Taste Test

Cream Delight’s Ensaymada Spread Comes Close But Lacks Something Important

January 16, 2018

A significant chunk of today’s food world consists of food of one form trying to evoke the idea of another, as epitomized through the deconstructivist approach of Ferran Adria as it is through the novelty flavors of junk snacks that proliferate supermarket shelves. In this case we have a spread for bread mimicking another kind of bread. Or more specifically, a spread by Cream Delight purporting to deliver the flavor of ensaymada—the Spanish-rooted, butter-and-sugar (and often, cheese)-topped brioche-like bread that is an essential part of any Filipino bakery. It’s interesting on paper, but does the actual product deliver?

Cream Delight carries a thick, frosting-like consistency.

Opening the jar, you’ll find a spread that mimics the butter part of the equation with its pale-yellow hue. Its primary fat of choice (as revealed in the ingredient list) is “Non Hydrogenated Palm Olein”—the health value of which we’ll leave the science guys to do the talking on, but which nonetheless allows the product to stay relatively stable* and easy to spread at room temperature. Thick and creamy but with a slight graininess, it loosely resembles buttercream frosting if it came out of a factory. This resemblance extends to its aroma as you get the chemical (but oddly enticing) scent which we assume comes from the third to the last entry in the ingredient list, “artificial butter flavor”.

*The oil does separate from time to time, but not as quickly or as extremely as you’ll find on natural peanut butter—and it’s much easier to re-stir when that does happen.

As you’d thus expect, this hardly compares to real butter. But we will say it’s better than many other butter-masquerading spreads out there. Sweet and predominantly milky, the so-called “butter” flavor—an exaggerated approximation of it anyway, which the milkiness supports—comes at just the right amount to announce its presence without rubbing itself in your face the way some brands of margarine do. (We’re looking at you, Daricreme.) The said graininess does not pose too much of a distraction against the creaminess in the background, in fact providing just enough of a rough edge to keep any underlying greasiness from settling onto the tongue. You even get a few granules of sugar here and there for a welcome, addictive crunch—just as you’d find on the well-loved bread.

Gotta commend how it spreads easily without tearing even the most delicate of breads apart.

This spread gets the butter and sugar aspects down pat, delivering the said ensaymada elements in an inauthentic but effective way, and it makes for a decent toast-topper or sandwich with pan de sal or even as a quick cake frosting (try it with store-bought mamon). Arguably though, that’s not all there is to ensaymada. Cream Delight straight-up forgoes the cheese—an element that we acknowledge neither the most traditional version of ensaymada nor those sold at a few neighbourhood panaderia don’t call for either, but is nonetheless found in most modern iterations around the country by default.

Look closely at the label and you’ll find a small doodle of ensaymada topped with cheese—even though the resulting spread does not deliver on the cheese aspect.

The resulting flavors evoke little more than just sweetened butter—of the fake sort, at that—which does the job and saves you the 5-ish minutes it’d take to make sweetened butter from scratch (not including time it would take for butter to soften, or to wash the extra bowls and utensils). And for those low on fridge space, this spread can be kept at room temperature with a longer shelf life than the fresh dairy stuff. But without the cheese, Cream Delight fails to evoke the distinctive, sweet-and-salty essence of ensaymada as most of us know it today. Still, all it takes is a grater… and perhaps a phone call with one of the many processed cheese companies in the country. This spread holds promise; Cream Delight, we hope you’d hold up our idea for consideration.

Patricia Baes SEE AUTHOR Patricia Baes

Trish thinks too much about everything—truth, existence.....and what’s on her plate. Her ongoing quest for a better relationship with food has led to a passion for cooking, gastronomy, and a newfound interest in its politics. She is a cheapskate in other aspects of her life, preferring to use her savings on specialty vinegars and degustation menus. While she admits to eating out too much, cooking and baking remain her first love, and she's always looking for quirky new ways to use up seasonal produce. Thanks to her obsession with (unnecessarily) making everything from scratch, she is now desperate to clear her fridge full of homemade condiments. She dreams of perfecting the art of making soufflé with her crappy toaster oven.

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