On a recent trip to the Spanish island of Mallorca, I was introduced to one of my favorite pastries of all-time. Unfortunately, outside of parts of Spain and the Philippines, a former colony of the European nation, it’s hard to find ensaimada in order to give it a try. So, what is this hidden gem and how is it made?
Ensaimada originated in Mallorca, a large island located to the east of mainland Spain in the Mediterranean Sea, in the 16th or 17th century. After the expulsion of the Moors that used to rule in the island area, pork lard was able to be used freely in gastronomy, and this became the key, differential ingredient in this pastry.
Mallorcan ensaimada typically contains a few simple ingredients that, when combined, make a rich and delicious treat.
Its main ingredients are the aforementioned pork lard, which is called “saim,” flour with a high gluten content, water, sugar, eggs, and a fermentation starter. It’s baked in an oven until golden-yellow and delicious.
Ensaimada can contain a variety of fillings or none at all. Often, ensaimadas are filled with a sweet cream or with chocolate. During festival seasons in the Balearic Islands, you’ll also sometimes find ensaimada with pumpkin, apricot, or even berry jams!
Does this pastry sound good to you? Trust me, it’s worth trying if you ever find yourself in front of one!