Kiko, you tourist guide
Kiko learns to make a chocolate ensaimada
I leave Son Bou early today. My friend Tolo will teach me how to make ensaimadas. I really want to learn how to prepare a chocolate one so I can share it with my friends in Club Kikoland.
I catch the bus to go to Es Mercadal, where Tolo and Maria Jose have their bakery, Can Pons. There they prepare all kinds of sweet and savory pastries, cakes and many ensaimadas. They are really delicious!
Rolling the dough
Andrés, the baker, has everything already ready when I arrive. Since the dough had to rise for a few hours, he prepared everything yesterday so that today all we need to do is give it a shape before entering the oven.
The ensaimadas are made in the moment on the spot, one at a time. Within the ingredients is added sourdough. Do know what this is? It is dough made out of flour and water so it rises up double in volume.
Andrés blends the mixture which is very elastic. He puts it on a clean wooden table and adds lard to it to help avoid the mass from breaking. It's harder than I thought. You have to do it very gentle but with a firm touch, so that it is firm enough to add the filling.
Sweet or savory?
When people tell me how many filling there are to put into ensaimadas, it is makes me want to eat them all! They can be sweet or savory. I want the chocolate one, but we will also make the cabello de ángel. You can also make them with fruits such as apricots or pineapple, which can also be combined with, white or black chocolate. Are you getting hungry?
Well I have tried a spicy sausage with honey and it is delicious. Meanwhile, Andrés has rolled dough for the ensaimadas. He kneads the dough in a kind of bead which then gives a typical spiral shape to it. Now we will let it rest a little before putting them in the oven.
Why are they called ensaimada?
While we wait, they explain to me that ensaimadas come from the word saïm in Catalan and that´s why they are called ensaimadas.
More than 300 years ago, friends and families would gather around to celebrate and eat ensaimadas as a tradition.
Although it is originally from the Balearic Islands, they are now made elsewhere too. Immigrants, who came from the islands and lived there, took the recipe to Argentina and Puerto Rico to continue making ensaimadas.
Tolo is the head chef at Can Pons, which is also part of the associated companies which includes our Royal Family Rewards. He is now finishing preparing a cake that has been ordered. With a pastry bag he makes meringue drawings and decorates it with small chocolate figures.
I'm surprised when they take boxes full of colorful flowers out and begin to place them on the cake. Can we eat them? Yes, says Tolo, they are wafers. It is a very fine mass that adds color to it. The flowers look beautiful on the cake!
Pastisets and crespells
The bakeries in Menorca are very varied. While the buns are being made in the oven I see that there are many types of pastas prepared. There are pastisets, flower-shaped cookies with a thin layer of sugar on top of it and crespells filled with jam or almond.
They also make stuffed savory pastries called rubiols with spicy sausage or cheese or with vegetables or fish. Then there are also the formatjades, stuffed with meat, which are very typical here.
I have already enjoyed my snack!
I say goodbye to my friends at Can Pons and take a walk into Es Mercadal. This village is in the center of the island, just at the foot of Monte Toro, where I recently have been to. I see there is a craft center and I'm thinking of organizing an excursion one day to visit.
I'm on the bus with my big chocolate ensaimada. When I arrive at the Royal Son Bou Family Club, I will invite my friends to have lunch and tell them everything I have learned today.
Have you tried the ensaimadas of Menorca? You should! There are many flavors to choose from. Do you want to know more about other typical sweets in Minorca? We can go another day, so will you join us then?