Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Ensaimada: a Mallorcan Breakfast Treat.

Picture this ok: You lace up your trainers and off you trot for a nice easy 9 miler...it’s your current favourite route, there’s a pretty epic hill about 3 miles in so when you’ve passed that, you feel like you’re home and dry. It’s grey and rainy and you get splashed by the odd truck but you’re not a fair weather runner so trottrottrot you go. You make it up your ‘Everest’, you’re high up in Fife’s heavens, the wind is behind you, all is good.

AND THEN. You change direction, and some weather God decides that no, today is not meant for a nice satisfying run but that it’s time for some suffering. The wind is now in your face, like actually IN your face and it brings little needles of frozen rain, not snow, or hail, frozen rain, into your skin so you have to squint and your thighs are not quite numb enough to not feel the needles soaking your tights and your skin and it stings. Your hands are wet and so cold you can’t grab your tights to readjust and you are suffering. It is the coldest and wettest run that perhaps there ever was. Don’t call me a hero (ok just whisper it), I’m no Nansen , and I’m not telling you this so you think I’m amazingly hardcore and brilliant (though if that happens to be your concluding opinion then who am I to argue).

No...I’m telling you so you can understand what it was that kept one foot in front of the other and prevented a major tantrum. It was this poofy, buttery bread that was my whirlywhirly ‘carrot’ and the thought of it sitting next to ‘too hot for purists’ coffee meant that I made it home in record time. If you’ve perhaps not heard of ensaimada before, I will tell you that it is in fact a Mallorcan breakfast treat, probably traditionally made with lots of lards.

I will admit that it’s not meant to be quite this shape, but more of a flat spiral that fits into a sort of large Camembert type box. I am, however, chalking my superduper spiral explosion down to my recent bready endeavors and the fact that I have evidently got just too good at the yeasty thing for my own good. I’m off to continue patting myself on the back...you go and make this, the running thing is not a mandatory part of the recipe, in fact, I’d advise against it. With Love and Cake.


A few notes:
  • While it is true that from start to finish this recipe takes a good while, you are not involved very much at all, so don't be intimidated by all the restings and risings.
  • You can add fillings when you do the rolling out and brushing with butter. A sprinkling of sugar would be nice, maybe some cinnamon or a ground almond fondant. This is the most traditional version though.

Makes one big one
You will need

A large baking sheet,lined

1.5 tsp dried yeast
150ml milk, warmed 
375g strong white bread flour
pinch salt
90g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra 
a good knob of melted butter, plus extra for glazing
icing sugar

  • First little job....mix together the yeast and milk and set aside.
  • In a nice large bowl combine the flour, salt and sugar.
  • Make a well in the centre of the four and add the eggs and olive and whisk together, starting to incorporate into the flour.
  • Add the milk and yeast mixture to the flour and mix everything to a sticky dough.
  • Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and have lots more flour handy so you can keep flouring the surface and your hands; it's a very sticky and wet dough at this stage.
  • Knead until the dough has become stretchy and shiny.
  • Oil the bowl that you mixed the dough in, pop the dough back in it, oil the top of the dough, cover with a tea towel and set aside in a cosy place for around 1 hour.
  • Roll the dough out on a well floured surface to a large rectangle and just a few millimetres thickness.
  • Brush all over with melted butter and roll up, starting from one of the longer edges, like you would roll up a poster.
  • Leave the dough to rise in its sausage shape for at least another hour, or more if you've got the time.
  • Coil the dough up into a spiral and transfer to your baking sheet, leaving it alone for one last hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 190°c.
  • Bake the ensiamada for 30-40 minutes, until puffed up and golden.
  • As soon as it's out of the oven, brush all over with melted butter and sprinkle over lots of icing sugar  through a sieve.
  • Eat with coffee or hot chocolate and feel like a hero.

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