Make the best cheesy Filipino pastry with this awesome Ensaymada recipe


Living abroad is great, but sometimes you miss the simple things, like being able to buy ensaymada whenever you feel like it. If you happen to live in a place where ensaymada is not readily available, why not make your own using my ensaymada recipe.

What is ensaymada?

Ensaymada is a very popular Filipino pastry which is usually enjoyed as an afternoon snack. Ensaymada can be enjoyed all by its lonesome or with a nice, refreshing drink.

Ensaymada is a type of bread similar to brioche. Ensaymada’s defining characteristic is its high egg and butter content, which gives it a rich and tender crumb.

Ensaymada is supposed to be slathered with generous amounts of butter, then sprinkled with lots and lots of sugar and grated cheese.

Every Filipino family has their own secret recipe for making ensaymada, which is passed on from generation to generation.

My recipe is adapted from Chef Michael Smith’s cinnamon rolls, which shares the same bread base as ensaymada.

For a richer dough, I have another recipe using only egg yolks you might want to check out here.

How to make a better ensaymada

A lot of ensaymada recipes you’ll come across on the internet recommend using shortening. I wouldn’t suggest doing so, only because you’re going to get an ensaymada that doesn’t taste very good.

This ensaymada recipe calls for egg yolks, milk and butter. Plenty of butter.

Wait, what are you supposed to do with all the egg whites? Put them aside and make some buttercream later on! 😉

You can use any cheese you’d like for ensaymada, but I recommend Gruyère, a hard yellow Swiss cheese. It’s sweet and salty at the same time, and only gets better as it ages. Perfect for ensaymada!

If Gruyère isn’t readily available, use any cheese you enjoy such as Edam, Asiago, Cheddar or even Queso de Bola!

Whatever cheese you use, always make sure to put plenty of butter and sugar on your ensaymada.

What are the ingredients for ensaymada?

You can find ensaymada ingredients at your local grocery store or supermarket.

  • milk
  • butter
  • brown & regular sugar
  • vanilla
  • salt
  • flour
  • instant yeast
  • eggs
  • cheese

What equipment do you need to make ensaymada?

You won’t need too much equipment to make ensaymada, here’s some of the stuff you’ll need:

  • an oven & stove top
  • a mixer with a paddle and hook attachment
  • a couple of mixing bowls
  • a rolling pin
  • a baking pan
  • a nice, clean surface

Ensaymada Recipe Ingredients

For the dough:

1 cup milk
½ cup butter
½ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
5 cups flour
1 envelop instant yeast (Fleischmann’s)/2 ¼ teaspoons
4 eggs

For the ensaymada make-up:

1 cup – 11/2 cups softened butter, this (you can also make creamed butter if you wish)
1/4 – 1/2 cup regular granulated sugar
1 or more cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar (optional, just to add another flavour dimension)

Ensaymada Recipe Instructions

1. Warm the milk with butter, brown sugar, the vanilla and salt. Best to set the stove on low – low medium, this way it does not scorch the milk. Once the butter has melted, remove from heat. Set aside.

2. Place the half of the flour and the yeast in the bowl of the mixer. Using the paddle attachment beat at low speed and add the warmed milk in a steady stream. Beat until smooth.

3. Add egg yolks gradually, making sure that eggs are incorporated with every addition. As always you should be scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing. Beat until smooth.

4. Switch to a hook attachment and add the rest of flour. Once all the flour has been absorbed, you can switch your mixer to a higher speed. (You do NOT want to switch your mixer to high speed while adding the loose flour, that will be a big mess!)

5. Continue beating until the dough forms and is no longer sticky. You’ll notice too that the sides of your bowl becomes “clean-ish”.

6. The dough will be transferred into lightly oiled bowl to proof. Cover it with a damp cloth and wait until it doubles in size. It takes about an hour – two hours.

7. Once the dough has risen, knock it down.

8. Divide the dough into small equal parts 2.5″ – 3.5″ diameter ball, depending on how big you want the ensaymada to be.

9. With a rolling pin, flatten out dough to about 6-8” x 5” rectangle.

10. Brush the surface with melted butter. Add grated cheese and sugar the roll-up like you would with a cinnamon roll.

11. Now you’ve rolled it into a log, curl it into a coil, keep in mind to seal the ends. Place on slightly buttered muffin pan or brioche pans or baking sheet

12. Give it about another hour to let it rest and rise again.

13. Bake at 350F for about 30 – 35 min.

14. Once done, let ensaymada cool and finish with butter, sugar and cheese.

Thanks to everyone who’s reached out to let me know how much they enjoyed trying this recipe! Please do feel free to share! Happy baking!

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