The giant Mallorcan ensaimada featured on the PBS show SPAIN On The Road Again with Mario Batali is filled with candied spaghetti squash which in Spanish is called cabello de angel (angel's hair). The baker says he cooks the squash with sugar, honey, and lemon zest into a paste. He stretches the ensaimada dough really thin just like strudel, spreads lard all over, places the squash on one long end before rolling tightly into a log, coils into a snail shape, and lets the coil rise for 12 hours. When Mario took a bite of the ensaimada and proclaimed it was the best pastry he has ever eaten I just had to make this sweetened squash.
I've cooked spaghetti squash before and I like that it does not get mushy, retains its vermicelli shape, and it stays a little bit crunchy even after it's cooked. Candied, it has a slight chestnutty flavor that is milder than kabocha. I used the light-colored candied squash as topping for Danish pastry and the second to fill the Mallorcan-style ensaimada I made a few days ago. I stretched the dough as much as I could which is not difficult to achieve resulting in an ensaimada that has a very flaky crunchy crust and the softest crumb. I agree with Mario, this ensaimada is delicious, so heavenly delicious. I love them more than the egg and butter loaded Filipino ensaimada which is closer to brioche than to Mallorcan ensaimada.
Ensaimada adapted from THE CUISINES OF SPAIN by Teresa BarrenecheaMakes three 8-inch diameter coils
2½ teaspoons instant yeast
2/3 cup whole milk, heated to lukewarm
3½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
6 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for oiling rolling pin, work surface, and baking sheets
½ cup lard (do not use butter)
½ cup confectioner's sugar for dusting
- In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/3 cup of the warm milk and let stand for 5 minutes. In a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, stir together the flour, salt and sugar. Add the remaining milk, eggs, olive oil, and the yeast mixture and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Replace paddle with dough hook and knead on medium for 4 to 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic film, and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Oil a work surface, a rolling pin and 3 baking sheets. Roll out 1 portion into a 12 x 6-inch rectangle. Spread lard and fold in half lengthwise. Spread lard and fold again in half lengthwise. Roll again into a 12 x 6-inch rectangle and starting from a long side roll up into a tight 12-inch cylinder. Shape it into a snail-like coil. Repeat with the 2 remaining dough portions.
- Place the coils on the oiled sheets, cover with plastic film and let rise at room temperature overnight or at least 12 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the coils for 30 minutes, or until they are airy and golden. Remove from oven and let cool on wire racks. Dust with confectioner's sugar and cut into segments just before serving.