the recipe. The Medina one was also topped more abundantly with butter, sugar and grated cheese. Both are sweeter than I would like, but perhaps that is the Kapampangan influence compared to the more austere Cebuano version I refer to as my base point of comparison. Overall, I thought the Medina one was better than the Dayrit-Santos one, and well worth the PHP35 difference in price. But I would reiterate that I could happily buy either in a pinch. They are a marked improvement over the airy mall ensaimadas. And frankly, I am thrilled that more and more folks are choosing to sell a more “old-fashioned” and “heirloom recipe” type product… I think if consumers “rediscover” the ensaimada of a few decades ago, they would see the difference I keep harping about and may change their minds about the airy mall ones so prevalent today…
Reportedly an “heirloom” recipe from Pampanga, the Imang Salud Dayrit-Santos (they really need a new name, that is just way too long for me to remember) ensaimada is available at the Legazpi Sunday market, or you can call them at 8370842 or (0920) 9478819.
For earlier posts on the topic of ensaimada, you may want to check these out:
My views on commerically sold ensaimadas as of 3 years ago, with a review of the Medina ensaimada and the mystery white box one as well.
Ensaimada – Part I – an introduction to the Marketman/Sister Family history on ensaimada and how we think it should look, feel, taste…
Ensaimada – Part II – the Marketman tweaked recipe based on sister’s ensaimada.
A post on an “original” Mallorcan ensaimada, the root inspiration of our own versions, photographed in Barcelona, Spain.
A post entitled “Battle of the Balls” – a review of different queso de bolas sold, in case you were wondering…
A post on a stunning merienda I had at La Cocina de Tita Moning, complete with a serving of the Gonzalez ensaimada from Pastelleria Mallorca.
How to use leftover ensaimada in a “Ensaimada Pudding a la Marketman”
My take on the Diamond Hotel Ensaimadas – Ugghhhh?!!