The amount of pork lard that goes into a real ensaimada makes my version seem as wholesome as kale salad. Don't be fooled though; this is a luxurious treat you can serve warm (it heats up well) at the end of a meal, alongside lightly sweetened Greek yoghurt with some grated orange zest folded through.
Makes 2 pastries, serving four
- 50g muscatel raisins or other raisins, roughly chopped 1 tsp
- 3 tbsp orange liquor such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier
- 100g unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
- 150g caster sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly whisked
- 40g ground almonds
- 70g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 7 apricots, stone removed: 4 cut into ½ cm dice, 3 cut in half only
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 40g flaked almonds
- 500g puff pastry
- ½ tsp icing sugar
- 1 tsp runny honey
- Soak the chopped muscatel raisins in the orange liquor for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200C.
- In a mixer beat the butter and sugar until light, airy and pale in colour. Slowly add the eggs, a little bit a t a time; if the mixture looks split add a bit of flour to bring it back together. Finally, add the ground almonds, flour and a ¼ of a teaspoon of salt and beat just until everything comes together. Fold in by hand the diced apricots, raisins and alcohol, orange and lemon zest and flaked almonds. Set aside.
- Dust your work surface with a little bit for flour and roll the puff pastry into a rectangle, 2-3 millimetres thick. Trim the edges down to 50cm long and 30cm wide rectangle and then cut it in into two rectangles, both measuring 15cm x 50cm. Spread the almond paste thinly over both of the pastry rectangles, leaving a 2cm border along the long edges.
- Taking one rectangle first, gently roll the longest edge over itself and roll the whole sheet into a long sausage, the seam facing down. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Place one end in the centre of the tray and wrap around in a coil form, leaving a slight gap in the centre. Fold the end underneath the coil to seal it shut, brushing with a little egg to help stick. Repeat the same process with the 2nd pastry rectangle.
- Place 3 apricot halves in the centre of each of the coils, slightly overlapping and forming a flower pattern. Brush the remaining egg over the pastry and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 8 minutes and then turn down to 170C and continue cooking for another 45 minutes. The two ensaimadas should be golden-brown all over. Cool on a wire rack, dust with the icing sugar and brush the apricots with some runny honey before serving warm or at room temperature.