The Philippine bakery product ensemada, taken with coffee or chocolate, will suit you well for breakfast, or you could save it for mid-morning meryenda (snack) at work or during school recess. It works fine, too, for a mid-afternoon filler (another meryenda!). Ensemada might be too heavy for dessert, but there’s nothing to stop you from consuming it after a (main) meal, hah!
Ensemada is the Filipinized version of the Mallorcan (Spanish) word ensaimada (root word saim, a high quality lard which is the main ingredient for this bun). Mallorca is one of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, on the eastern coast of Spain.
The rich, sweet bread is said to have originated during the Moorish occupation of Spain; its coiled shape symbolizing a turban. It came to our islands during the period of Spanish colonization, probably via the galleon trade between Acapulco and Manila.
An “ordinary” ensemada has a little icing sugar on top, but ensemada especial has buttercream icing and shredded cheese on top. At airports and bus stations in the Philippines, it is a favorite purchase to take home as an arrival present. The famous Malolos ensemada – from the Central Luzon province of Bulacan – has salted eggs on top. Ensemada melt is a recent variation that has enjoyed widespread popularity.