Fluffy and rich ensaymada filled with a fudgy and chocolatey tablea filling. You’ll want to level up your homemade ensaymada with this recipe!
I’ve kind of missed this
If you love ensaymada, or any sort of rich bread for that matter, then you’re going to love this recipe. This recipe produces one of those ensaymada variants that have a little something special to level it up, if you will. Not only is it buttery and cheesy, it’s got a delightful chocolatey filling to boot.
The last time I shared an ensaymada recipe was a LOOOOOONG time ago, when I wrote about these panaderia-style ensaymada. The reason I don’t make ensaymada a lot is because it requires a lot of yolks, and I have this weird tendency to overthink what special recipe I should be doing with the whites as well. It’s kind of a dumb thing to be concerned about, but I guess my brain’s just wired that way lol.
Egg yolks are what give ensaymada that rich and yellow crumb, so it’s a must. I would never think to sub it with whole eggs, even if you technically can. Ironically, I ended up using even more yolks for this recipe because the tablea pastry cream filling also requires some yolks.
Ending up with a total of 6 egg whites isn’t such a bad thing if you have time to spare. If I didn’t work six times a week, I’d remake any one of these awesome recipes with the excess egg whites in a heartbeat:
- THE BEST Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
- Top-to-Bottom Cookies & Cream Cupcakes
- Fruity Cereal Cupcakes
- David Lebovitz’s Matcha Financiers
- David Lebovitz’s Banana Souffle
- Chocolate-Chili Macarons
- Matcha Macarons with Red Bean Filling
- Frozen Mango Torte
As an even better idea, you can make this Spiced Tablea Chocolate Cake with your leftover tablea AND egg whites. BUT if you’re not obsessed about needing to find egg white “partner recipes” every time you use egg yolks like me, of course you can just cook the egg whites with some sausages and onions and be done with it!
Fluffy yellow goodness
I found this recipe on Yummy PH. It isn’t particularly hard, but it is time-consuming because it needs to be made part by part. First you make the dough and leave it to proof for quite some time, then you need to make the filling, shape the ensaymada, let it rise again… It’s kind of a project, I suppose you could say. Not to mention you only get 7 ensaymada using one batch of the recipe. Personally, I think it’s worth it every once in a while though.
This recipe makes some very delightful and fluffy ensaymada— that much is hard to dispute. And I’m not talking about the cottony ensaymada that you can smush easily because it’s overly airy; instead, you get some legit fluffy enriched bread. The flavor of the bread is pretty good, but I feel that you might get a more nuanced, even tastier bread if you leave it to slowly proof in the fridge overnight. That’s usually what happens with dough that goes through very slow fermentation in cold conditions.
Now the tablea filling is also quite special. It is fudge-like, chocolatey, and milky all at the same time. I love how mess-free it is to place into the dough as well because it’s pudding-like, so it stays put where you pipe it. Despite having this thicker consistency, it still manages to bake into the crumb of the ensaymada. It’s very very good, and it makes this ensaymada very good as well! The only way to make this even better is if you eat this with some hot Tsokolate Tablea as a dip-slash-drink.
My notes on this recipe
- Plan out your schedule when making this recipe as it requires quite a lot of time to finish. I highly recommend letting the dough proof in the fridge overnight as this will produce some tastier breads. So your schedule could look something like this: Make the dough the day before, then on the next day, take the dough out of the fridge and let it come back to room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. Use this time to make the tablea filling. Leave that to cool as well, then proceed with shaping the ensaymada as instructed.
- To tell if you have kneaded the dough enough, it should look smooth and be elastic, but still be damp and sticky to the touch. When we say elastic, this means you can stretch out the dough quite a bit before it breaks. This means enough gluten has developed and the dough is ready for proofing. However, some people think that if the recipe says the dough should be “smooth”, this means it should not be sticky, and so some people end up adding more flour to the dough. That is a no-no! In the video I shared above, you can see that my dough looks smooth and shiny in its elastic stage, but it is also still sticky and damp. This is the kind of dough you should aim for if you want fluffy bread! Adding more flour to make the dough non-sticky will only make it heavy and the resulting breads tough. All to say, RESIST the urge to add more flour!
- You can use whatever tablea is available to you. Do note however that some of the tablea are sold sweetened while some are not. I don’t really have a preferred brand, but I tend to buy pure unsweetened tablea so I have full control over how much sugar I add.
- Add about a tablespoon of filling in the center. This is not the time to be stingy! However, I do not think you should add any more than that as it might become difficult to close the dough over the filling if it’s over-filled.
- These look best made in an ensaymada mold, but you can also use a cake pan or large muffin pan. If you do not have any ensaymada molds on hand, the best alternative is probably a large muffin tin, or whatever you use to make individual brioche breads. You can also make a round loaf using a round cake pan. It’s entirely up to you!
- Spread as much of the sweetened butter topping as you like. A lot of people like their ensaymada on the sweet side. I prefer spreading only as much as I need to make the cheese stick.
- You can use whatever salty cheese you prefer for the dough and the topping. Some people even prefer using processed filled cheese like Eden due to its stronger flavor. If you feel fancy, you can use parmesan. In our home, we like to use queso de bola.
- Serving ensaymada with hot chocolate as a dipping drink is a MUST. It doesn’t have to be a Tsokolate Tablea drink, mind you. You can use your favorite thick hot chocolate recipe to pair with these, as long as you serve them together. If you don’t, you’ll totally be missing out!
Tablea-Filled Ensaymada with Hot Tsokolate Tablea
For the dough
- ½ cup (120 mL) warm whole milk, about 110°F
- 1 Tablespoon instant yeast
- 2½ cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
- 4 egg yolks, at room temperature
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 Tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 Tablespoons grated queso de bola or cheddar cheese
For the tablea filling
- 1 tablet tablea, finely chopped
- ½ cup (120 mL) evaporated milk
- ¼ cup (60 mL) condensed milk
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon butter, salted or unsalted is fine
- 2 egg yolk, at room temperature
For the topping
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 6 Tablespoons butter, softened
- Grated cheese of choice, queso de bola, cheddar, or even parmesan
For the Tsokolate Tablea
- 4 to 6 tablets tablea, according to taste
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup evaporated or whole milk**
- 1/8 to ¼ cup sugar, or more according to taste
Make the dough
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in all the ingredients for the dough. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to mix everything together until all dry ingredients are wet, and a rough dough forms.
- Attach bowl to the stand mixer. Using the dough hook, knead the dough on medium/medium-low until a smooth, sticky, and elastic dough is created, at least 10 minutes. Around 15 minutes would be best. The resulting dough should be damp and sticky but should not break easily when carefully stretched out.
- With greased hands, shape the dough into a ball, then transfer to a lightly greased bowl. Cover and allow to proof in a warm, dry place for 2 to 3 hours, or in the fridge overnight. This dough rises very slowly. To check if the dough is ready, it would have doubled and would very slowly bounce back if poked with a finger.
On the same day you’re making the ensaymada, make the filling
- In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk together tablea, evaporated milk, condensed milk, cornstarch, and butter. Whisk constantly until mixture is smooth, homogenous, and thickens into a pudding-like consistency, more or less 5 minutes. It should be thick enough to hold soft peaks when you lift up your whisk.
- Immediately remove from heat and add in the egg yolks, whisking immediately to keep them from scrambling. Whisk until mixture is homogenous. Set aside to cool briefly then transfer to a piping bag. (If a skin or some clumps form after cooling, just whisk it until the mixture becomes smooth again.) This mixture is best used the same day but it can be stored up to 1 day in the fridge after making.*
Shape the ensaymada
- Lightly grease 7 ensaymada molds and place on a baking sheet. If you don’t have them, you can grease a 9-inch springform pan if you want to make a round “pull-apart” ensaymada loaf instead.
- Once the dough has sufficiently risen, punch it down and turn out onto your lightly floured work surface. (If using refrigerated dough, allow to proof at room temperature for at least 1 hour before using.) Briefly shape dough into a rectangular mass and divide into 2 pieces. Roll each piece into a longish fat oblong and slice dough into 25 to 30-gram portions. You should get about 21 pieces in total.
- Shape each piece into small rounds, then use a rolling pin to flatten each piece into discs. Try to keep the middle part a little thicker than the edges. Pipe about 1 Tablespoon of tablea filling into the center of the dough discs, then bring edges up to seal the filling inside. Gently pinch the dough to seal and give the balls a little roll on your work surface to smooth out the seams.
- Place 3 filled rounds of dough inside your ensaymada mold in a clover shape. (If using a springform pan, just arrange them as you like.) Repeat with the rest.
- Loosely cover ensaymada with a cloth or clingfilm and allow to proof a second time, another 45 minutes to 1 hour. They will puff up nicely over the rim of the ensaymada molds. 20 minutes before the end of the rising time, preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Bake the ensaymada for 13 to 15 minutes, or until they start to turn golden on the surface. Do not over-bake to keep them moist. Allow ensaymada to cool until just barely warm to the touch.
Finish the ensaymada
- In a small bowl, beat together softened butter and sugar. Spread on top of the cooled ensaymada. You can be as generous as you please but you only really need a thin layer to hold the cheese on the bread.
- Shred your cheese to your desired size. Finely grated cheese will make the ensaymada look prettier, although sometimes I prefer thicker cheese strands to have something to bite into. Sprinkle cheese generously on top until the entire surface is covered. Serve ensaymadas with Hot Tsokolate Tablea.
To make the Tsokolate Tablea
- In a saucepan over medium high heat, mix together water and tablea until melted and smooth. Add in milk and 1/8 cup sugar. Mix together until well combined. Taste if the drink is sweet enough or chocolatey enough to your taste and add more sugar or tablea as needed.*** Serve hot with the ensaymada as a dipping drink.
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