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Introducing laminated ensaymada

It makes use of laminated dough, which is a dough composed of many thin layers of dough separated by butter and produced by repeated folding and rolling of the dough.



You’ve probably tried different kinds of soft, buttery ensaymadas in the past — small ones, huge ones, some sprinkled generously with grated cheese and drizzled with chocolate, others studded with bits and pieces of salted egg, or topped with chocolate shavings, maybe filled with ube or ham or bacon, some colored and flavored with pandan or ube, or flattened and grilled into a sandwich — but have you already tried laminated ensaymada?

Well, if you haven’t and you’d like to, this might be the perfect time to do so, because Sourdough Café now makes laminated ensaymada, which the chefs fondly call Kwahsaimada. “Kwah” is short for the pronunciation of croissant (kwah-sont) plus ensaimada. They are available fresh from the ovens of Sourdough Café every day.

photographs by dolly dy-zulueta for the daily tribune

Sourdough Café bakes fresh batches of breads and pastries using their own sourdough starters every day, and the team, led by chef Alvin Ong, continuously develops new products that they can offer their clients, especially their regulars. The place has a fairly comprehensive menu of products, but they curiously had no ensaymada. So, when one of the bakers suggested that they add ensaymada to their menu, chef Alvin thought of how they could innovate on the traditional pastry to make their version unique and exciting.

Lightbulb moment. Chef Alvin thought of laminated ensaymada, which is a hybrid between a croissant and an ensaymada. It makes use of laminated dough, which is composed of many thin layers of dough separated by butter and produced by repeated folding and rolling of the dough. When such a dough is used, water in the butter vaporizes during baking so that it expands and causes the dough to puff up and separate while the butter itself fries the dough. The dough essentially stays together but puffs up into thin, flaky layers. Puff pastry is a type of laminated dough. So are the doughs used for making croissant and Danish pastry.

The layers of thin pastry are evident in these lovely croissants by Sourdough Café.

Thus, when you marry a croissant and an ensaymada (which is traditionally brioche — based, buttery and soft), you get laminated ensaymada — still soft and buttery on the inside but with an added crunch, a flaky texture, an airy but full bite. Chef Alvin’s laminated ensaymada is taller than the usual ensaymada and therefore has a narrower top, but the surface is equally, actually even more generously, spread with cream cheese frosting and topped with grated California cheese. What’s really nice about it is that Kwahsaimada is able to achieve that soft and buttery texture of a traditional
brioche-type ensaymada and yet have the texture and mouthfeel of a puff pastry. Truth is, when you playfully bite into the Kwahsaimada from the side, you can actually unravel the layers of laminated pastry by slightly pulling after sinking your teeth into it. Sourdough Café makes its own laminated dough to make sure they achieve this.

The boulangerie, patisserie and deli has also created another awesome variant of Kwahsaimada, a Florentine-inspired Kwahsaimada topped with choco-caramel sauce and sprinkled generously with roughly chopped walnuts and cranberries. The combination of ingredients works so well that an explosion of flavors happens in your mouth with every bite. Without the usual cream cheese spread on top, this Kwahsaimada has its own taste and appeal that is definitely difficult to resist.

Sourdough Café introduces laminated ensaymada, which they call Kwahsaimada.

The best way to enjoy both Kwahsaimada? Kept at room temperature for a maximum of two days or chilled in the refrigerator up to one week, they are best savored when reheated in a toaster or oven until the cheeses melt. The melted cheese adds another dimension of flavor into the laminated ensaymada.

Other products of Sourdough Café that make use of laminated dough are croissants and Danish pastries, where you can really see the beautiful layering of thin sheets of dough and how flaky they become after being baked to a golden crisp.

Sourdough Café’s chef Alvin Ong making laminated ensaymada. / Photograph courtesy of Alvin Ong

Kwahsaimadas are available at Sourdough Café (JSB Building, Tomas Morato corner Scout Delgado Streets, Quezon City) and at Mono Wine Café (Mayfair Mansion, 116 Perea Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City) daily at P95 per piece or P380 for a box of four. They also supply Kwahsaimadas exclusively to their client, Kapetolyo by SGD Coffee (Kartilya ng Katipunan Park, Cecilia Muñoz Palma Drive, Ermita, Manila). To order for delivery, send a message through Instagram (@sourdoughcafe.deli and @monowinecafe) or to Facebook
(@sourdoughcafe and @monowinecafeph).