Ensaimadas by Imang Salud Dayrit-Santos


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?!!


53 Responses

  1. Wonderful discourse on all the ensaimadas. I like the Mary Grace and Cunanan ensaimadas for “modern” ensaimadas…but have never tried Marc Medina’s ensaimadas…let me get some next time I go to Salcedo.
    Hahahaha…sometimes,I go and buy the really plain and jologs ensaimadas from the neighborhood panaderia just to see how it has evolved. Sometimes,it kicks in some childhood simple memories.
    Love this ensaimada post of yours. Makes me so hungry…I will also go and get some from Mallorca.
    My fifth and youngest child loves ensaimadas. I’m sure he’ll love these…..

  2. MM, your earlier ensaimada posts drove me to try the Medina ensaimada at Salcedo Market. It is a huge, delicious ensaimada well worth the price. To some extent, the Medina ensaimada brings back memories of the old ensaimadaa that was often bought in neighborhood bakeries. When i was young, the day-old ensaimadas were cut up and toasted into “matchakaw”.

  3. MM, is it correct to correlate ensaimadas and brioche or are those 2 different creatures? I noticed the absence of the post of the brioche you made based on the barefoot contessa recipe. Just wondering….

    Oh, and i’m very happy with the Becky’s regular ensaimada. I like the light and airy one, hehe, with regular creamier cheese than the queso de bola. And it’s not too sweet. They also give you a baker’s dozen which no one else does.

  4. wouls you know if this is part of the dayrit ensaimada (i think they had “hamsaimada”) fame?

  5. Ahhhh…ensaimada…a subject close to my heart and like you, MM have been obsesssed for years to find that perfect ensaimada recipe. I have found it like some 20 years ago….very similar to your sistr’s…the recipe was given to me by the lola or aunt of the dad of my brother-in-law who hails from Pampangga. I have been just up all night making these for my brother’s birthday (this is what he always asks for every birthday!) and Christmas…and each year I vow I will never stay up allnight!!! This and the chocolate cake are the only ones that my boys are interested in learning. I told them ( MY BOYS

  6. On, no…got cut off, MM….can you retrieve it? The rest of my comment is quite long and I think that you and your regulars would be interested in reading! If you can’t, let me know and I will type it again….you know how much I LOVE TYPING!!!!

  7. Hi MM,

    I’m a religious reader of your site, albeit a quiet one. This is unrelated to your post but got me quite tied up in my pants to read in today’s paper that my “boyfriend” (sorry husband), Anthony Bourdain, is here and you’re one of the lucky few to escort him around. Please say it’s true! I’m a cebuana and excited to know that someone who knows what his talking about will show him our culinary diversity ( none of that balut crap).

    Hoping to read your blow by blow.

  8. Betty Q, your post left me bitin….pleaaase re type.

    A suggestion: type your post in Word doc first and then copy and paste on the log so it is safe in case you get disconnected. It has happened to me to. Now I know better…..most of the time, he, he.

  9. another ensaimada that I must try.. your posts on ensaimadas have left me addicted to those of medina and pastelleria mallorca. My hips can’t take any more delicious discoveries!

  10. subukan nyo ensaimada ng starbucks. no kidding. buy from starbucks that have ovens which toasts the bottom part(it looks like a microwave oven but it’s not). DO NOT buy from starbucks that still use microwave ovens. wag po natin i-snob porke starbucks. some of you might be surprised. subok lang.

  11. I grew up in the era of light, airy ensaimadas and the kanto panaderia versions. Would love to taste the medina, dayrit-santos and Mallorca versions.

  12. by the way, everytime I hear ensaimada, I always associate it with coiled bread that I would slowly uncoil as I eat it. I wonder why the new versions are just bun-like in appearance? Of seems to be a blasphemy of sorts.

    A few years back, I took a bread making course in the university of San carlos. Ensaimada making was a special topic on it’s own , with particular reference / reverence held for dough shaping and proofing times.

    At the end of the course, we had a competition wherein ensaimada making was again a special category wherein entries competed for best coiling techniques and appearance. I understand the coiling process takes some skill. I tried it myself and came up with a funny blob that only served to remind me of some animal by-product.

    With all this emphasis on the art of ensaimada making in baking courses, I naturally thought the
    ensaimada was a classic that would prevail, just like the pan de sal.

    Instead it has been bastardized into an unrecognizable form. Correct me if I’m wrong, I’m in Cebu after all, and sometimes it takes a long time for trends to reach us… But my first memory of the ensaimada that is not an ensaimada was with the arrival of magic melt, made popular by the star power of (was it aga muhlach?). I can recall quite well how scandalized cebuanos were at the idea of the P30 ensaimada , after all we could easily buy that or P2 in the nearest Anita’s or Sally’s bakery. The fact that Manila based cousins kept harping about them did not help either.

  13. I’m born in Cebu and ensaimada there was always a plain coil, double twists were only for holidays. It didn’t have all that gunk on top, which my cousin who owns a bakery says developed so that no additional butter or jam needed to be spread on it. Thick ensaimadas baked in muffin like tins only started in the 60’s, previous to that it was a fairly flat coil on a baking sheet, very similar to the Mallorcan ancestor.

  14. betty q, You don’t have to stay up all night making ensaimada. Mix the dough at 9 or 10 pm, place in a greased bowl or clean out your veggie drawer, and chill the dough. After one hour punch it down and turn it over, cover and return to to the fridge overnight. Early next morning, divide the dough, shape the ensaimadas and let rise at room temp. You can bake them in time for breakfast.

  15. yes, I remember it as a flat coil sprinkled with sugar on top. The bread making course I took also taught us to bake it flat on a sheet, not in a muffin tin.

  16. My wife is going to try her hand on this. Yehey time for me to taste MM,sister and betty q version. We fell in love on an ube ensaimada at richmond hotel at edsa the last time we stay there but i know it is not the best.

  17. I tried your recipe MM a few months back and it was really good! half of the recipe I put ham and cheese inside as well, it was time consuming but well worth it. I just need to add more ham and cheese when I try this again.

  18. Hi Marketman, this is unfair. I’m surprised you make it look like we’re kidding about heirloom. My great-grandmother was the first to make these ensaymadas in the 1930s. My grandmother still makes them in San Fernando and my mom is the third generation.

    Maybe you can ask the Medinas when they started making ensaymadas. And the name we use is Imang Salud, not the full Imang Salud Dayrit-Santos.

  19. My grandparents used to own a hotel/bakery/restaurant in Bacolod called Hotel Mallorca. I remember the old-fashioned ensaimadas they made and they are nothing like what can be bought commercially now. My mom thinks that Roli’s in Bacolod comes close to the Mallorca bakery product but I myself don’t like it :(

  20. Hi Ivan, sorry, I am not sure what you think is unfair about the post. I absolutely did not intend to make it seem as though you were kidding about it being an heirloom recipe. It was the fliers that the table in the legaspi market that specifically use the word HEIRLOOM. I completely buy your assertion that this has been made for generations in your family, and I think that is wonderful. However, if these were the same ensaimadas your grandmother made in the 1930’s, I would have to take a wild guess that they used animal lard at the time, not butter or margarine. If they were fortunate, they might have had some canned butter. And with the use of lard, the resulting ensaimada would be more breadlike and flakier, not the cakey versions now more prevalent in most bakeries and mall outlets.

    I tasted both the Medina ensaimada and your families and wrote my personal opinion of both. But it is clear in the post that I would buy either if I didn’t feel like making them myself. As for the name, again, the fliers that were handed out with the ensaimada clearly state these as Imang Salud Dayrit-Santos, and NOT the abbreviated Imang Salud as you mention in your comment. So perhaps, for folks such as myself that are unfamiliar with the family, you may want to edit your own marketing materials to make them more accurate and avoid unnecessary confusion or possible slight.

    As for the ensaimada itself, I do encourage folks to buy this and enjoy it. Or compare it to any other ensaimadas on the market that they have access to. Frankly, I thought I wrote a pretty fair review of the ensaimada up top. As for the Medinas, I have no idea when they started cooking ensaimadas, but ultimately, it is the taste and texture that matters to me most, not the age of the baker/bakery/family.

  21. Hi Cris, I think it was mentioned in a couple of comments previously. The article is by Robyn, I believe the same lady behind Eating Asia, that terrific blog based out of KL. But thanks for the link!

  22. My lola still uses animal lard. But my mom does not want to use animal lard for various reasons. Please change the information about the brand name.

  23. Ivan, MM has already explained his reason for writing the whole name. And certainly having the full name doesn’t really harm you, I suppose. Write your corrections but don’t imply MM of misleading his readers or maligning your product. If you are familiar with this blog, you should know that MM writes his reviews based on his judgement of the product. Positive or negative, it is his judgement and he doesn’t write a negative review just for the sake of. It seems you are overly sensitive. If your product is good and you believe it to be so, then you shouldn’t worry. And MM has recommended it anyway so what’s your deal? Sheesh.

  24. P.S. Since Imang Salud is already mentioned here, I’ll take this opportunity to make a shameless plug. Hehe! Also try out our plantanilla (sweet egg crepes with latik filling), also available at the Legazpi Sunday Market. It’s best to text (0920) 9478819 beforehand if you plan to buy, especially the ensaimadas, so that we could reserve for you.

  25. haaay, all this discussion about ensaimada is making this inday from Iloilo soo hungry. I’ve no idea what a classic ensaymada tastes like at all. We sure have ensaymadas around here but i don’t know if they’d even qualify into that “old-fashioned” closer to the “Mallorcan” category.

  26. Ivan, My maternal grandmother and great grandmother were making ensaimadas in the early 1900’s but it was my paternal grandmother who had the bakery after WW II, So the recipe Marketman features was derived from that, and many a family has a similar heirloom recipe. He still needs some practive coiling but you should be pleased that he featured your ensaimada and complimented it by recommending it for purchase.

  27. Hi MM, I highly recommend that you try the ensaimada from Bakeshop 833 (a home-based bakeshop located in Wack Wack Village – this used to be the one in New Manila called Sweet Expressions). If ensaimadas are truly a mini-obsession for you, then this is definitely a must-try!

    I’m not sure if its exactly what you would call “old-fashioined” but the product definitely makes no apologies for its richness and quality.

    Unfortunately, the ensaymada is currently not available in any of the weekend markets but you can call them at 725-1218 or 725-2481.

  28. Hi Marketman, Sorry about the discussion. Thank you so much for featuring my ensaimadas. The ensaimadas were only made-to-order in San Fernando, Pampanga since my grandmothers’s time. When my lola died in 1970 (at age 86)it was passed on to my aunt, and now my 85 year old mom. I practically grew up seeing my lola’s goodies baked at home. I brought the ensaimadas to Manila in 2005 and also introduced her plantanillas (sweet mini egg crepes w/ latik filling) and for years have been available every Sunday at the Legaspi Sunday Market in Makati. I also sell Tibuk-Tibuk (Kapampangan maja blanca – carabao’s milk w/ dayap flavor). I am so happy I am able to continue the tradition and not let it die after they are all gone. In San Fernando, you can order more of my lola’s products aside from the ensaimada and plantanilla like nogatines (banca-banca/cashew boat tarts) petit pours, panaditas, etc. Call Tel. No. (045) 961-2758. Maybe I can bring these delicacies too to Manila in the future. BTW, my lola’s brother, caterer Francisco Dayrit and later his daughter used to bake a similar ensaimada. They had a restaurant, Dayrit’s Garden, located along Tomas Morato long time ago.
    Originally, my lola’s ensaimada used Brun butter when it was still available. Regarding the texture of being cakey instead of breadlike to your preference, I guess it maybe the compromise by my refusal to use pork lard (extracted from pork fat)for health reasons. I feel responsible to those who buy my ensaimadas. I get good reviews though from customers who say that the ensaimadas melt in your mouth. Also, my ensaimadas have a long shelf life – up to a week without refrigeration, maybe more, let me try. I also do special packaging for travel. I even tried mailing to relatives and friends via the US Post Office. All of them said it arrived still in good condition.
    Again, thanks so much!
    P.S. I tried Mark Medina’s ensaimada before. The ensaimadas didn’t have queso de bola topping, only sugar. I am so surprised these are now similar to mine.

  29. what the eff?

    Twas kinda funny though, what with the inclusion of who made what first! :p

    Hmm… I think the air quotes made Ivan think MM was “kidding” about their “heirloom” recipe. Tsk.

    Reminds me of the time Joey of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. used air quotes!

  30. Meliza…I may have dozed off in industrial baking school when my instructor was giving a lecture on how to prolong shelf life of a baked product!…OK, guys..give me a break…lecture started as early as 7 A.m…those of us here in the Pacific Northwest, you know that the sky is still dark at that time!!!! But I cannot see how you can possibly maintain the quality of your ensaymada WITHOUT refrigeration up to a week or longer? Am I to asssume that you are using a DOUGH IMPROVER of which one of its main functions is to improve shelf life! Each ingredient that goes into ensaymada like butter, eggs, sugar ,etc. each have a specific function BUT not one of primary ingredients contribue to prolonging shelf life…

    Sister, what do you think?

  31. Betty q. Our family takes pride in this since my grandmother’s time based on feedback we get. I guess it’s with the blending of ingredients or maybe the procedure.

  32. Then hats off to your grandmother, Meliza , since even here baked goods has a BEST BEFORE DATE stamped on the packaging and it’s usually no more than 4 days!

  33. Meliza…please don’t get me wrong…I am not doubting the quality of your ensaymada as the picture says it all…I just have a bit of a problem trying to understand how your ensaymada can BE KEPT WITHOUT REFRIGERATION for at least a week esp with the cheese portion…won’t it get moldy? I know that if I kept a chunk of cheese at room temp., the bacteria gets so happy and mold will set in a few days…..

  34. Betty q. Yes, I always recommend 4 days without refrigeration only when I sell the ensaimada, but one week is not a problem with the Holland made quezo de bola I use. Hope you can visit the Legaspi Sunday Market one of these days. Thanks.

  35. what’s the fuss about who made the first ensaimada? it’s not the nobel prize, you know. basta masarap, tapos.

  36. bettyq, I am with you. I wouldn’t keep any baked good with butter in it out on a kitchen counter in a tropical country with high temperature and humidity for more than a few days and certainly not a week or more. In the old days, the baked goods such as tortas and ensaimadas that stayed out a few days were often made with pork lard (and OLD pork lard at that) and sometimes some fermented coconut sap as the yeast stand in… but even those go moldy at a week or more. I’d like to think that if the baked good is really good, it wouldn’t last more than a day or two in our household! :) Marc, my sentiments exactly. People are so certain and defensive about their proprietary secret family recipes… and yet if you go back and look at the history of it, the “original” is often culled or influenced by someone else’s recipe. It’s a reason that recipes themselves (ingredients and measurements) CANNOT be patented.

  37. Just want to acknowledge too another aunt, Naty Dayrit-Lindo, Belair Makati, who used to bake also a similar ensaimada.

  38. I love ensaymada and I have yet to find the real thing here in the East Coast (USA).

    Can anyone please post a good recipe I can follow so I can have a Filipino Christmas?


  39. Edna, there is a detailed ensaimada recipe in the archives, check there. Or if you read the post carefully up above, it has links directly to the recipe.

  40. para namang napaka special yang ensaimadang yan di naman ginto! the rodriguezes of san fernando have an excelent version, so do the de leons of bacolor…you don’t hear them saying theirs was the original no? i mean realllly….WHO CARES?????

  41. I agree with you Marc! …It’s just like the Lechon of Mang Tomas, or Mang Pedro or Aling Ising or Aling Petra!!!! I am sure they are all winners in their own right!!!

    MM…I clicked on the link again of your family’s ensaymada. Please bear with me for I have a few questions….the yield esp. in your post, you only get 36 muffin size? How big are your tins? are they the size of the giant humongous muffins? I read the volume of your ingredients…and judging from the volume…I could be wrong though but if you scale your portions about 1 oz. (ABOUT THE SIZE OF A GOLF BALL) each and use a regular brioche mould the size of which when your ensaymada has risen and is baked would be the size of a regular muffin, your recipe should yield about 8 dozens (muffin size)…I use two sizes of moulds when I make my ensaymada. I have a mould that measures 2 inches on the bottom and 4 inches top from the widest point…would yield about 60 ensaymadas….
    The smaller mould measures 1 3/4 in. on the bottom and 3 1/4 in. from the top….would yield 8 dozens ensaymadas. This yield is based on the volume of your ensaymada dough.

    Which means ..more ensaymadas for you, your family and your crew to eat, I think!!!!

  42. Peace to all. Just to correct, I never profess that our ensaimadas are the originals since my grandmother learned to bake ensaimadas after attending cooking lessons in San Fernando in the 30s or maybe late 20s from a Kapampangan who studied cooking in Paris. She just revised her recipe when she started selling them. I guess the genres of these large Kapampangan ensaimadas evolved from there.

    BTW, Marc, your sister Lui was my daughter’s high school classmate at Assumption.

  43. wow, didn’t realize the passion about ensaimada was this…fantastic. i love it. i thought i was alone. yup, the original ensaimadas really were different.

    but just keep the discussion going…

    tossing in my share, i too make ensaimada but i don’t make a batch unless i have the entire day dedicated to it. yup, ensaimadas will not go rancid IF it was properly cooled before it was packed and, but of course, the tools, kitchen and ingredients were not contaminated with unmentionables.

    a good ensaimada that was really given the right time and temperature to rise will last long.

    i’m only good as the last ensaimada i baked so i might as well go somewhere to test them out. i don’t have the energy nor the time to really make it as i want it to be. sigh.

    maybe when i retire…

  44. Grabe!!
    Kahit anong klaseng ensaymada pa yan, que recipe pa ni Jose Rizal yan..nakakataba pa rin yan! hehehe..

  45. The ensaymada topic is hot and i love ensaymada. Could someone tell me where to get a good and affordable baking course on ensaymada and other breads.Preferably around makati or cubao.



Subscribe To Updates

No spam, only notifications about new blog posts.