Francijn of Koken in de Brouwerij was our January 2013 Daring Bakers’ Hostess and she challenged us to make the traditional Dutch pastry, Gevulda Speculaas, from scratch! That includes making our own spice mix, almond paste and dough! Delicious!
Now, freshly ground spice is my thing. So I got all excited about this challenge as it meant I would get to take out my spice grinder and mix a batch of Speculaas spice. Aromatic goodness. I couldn’t wait to try this month’s challenge.
I knew this was going to be one delicious treat to make. What I did not know how enjoyable the whole process would be and how much I would love it. My home smelled delicious while the baking was going on and as soon as it cooled down a bit, I cut a slice. Tasted a bit and then made coffee to drink and eat the whole slice. It was 1 am here in Denver. And I should have been fast asleep. But here I was, enjoying my baked piece of heaven. My friend, Swati, the bubbly, happy blogger at Chatkhor, is witness to the unfolding drama and knows that I baked this at midnight. How and Why ? Well you see, I made the dough and the almond mix and put them in the fridge to make this on the weekend. And then I forgot. Completely!
Posts on Facebook started to trickle in as they did on Pinterest. And then it hit me! OMG ! I was supposed to bake the Speculaas. And it was 10 pm. The husband declared he was off to bed. The child was already tucked in and fast asleep. But I had to do this. He tried to reason, that I could make it in the morning. But he had no idea, what effect the beautiful Speculaas posted in daring bakers had had on me, and how much I was beyond saving.
So, with a strange look, he went off and I got to work and baked the Speculaas . And am glad I did. Eating a whole slice of freshly baked Gevulda Speculaas with a cup of Turkish coffee at 1 am, and checking all the Daring baker’s blogs was way more relaxing than sleeping. Sleep started to take over in the wee hours of the morning, with a deep realization that despite baking it just in the nick of time, I am still going to be late in posting it.
So here is my very late posting of the Daring Baker’s challenge. I loved making this and shared a couple of slices with my neighbor across the street and got an immediate feedback that the flavors and texture were both exquisite.
Recipe adapted from the Daring Baker’s challenge
Gevulde Speculaas – Daring Baker’s Challenge
- 2 tbs ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp whole cloves
- 1/2 tsp mace
- 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp cardamom pods
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ginger powder
- 1 1/3 C almond flour
- 2/3 C sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 3/4 C all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 C brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 Tbs speculaas spices
- 3/4 C unsalted butter room temperature
Assemble and Bake
- speculaas dough
- almond paste
- whole almonds without skins for decoration
- 1 large egg
- shallow baking pan 8x10 in, round with of diameter 10 inch (26 cm)
- Grind all the spices together and keep aside.
- Mix the almond flour and sugar and add in the egg. Combine until you get a thick mixture. Cover and keep in the fridge for up to two days.
- Mix the flour , baking powder, sugar, salt and spices in a bowl.
- Add in diced butter.
- Knead until smooth.
- Using your hands knead the dough until it comes together. Add in some milk, if the dough looks too dry.
- Form into tow balls and Wrap in clingfilm and put in the refrigerator for two hours
- Grease the pan.
- Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas 4
- Divide the dough into two portions.
- Roll out both portions on a lightly floured surface, until they are exactly as big as the baking pan
- Put one of the layers in the pan and press it lightly to fill the bottom.
- Lightly beat the egg with a teaspoon cold water.
- Brush 1/3rd of the egg over the dough in the pan.
- Roll out the almond paste between two sheets of clingfilm, until it is exactly as big as the pan, and put it on the dough in the pan. (If you chose to make the paste soft, you can smear the paste instead of rolling it.)
- Press the paste lightly down to fit in the pan, and brush half of the remaining egg over it.
- Now put the second layer of dough on top of the paste, press it lightly, and make as smooth as possible.
- Brush the last 1/3 of the egg over the dough.
- Decorate the pastry with the almonds.
- Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven. ( keep and eye on it)
- Let cool completely before cutting. It will be difficult to wait, but do it anyway.