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Re-creating past holidays through food: Menorcan ensaimadas

Updated: Aug 17, 2020

My Menorcan holiday on a plate!

Menorcan Ensaimadas: I had these on holiday a couple of years ago and could not get enough of them! They are extremely light and fluffy and sweetened just by a dusting of icing sugar. As there is no immediate prospect of a trip to Menorca, I thought I would try and recreate them. And actually it was pretty successful, I would give them an 8.5/10.... they need to be eaten as fresh as possible and there were a few too many to get through in one sitting so I gave some to my neighbours who agreed they were well worth eating!

10g dry active yeast 150 ml lukewarm milk 350g white bread flour, divided 2 large eggs 85g granulated sugar 100g lard / Trex / Flora white 20g powdered sugar for decoration

Makes about 10-ish

Mix the yeast with lukewarm milk until dissolved. Place half of the flour into a large mixing bowl. Gradually pour in the milk-yeast mixture while stirring. Mix until the ingredients form a dough. Cover bowl with cling film and place in a warm spot. Allow to rise until the dough has doubled in size, approximately 1 hour. While the dough is rising, remove the eggs from the fridge to come to room temperature.

Once the dough has risen, add the eggs to the dough, one at a time. Use a large spoon or your hands to incorporate the eggs into the dough. Then, add the sugar and stir until the dough absorbs the sugar. Mix in the remaining flour, kneading the sticky dough with your hands for 4 to 5 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about an hour.

Lightly flour your surface and using a rolling pin, roll out the dough very thin to about 30 x 60cm. Using your hands, rub the vegetable shortening on the top of the dough, the dough is quite squishy, so make sure your shortening is quite soft.

Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, cut into long strips about 2-2.5cm wide (x60cm). Roll each piece of dough into a long coil or rope, like a kid making a plasticine snake. Then, roll up each of the coils like a snail shell, making the traditional shape of the Ensaïmadas.

Cover baking trays with baking parchment. Leave lots of space between them because they will expand and allow to rise until they have doubled in size, this took about 4 hours but you can leave them overnight. The overnight rise allows further fermentation to occur, adding flavour and size and means they are ready to bake fresh for breakfast. Perfect!

Pre-heat your oven to 350 F / 180 C. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until slightly browned on top. Be careful not to overcook them and ruin all your hard work! Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes, then sprinkle with powdered sugar. Time to enjoy and reminisce!

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