Sunday, January 27, 2013

Daring Bakers - January 2013 - Gevulde Speculaas

Francijn of Koken in de Brouwerij was our January 2013 Daring Bakers’ Hostess and she challenged us to make the traditional Dutch pastry, Gevulde Speculaas from scratch! That includes making our own spice mix, almond paste and dough! Delicious!

I have never heard of Gevulde Speculaas (stuffed speculaas) before, and I know for a fact that I have never tasted it, so I was curious as to how this adventure would turn out.  Gevulde Speculaas is a traditional Dutch pastry, as Francijn, our host this month, is Dutch.

The speculaas spice mix is quite extensive, as follows:

cinnamon 40 to 60 % of the total amount
ground cloves 1 or 2 parts
mace ½ or 1 part
ginger ½ or 1 part

white pepper ½ or 1 part
cardamom ½ or 1 part
coriander ½ or 1 part
anise ½ or 1 part
nutmeg 1 or 2 parts

I used some of everything, but substituted black pepper for white pepper.  If the mix sounds a little confusing, Francijn helpfully explains how to mix it as follows:

Take at least 1 or 2 teaspoons of ground cloves, ½ or 1 teaspoon of mace and ½ or 1 teaspoon of ginger.

Add to taste ½ or 1 teaspoon of white pepper, ½ or 1 teaspoon of cardamom, ½ or 1 teaspoon of coriander, ½ or 1 teaspoon of anise, and 1 or 2 teaspoons of nutmeg.

Measure or weigh the amount of spices you have now, and add an equal amount of cinnamon.

You have no idea how heavenly these spices smell together - you really should try making the spice mix for the aroma alone.

My first test was to find mace - I had all the other spices already.  I could not track it down in any of the Melbourne supermarkets that I tried, and in the end by a stroke of luck, I remembered the Middle Eastern grocers near my work, which carry a wide variety of spcies.  There I finally tracked down the mace.

The dough and almond paste came together pretty easily (except for the slight spillage of my precious spice mix), and I refrigerated them for a couple of days to develop the flavours, as suggested by Francijn.  I did need to use about a quarter of a cup of milk for my dough to come together.

My next challenge was in assembling the speculaas.  It is summer here hence rather warm inside, and dough and warm weather are not good friends.  The dough wanted to stick to the paper I rolled it on, even when I refrigerated it after rolling, and the almond paste violently resisted being incorporated into the speculaas - in the end, I abandoned rolling it out and smooshed it over the top of the base dough layer.

Despite the less than smooth assembly process, I was pretty happy with the end result:

And another view which shows the almond paste filling better:

My Gevulde Speculaas smelled heavenly in the oven and tasted devine - I was a very happy girl.  The speculaas smelled just like Christmas, and I believe that this speculaas would make a wonderful addition to the Christmas cookie exchange.

Thanks to our host, Francijn, for introducing this Dutch specialty to us.   To see what the other Daring Bakers thought, visit the slideshow on the Daring Kitchen website once it has been loaded.

I have now been a Daring Baker for five years - scary!  My first challenge was Lemon Meringue Pie - you can find my post here.  I seemed to be very excited about it - perhaps it is time to make that pie again.  Much has changed in my life since then, not all for the better, but it's amazing how resilient we are.  What were you doing five years ago? 


Anonymous said...

Looks great! Happy Australia Day!

Jane said...

Too bad about the spice spillage and the summer heat. But looks like things still turned out excellent. I love how thick the layer of almond paste is.

Kari said...

What a challenge! But I suspect it was one that was worthwhile - it sounds like a gorgeous slice.

Congratulations on being a daring baker for 5 years too :-) That's a great achievement.

Anonymous said...

I like the rustic look of your speculaas! And to answer your question, 5 years back I was in my 1st year of medical school and it was one of the most difficult times I had. So you're right when you say that we've developed resilience. What does not kill us makes us stronger!

Cher Rockwell said...

5 years is a long time! Congrats.

These were kind of fun to make - I had never heard of these either. And that spice mixture was a very pleasant surprise!

Unknown said...

great recipe! it looks scrumptious!

I'm a new follower, I just discovered your blog and read some of your latest recipes, they're all yummy!

Michela @

The Caked Crusader said...

Ooh - stuffed speculaas is a new one on me. What a yummy idea!

Unknown said...

You did a great job 'smooshing' the pastry. Those slices look delicious :)

Francijn said...

Well done, your speculaas looks delicious! And five years is a long time... in April of this years it will be five years for me too. The first challenge I made were the cheesecake pops :-)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I really enjoyed this challenge too. I almost didn't make it as I was running out of time but I'm glad that I did :D

shelley c. said...

Five years??? That is awesome!! I think another lemon meringue pie sounds like a great way to celebrate... and now I am in the mood for one, myself... :) BUT - to the point... your gevulde speculaas looks delicious!! Great job on this challenge, even with the other challenges along the way :)

The Betz Family said...

Congratulations on your 5 years with Daring Bakers! Your Speculaas looks great. Nice job on the challenge!

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Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Your certainly mastered the "Gevulde Speculaas", repect. These are delicious cookies and I have bought them numerous times in Dutch bakeries but it certainly had never occured to me to bake them myself. But having read your and Cher´s wonderful blog posts about them, I am convinced that I will have to try out the recipe - I love those spices!

Kayte said...

Congratulations on your 5 years with Daring Bakers! Wow...that's a lot of accomplishment! This one looks so wonderful...I wish I could lift one off the page and eat it right now. All those flavors have me bookmarking this one and hoping to get to it...delicious!

Elaine said...

I had no idea that the Daring Bakers has been going on that long - Congratulations! I also have never had this before, but it sounds like it would be perfect for Christmas and it sure looks beautiful.