Ensaymada (Ensaimada)

Photo by chotda/flickr

In the Philippines, these sweet yeast rolls with the salty contrast of cheese, are a favorite with morning coffee or hot chocolate.

Makes 18.


120 ml/4 fl oz/1/2 cup warm water
7 g/1/4 oz sachet active dry yeast
185 g/6 oz/3/4 cup caster sugar
250 g/8 oz butter
3 eggs
570 g/1 1/8 lb/4 1/2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
125 ml/4 fl oz/1/2 cup milk
125 g/4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated


Measure warm water into a bowl, sprinkle yeast over and add 1 teaspoon of the measured sugar. Stir until dissolved and leave in a warm place until frothy.

Cream 185 g (6 oz) of butter with 1/2 cup caster sugar until light. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in yeast mixture, then flour and milk alternately, beating until smooth. Dough should be soft but not sticky. Shape into a ball and place in a warm, greased bowl. Cover and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour or until risen to double its original volume.

Divide dough in halves. On a lightly floured surface roll one piece to a rectangle 45 x 38 cm (18 x 15 in). Melt remaining butter and brush over the dough, then sprinkle evenly with half the cheese. Cut rectangle lengthways into 3 equal strips and roll up strips, starting at long end. Cut each into 3.

Roll each between palms and board until the thickness of a pencil, and form into twists or coils on greased baking tray, leaving space for rising. Repeat process using remaining dough, butter and cheese. Brush all the formed rolls with remaining egg, beaten. Cover and leave to prove in a warm place about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to moderate, 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove to wire racks and while still hot brush with melted butter and sprinkle with caster sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998).