Sunday, January 27, 2013

Gevulde Speculaas

It's Daring Bakers' reveal day!

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!

The only speculaas I ever had is a crisp, buttery cookie made with spices including cinnamon, cloves, mace and ginger, pepper, cardamom, coriander, anise seeds and nutmeg and shaped like a windmill. We were challenged by Francijn to make a stuffed speculaas, which is more like a pastry than a cookie, including the spice mix, the dough and the almond paste.

I hurried to make this before going back to work in early January, and luck was on my side, as I had all the ingredients needed.

As Francijn told us that the different components get more flavorful as they sit before they get assembled, I made them two days before baking the pastry.

For the spice mixture, I used cinnamon, cloves, ginger, white pepper, cardamom and nutmeg, basically, the spices I had on hand. I know that mace is a must, but I couldn't find it in stores.

The dough quickly comes together, basically blending room temperature butter into flour, sugar (I used dark brown sugar), baking powder, salt and the spice mixture. It seemed pretty dry to me, but I formed it into a cylinder using plastic wrap to keep everything together.

The almond paste is quickly made in the food processor. I used almond meal, an egg, sugar and lemon zest, and let that sit for a couple of days. 

I used a 8-3/4 inch springform pan to bake my pastry in, using the removable bottom to cut out two rounds of dough that I had flattened with a rolling pin. 

Our host instructed to roll out the almond paste before layering it between two layers of dough, but mine was soft enough to be spread on top of the dough. The three layers were held together with some beaten egg, that I didn't beat enough, as I could see little bits of cooked egg between my layers.

With my dough scraps, I quickly cut out a small windmill to decorate the top of my pastry, brushed it with more beaten egg, and baked the whole thing for 40 minutes.

I also made some royal icing decorations to pretty it up some. At first, I was only going to use the windmill blades on the cake, to hint at the Dutch origin of the pastry, but the result was not quite what I had in mind. I had some icing leftover, so quickly piped a windmill, not really planning on using it. But when I looked at my work table a little while after, one of my daughters had put the blades on top of the windmill, and together, it looked pretty good! 

The resulting pastry is a lot more like cake like than I would have imagined, and quite delicious. The texture is very addicting, and the spices give a wonderful flavor. It smelled amazing while baking, and I couldn't wait to cut into it while I was taking pictures.

Gevulde Speculaas
Slightly adapted from a Dutch traditional recipe provided by Francijn

Spice mix
1 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon white pepper 
½ teaspoon cardamom 
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 ½ tsp cinnamon

Combine all spices together and store in an airtight container.

Almond paste
1-1/3 cups (320 ml)(125 gm) (4½ oz) ground almonds
5/8 cup (150 ml) (125 grams) (4½ oz) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) lemon zest

Add the ground almonds and the sugar to the bowl of a food processor, and grind for one or two minutes. It must be very fine. Add the egg and lemon zest and let the food processor combine it until a paste forms.

Store the almond paste in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Although the flavor gets better as days pass by, it is not wise to store the paste for too long, as it contains a raw egg. For the same reason you should not eat the paste unbaked.

Speculaas Dough
1¾ cups (250 gm) (9 oz) all purpose (plain) flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) baking powder
¾ cup (150 grams) (5-1/3 oz) brown sugar, firmly packed
a pinch salt
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) speculaas spices
3/4 cup (1½ stick) (175 gm) (6 oz) unsalted butter

Put flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and spices in a bowl.
Dice the butter and add to the dry ingredients.
Mix until smooth.
Feel free to add a little milk if the dough is too dry.
Wrap in clingfoil and put in the refrigerator for two hours.

You can choose to make the dough a few days in advance, just like the almond paste, that will benefit the flavor.

Assembling and baking the Gevulde Speculaas

1 recipe speculaas dough
1 recipe almond paste
1 large egg

Grease a 9 inch springform 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.
Smear 1/3 of the egg over the dough in the pan.
Roll out the almond paste between two sheets of clingfoil, until it is exactly as big as the pan, and put it on the dough in the pan.
Press the paste lightly down to fit in the pan, and smear the next 1/3 of the egg over it.
Now put the second layer of dough on top of the paste, press it lightly, and make as smooth as possible.
Smear the last 1/3 of the egg over the dough.
Bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven.
Let cool completely in the pan, then cut it in portions as you like.
If you wrap the stuffed speculaas in clingfoil, after it has cooled completely, you can store it a few days at room temperature. Freezing is possible, but fresh speculaas tastes better.

For the complete challenge and to see how the rest of the Daring Bakers liked this recipe, please visit The Daring Kitchen.


  1. This looks amazing!! I have never heard of this before. I too have only had the cookies. I can imagine with that mix of spices how good it must smell and taste. Great job!

  2. The most "dutch" looking speculaas around ;) it looks delicious!

  3. The icing windmill is a very fun idea - it all came together really well!

  4. Windmill decioration is beautiful, great job on the challenge!

  5. cute idea with the piped windmill!

  6. Oh my gosh, that windmill looks so perfect, and how very Dutch! So perfect! Wonderful job on the challenge.

  7. Amazing work!! I still have to stare at your beautiful windmill, gorgeous!

  8. This. Is. Incredible. Man, I gotta up my Daring Baker's game!

  9. Wow, you are truly an artist! That windmill is incredible.

  10. Beautiful! I love your dough windmill and your icing one. Nice job on the challenge!

  11. You truly have a gift! This is just gorgeous.

  12. Loved this! beautiful Job on the challenge.


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