Pumpkin is all the rage. Pumpkin spice lattes, Pumpkin beers, all pumpkin everythang. Sometimes they’re made with real pumpkin. Most times they’re just a combination of spices and natural flavorings. What if we started flavoring our favorite things with real pumpkin? I give you…
Ensaymada is a sweet brioche-like bread roll that’s iced with whipped butter and sugar, and topped with a sweet cheese. It has Spanish origin. I’ve personally never had ensaimada, but it looks like it would be similar in flavor to ensaymada, just without the cheese. Leave it to Filipinos to add cheese.
I loved when my parents would visit the Philippine Bread House, a Jersey City institution. They’d always come home with delicious baked goods like cream cheese rolls, sponge cakes, and of course, ensaymadas. You could get a traditional ensaymada, or one filled with ube halaya, a purple sweet potato puree. It was perfectly acceptable to have an ensaymada for breakfast as well as for dessert. Taking a bite out of these soft buns will guarantee a dollop of icing and cheese on your nose. I always preferred briefly heating mine up in a microwave or toaster oven just to get a little melt on the cheese. They were quite the treat.
I picked up a Long Island Cheese Pumpkin, which is known to make delicious pumpkin pie. Keith turned it into a puree and I used it as a filling for the ensaymadas. The puree had a good balance of spices and with a refreshing and sweet pumpkin flavor, something you don’t get out of a can. I also used a cultured butter blended with sea salt and maple from Vermont Creamery for the icing, just to give these babies more of a seasonal New England flavor.
Keith’s Pumpkin Puree
1 Long Island Cheese Pumpkin
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground clove (alternatively, you can substitute all of these spices with a pumpkin pie spice blend)
2 Tbsp butter
- Cut pumpkin in half and remove seeds. Lay flat on baking sheet. Roast at 375•F until meat is soft. Scoop out meat and place in heavy bottom pot. Add sweetened condensed milk, spices, and butter. Cook over low-medium heat for about 20 minutes.
- Remove pot from heat and blend with immersion blender or upright blender, until smooth.
- Return mixture to stove and thicken over low-medium heat. Puree should not be runny, but spreadable. It will thicken up further once it is cooled.
Chi Chi’s Pumpkin Ensaymada w/ Maple Butter Icing
Yields about 8 rolls. Takes a while to do. It’s baking. Just get into it.
2 tsp active dry yeast
2/3 cup warm water
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup pumpkin puree
1. Sponge: Dissolve yeast in warm water. Water temp should be between 95-110•F. Let stand for 10 minutes. Add 1 cup of flour, 1 tbsp sugar, and yeast mixture to mixing bowl and combine until incorporated. Sprinkle with 1 cup of flour. Set aside for 1 hour. Sprinkled flour on top should crack.
2. To the sponge, add eggs, sugar, salt, evaporated milk, and 1 cup of flour. Use dough hook with mixer and mix on low speed until everything starts to come together. While mixing, slowly add remaining 3/4 cup flour. Increase speed to high, periodically stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl. Stop mixing when you no longer need to scrape and everything is incorporated. Do not over mix.
3. Incorporate the softened butter by slowly adding a few dollops while the dough mixes on low speed. As you add the butter, you might freak out, like I did, because it kind of falls apart on you. Just keep mixing until it’s all incorporated, everything is going to be alright. If it doesn’t come together for you and the dough doesn’t pull away from the sides, sprinkle a bit of flour, but not too much.
4. Transfer dough onto a lightly flour surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Transfer to a greased bowl, cover with plastic, and let it rest for about 4 hours in room temperature. It should double in size.
5. Punch down the dough in the bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest at room temp for another 4 hours.
6. Heat your oven to 350•F. Turn it off and place a bowl of water on your bottom rack. You’ve made a homemade proofer for your final stage.
7. Remove dough from bowl and divide into 8 equal pieces, about 2 oz. each (or 60 grams). Roll out each piece on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin, to a 8″ x 5″ rectangle. Spread 1-2 tbsps of pumpkin puree on the dough, leaving an inch space on the long edge of the rectangle.
7. Roll the rectangle into a log (like a jelly roll), and pinch the ends closed. Coil the log (like a cinnamon bun) and place on a greased and floured baking sheet. Repeat process with the 7 other dough portions.
8. Allow the buns to rest and rise in your oven/proofer situation (environment should be warm and moist), for about an hour. Remove the proofed rolls and bowl of water, and heat your oven to 325•F. Bake ensaymada for about 20 minutes or until golden in color.
3 tbsp Vermont Creamery Maple and Sea Salt Butter, softened
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 cup grated white cheddar cheese
- Mix butter and sugar together until light in consistency. Spread over baked ensaymadas and top with cheese.
WHEW! That was a lot of steps that I may or may not have done in its entirety, but you probably should because I’m sure this is all good in hindsight.