The ferry ride from Palma to Barcelona smells of this Mallorcan delight and large, breakfast table-sized versions are neatly tied up in hexagonal boxes for easy transportation by people who really can’t live without this local delicacy.
- 14 g (½ oz) dry active yeast
- 180 ml (6 fl oz) full-cream (whole) milk, warmed
- 2 large free-range eggs
- 1 free-range egg yolk
- 40 ml (1¼ fl oz) vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
- 125 g (4½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
- 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) baker’s flour
- pinch of fine sea salt
- 250 g (9 oz) lard or unsalted butter, softened
- 630 g (1 lb 6 oz/2 cups) Angel hair pumpkin and apple jam (recipe here) (optional)
- 80 g (2¾ oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 tbsp icing (confectioners’) sugar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Rising time: 2½ hours total
- Dilute the yeast in a small bowl with the warmed milk and set aside for 5 minutes to activate.
- Beat the whole eggs, egg yolk and oil in a large bowl or using a stand mixer with the dough hook attached. Add the diluted yeast mixture and beat or combine on medium–low speed, then add the caster sugar and mix again. Incorporate the flour 150 g (5½ oz/1 cup) at a time, then add the salt and continue to knead until you have a soft, smooth dough.
- Grease a work surface with a little oil, tip the dough onto the surface and knead for 5 minutes, folding it onto itself several times to create an elastic and smooth-textured dough. Oil your hands as you go to stop the dough from sticking.
- Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 hour or until risen by one-third.
- Portion the dough into nine 100 g (3½ oz) pieces. Line 2-4 baking trays (depending on size) with baking paper.
- Oil your work surface again, along with a rolling pin. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll each piece into a 15 x 60 cm (6 x 24 in) rectangle. With a pastry brush, lather 2 tablespoons of lard over each rectangle of dough. With lightly greased hands, gently stretch the dough lengthways, stretching it a further 10–15 cm (4–6 in) each side without tearing it too much, if possible. If you are making filled ensaïmadas, evenly spoon the jam
in a line along one long end of the dough, leaving a 1-cm (½-in) border. Fold the dough over the jam and roll up into a long log. Set aside on a lined baking tray and repeat with the remaining dough to create nine logs.
- Oil your hands again and gently stretch the logs a little further. Transfer to another lined baking tray and curl each log into a spiral, leaving a slight gap between the rows of coils. Tuck the tail ends under the base of each ensaïmada, then cover and set aside in a draught-free spot for 1½ hours or until risen by one-third.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) fan-forced. Bake the ensaïmadas for 10–12 minutes, until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven, brush with the softened butter while hot, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Once completely cool, finely sift the icing sugar over the ensaïmadas and serve with a hot chocolate or strong coffee.
Recipes and images from Islas: Food of the Spanish Islands by Emma Warren, Smith Street Books, RRP $49.99