By Bianca Garcia
I’ve made these mini ensaymadas several times already and they’re always a hit! I’m sharing my recipe for you to try out and maybe bring to your next holiday party or salo-salo (social gathering).
Ensaymada is Filipino pastry. It’s a soft, buttery, brioche-like bun topped with butter, sugar, and cheese. Some versions (like mine) use buttercream, some use margarine, and some even omit the cheese altogether. But if you know me, I never omit cheese from any recipe.
For most Filipinos, ensaymada is a big part of the holiday season, ubiquitous at parties and potlucks. But it’s not only available during the holidays; it’s enjoyed year-round. Ensaymada is also a staple for breakfast, merienda (mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack), or dessert. And it is often served with coffee or tsokolate (hot chocolate).
The cheese that’s typically used to top ensaymada is queso de bola, a special kind of edam cheese that’s manufactured only for the Philippines, and available during the holidays. I used a micro-plane to shred the queso de bola, resulting in extra fine shavings that I then used to generously blanket the top of each pastry. Queso de bola is hard and crumbly, similar to Parmesan, so if you don’t happen to have a ball of Filipino cheese within easy access, you can always substitute parmesan. You can also use sharp cheddar cheese.
I used a shortcut in this recipe by using pre-made dough in the form of crescent rolls. This saves a lot of time, and it makes the recipe more accessible and less intimidating for me. If you’d like to make the dough from scratch, I like this recipe by Jun-Blog.
RECIPE (originally posted on Confessions of a Chocoholic):
- 1 tube (8 oz) crescent rolls
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 stick butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- 1/4 cup shredded queso de bola (I used a microplane for extra fine shavings)
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Unroll dough. Separate into 2 rectangles. Most crescent roll dough includes 8 triangles, so for this recipe, each rectangle will be made up of 4 triangles. Pinch the perforations together. Flip over and pinch the perforations on the back together, too. Use a rolling pin to smooth out the seams and flatten the dough a little bit.
- Brush the rectangles with melted butter, and roll each rectangle into a log. Cut each into 8 pieces, so you'll end up with 16 pieces total.
- Using a pastry brush, grease mini muffin tins with the remaining melted butter. Insert buns and bake for 11-12 minutes.
- While buns are baking, make the buttercream. In a medium bowl, combine the room temperature butter and confectioners sugar. Cream together until smooth.
- Once buns are lightly golden, remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
- Spread buttercream on top of each mini bun and generously top with cheese. Serve immediately or keep in an airtight container.