Ensaimada Mallorquina


I always have one eye on the lookout for the holy grail of ensaimadas, particularly in Spain, so I passed by the La Mallorquina bakeshop at Puerta del Sol twice with more than just a slight interest. Readers had mentioned this chain of bakeshops a few weeks back, when I asked for Madrid tips, and this particular branch seemed to be doing a rather brisk business with dozens of customers at any one time.


This branch had a large pastry shop on the first floor and a cafe on the second floor. We just dropped by to purchase a few baked goodies to enjoy back at the hotel… I should mention now that I have been almost disparaging about the Mallorcan style ensaimadas I have tried before, so I did approach this with some scepticism…


Their ensaimadas were individual sized portions rather than the large multi-serving version, and at 1 Euro a piece, seemed like a bargain. We got an ensaimada and Mrs. MM and the Teen got some other goodies. Service was brusque and abrupt, totally in line with the Madrid service experience thus far…


Considering that the ensaimada cost LESS than a typical commercial pouffy Manila ensaimada, I must say I was impressed by the packaging… waxed paper and tied with string. But as with previous experiences with Mallorcan ensaimadas, I was simply not impressed. I really think we need to rename our own versions in the Philippines, because they are not only dissimilar from their roots, they are far better. :)


This one was light and airy, without the creme or paste that sometimes is baked into the pastry. The powdered sugar provided sweetness to an otherwise simply boring piece of bread. They definitely used lard and not butter, and hardly any egg yolks at all. It was what it was. And is probably perfectly good for breakfast with a strong cup of coffee or hot chocolate. But I should simply stop comparing the originals with our own Pinoy versions. We have definitely evolved ensaimada in a good way… at least for our best examples of ensaimada with lots of egg yolks, butter or lard, and the even the cheese on top that are best for merienda than a light breakfast. Now, if only we could come up with a clever new name for this baked good, and while acknowledging where the inspiration came from, make a clean break from the Spanish/Mallorcan ensaimada. Then get millions of Pinoys to agree calling it by its new name. Suggestions, anyone? Let’s see if readers can’t do the almost impossible and rename a popular baked good. :)


44 Responses

  1. @ Connie – I was thinking of writing down = Hinayupak na Ensaymada even before I saw your comment! Yes!

  2. Since there’s lots of butter, mantequilla + ensaimada = mantequada. =) Or simply ensaimada rica since our verison is richer.

  3. What’s in a name? Changing it would do little to inhibit unscrupulous merchants from fobbing off their horrible versions. The market is awash with them and you yourself have critiqued (and mostly panned) the bulk of what’s available out there. Better to persuade by example home bakers to try their hands turning out their own versions using your or Mike Medina’s recipes as a jump off point. You never know, may be eventually the better versions will set the standard. Mac has.

  4. i think our ensaymada is more like a brioche than the mallorcan version.there’s a good patisserie here by me that sells good filipino ensaymada.not like the quickmelt one although i used to love quickmelt.

  5. Zena, my local Mexican market has mantecadas. They’re sort of like mini butter cake loaves. I like ensaimada rica.

    Because ensaimada is eggy, I was thinking pan de huevo, but a quick google shows the Mexicans already have this variety of pan dulce. Pan de yema? Also taken. Hmm…Enyemada?

  6. Why not simply ensaimada filipina just because it has evolved here in the Philippines? (But I hope no Pinays would take offense!). A friend who has just been to Mallorca was not impressed too…same with the leche flan served at the hotels. Ours is really richer without using gelatine. The Pinoy distinction should be highlighted.

  7. I concur with Footloose! In addition, it is not so much what recipe anyone uses but rather the difference lies in the technique or simply put…the tricks of the trade.

    This is my mythical book too, MM ….like the secret ingredient exposed!

    What do you think, Silly LOLO? How is Silly LOLA?!? BTW, I have to change my username one of these days…mwahahahaha! Maybe BETOY?

  8. I have been meaning to try this but I haven’t had the chance. I alway wondered the texture. Now I’m motivated to try this.

  9. Boxing, billiards, dragon boat…you can add another one to the list…baking.

  10. Ensaimada rica gets my vote, or ensaimada evolucionada, el mejor ensaimada, ni ensaimada ni mantecada, pan dulce de Filipinas … you get the idea.

  11. siguro parang sign na i chose ko na lang mallorca, spain for our late summer vacation rather than greece. now i made up my mind! thanks for your mallorca ensaimada post MM.

  12. That definitely looks like the ensaimada that Lola’s bakery sold thousands of every day. No egg, no cheese, just white and larded. Who knew it was closest to the original from Mallorca.. Personally I like the upgraded version rich with eggs and butter and even cheese, a vast improvement we can claim as our own.

  13. Some of foods have evolved into degraded versions in Spain, while we have kept closer to the original roots; chocolate as a drink is one example – all the chocolae in Spain appears to be adulterated with gaugau, and leche flan is another, which appears adulterated even in good hotels.
    Ensaimada filipina gets my vote.

  14. For as long as I can remember, our Philippine ENSAYMADA is written with a Y, the better for us, to distinguish it from Spain’s ensaimada. Our version of the bread is much richer with the addition of eggs, butter and cheese.

  15. I was in Palma de Mallorca last month as one of the ports of our cruise. I was excited to taste the ensaimada from which our filipino version was derived and it was a dissapointment. Just like your take on it MM, it was dry and reminded me of a day old pandesal with powdered sugar. Ours is definetely superior. On a pleasant note, we also stopped by Lisbon, Portugal were we had a bite of Pasteil du Balem and they were heavenly!!! This were from a bakery near the monastery of San Geronimo and it was supposedly a secret recipe developed by the monks. The crust was like phyllo in layers and the custard very light. I would love a recipe for these…..anyone….?? MM….Betty Q??

  16. This is off-topic, but I thought I’d say it anyway … you have a very interesting survey going on, and I would love to know the results when it closes.

  17. Pasteis de Belem is the generic term for all of the pastry specialties from Belem, Portugal. The particular one you tasted must have been Pastel de Nata the making of which you can watch in this Youtube clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qw03YK8FouI Sorry no sound and text is Brazilian Portuguese. As you will notice, this is a commercial bakery environment, so the end-product is well, commercial. The Portuguese introduced this to Macau from which it reached Hong Kong where it was subsequently improved upon (I say immensely) and became part of their dimsum offering called dan ta (Egg Tarts). Here is a recipe with good detailed instructions: https://cafeoftheeast.blogspot.com/2005/04/egg-tarts.html

    Skill level requirement is intermediate to advanced.

  18. Seen their ensaimadas and did not like the looks so I never did try, and from the reviews did not miss anything, lol.
    @bettyq, when are we getting together?

  19. Ensaimada Filipina for me too! or Ensaimada Pilipinas (for those who may insists on being politically correct, he he)

  20. Ensaymada Filipina sounds great for me too. Then we would know that we, Filipinos, have perfected it our way. Thanks for sharing, MM.

  21. We prefer ensaimada made with lots of butter and eggs, sort of like a sweet brioche! The ensaimada from Spain reminds me of the ensaimada that the pinoy bicycle vendors peddled in the steets of Manila. Bread with star margarine and sugar for topping. Very cheaply made. We used to call it ensaimadang pot-pot like the sound of the vendor’s bicycle horn.

  22. gina: memories came flooding in with your term ‘ensaimadang potpot’! we used to live in marikina and there was tatang, an old fellow with a fedora on a bicycle with a yellow can and a ‘pot-pot’ every afternoon. He not only sold the mallorcan-style ensai, but an assortment of monay and pan de coco.

  23. …Ensaymada Filipiniana…with reference to Spanish origin of PI and that which refers to anything distinctively Pinoy! (according to Mr. Wiki)

  24. …and I just learned that the word “ensaimada” comes from the word “sai”, which means lard. so, there!

  25. I vote for Ensaymada Filipina. I agree that it tastes more like brioche than anything else. There are so many things that we have made our own. Take polvoron for example. The Spanish one is totally different. Also, have any of you tried Filipinos? Yes, we are chocolate biscuits in Spain :-)
    With regards to baking, I agree that we have better desserts than Spain and in fact, most of the Latin countries (except Argentina as they make better ice cream and proper pastries) as I’ve been to most of them.
    Re pastel de belem/nata, yummy. I went to Belem last month. You can find video recipes on UK food network, I think. In English, of course. The Macau version that they sell in Manila is disgusting. Try it from the Portuguese guy in Legaspi market.

    @Marketman, keep up the good work. If you ever come to London, I’ll take you on a foodie tour.



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