Gevulde Speculaas/Dutch Spice Pastry

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I love spices; and I have a collection of spices much more than my mom ever had. May be because of I am from the spice land of world. I cook with spices every day; it will be my tea, breakfast and even dinner. After coming here I got introduced to Cajun spices, I love that blend too. So how can a spice lover can sit quiet when daring baker challenge is to make Gevulde speculaas/Dutch spice pastry? This month challenge was hosted by Francijn from Koken in de Brouwerij . Even after several no from my hubby, I made this delicious dessert.
My connection with Netherlands is that I traveled with KLM and done transits at Amsterdam. I want to visit Amsterdam once; but I don’t know when that day will come.

I made speculaas spices with fresh ingredients and used all the spices listed in the ingredients as I have them in hand. While baking, the kitchen smells great.
If you wonder, how Dutch/Netherlands got introduced to spices of the world, then you need to learn little bit history. The Dutch were great sea travelers, as everybody else came to India for trade. Dutch is the second one to come to India, after Portuguese. They were looking to start trade of textile in return for spices from India. Once they establish the trade, they did understand the mentality of people, how they can make the various group fight each other to become rich in an easy way. They utilize that method to conquer India. Dutch presence lasted from 1605 to 1825. They were defeated by Marthandavarma Maharaja at battle of Colachel at 1741, and after that their influence started to fade. Read more from here

Gevulde speculaas means stuffed speculass, and stuffing is usually done with almond and egg paste. The bottom and top part of pastry is made with flour, butter, baking powder, brown sugar and spices. Speculaas spices / Speculaaskruiden includecinnamon, cloves, mace and ginger, and also these spices to taste: pepper, cardamom, coriander, anise seeds and nutmeg. Ratio in which speculass spices is like this Cinnamon is 40 to 60 % of the total amount, ground cloves 1 or 2 parts, mace ½ or 1 part, ginger ½ or 1 part . If you can find following spices then you should add along the rest of spices and its ratio should be white pepper ½ or 1 part, cardamom ½ or 1 part, coriander ½ or 1 part, anise ½ or 1 part and nutmeg 1 or 2 parts of total spices.

I made this pastry with whole white wheat flour and also reduced the amount of sugar and butter as much as possible. However, with spices I didn’t want to compromise so I used entire list of spices, freshly grind using my coffee grinder. I made my own almond meal too. I used 16 almonds for decoration on the top. They are delicious and rich. I have some scrap left, and made them into a cookie with it. It is really tasty. Adding whole wheat flour doesn’t affect the taste. It is really good with tea. It is in between a cake and pastry.
If you are spice fan like me try this, it is easy to put together and delicious. These spice mix is really good, may be in future I may try it in cake or muffin.
Here comes the recipe.
Grab your ingredients, and first blanch the almond and makes speculaas spices.

Then makes almond egg paste with egg, lemon zest and ground almonds and speculaas dough.

Almond Paste

Speculaas Dough

Once you made speculaas dough refrigerates it and after chilling, spread it into rectangle and press it into loaf tin. Spread almond egg paste and then cover with rest of speculass dough.

Assembling and baking the Gevulde Speculaas

Then do egg wash and decorate with almonds Bake it at preheated oven at 350F for about 45 minutes. Cut it into pieces and enjoy with your tea or coffee.

Print recipe from here
Gevulde speculaas
Adapted from Dutch Table and Here
Preparation times:
Making the almond paste: 10-20 minutes
Making the speculaas dough: 10-20 minutes
Waiting: 2 hours Assembling: 30 minutes
Baking: 40 minutes.
Cooling: a few hours.
Yield: 8 pieces
Speculaas Spices
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
A convenient way to mix the spices is 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.
Almond Paste
1 cup Raw almond
3 tablespoon Sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) lemon zest
If the raw almonds still have their brown skins, remove them as follows. Bring water to a boil, add the almonds, cook them for one minute, drain immediately and let cool for a few minutes. Rub them between your fingers to remove the skins.
Grind the almonds for one or two minutes in a food processor, until you see nothing but very small pieces.
(Or skip this step if you use ground almonds.)
Add the sugar, and grind for another one or two minutes. It must be very fine after this step.
Add the egg and let the food processor combine it – if it is powerful enough. Otherwise you will have to combine it with your fingers.
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
1 cup (150g) Whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) baking powder
⅓ cup + 2 tablespoon brown sugar
a pinch salt
1 tablespoons (30 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) speculaas spices
5 tablespoon of butter
3 tablespoon water
Put flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and spices in a bowl.
Cut the butter in pieces and add.
Knead until smooth.
Feel free to add a little milk if the dough is too dry.
Wrap in cling film 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. Freezing is no problem.
Assembling and baking the Gevulde Speculaas
speculaas dough
almond paste
16 whole almonds without skins for decoration
1 large egg
9x 5 loaf tin.
1. Grease the pan.
2. Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas 4
3. Divide the dough into two portions. One is slightly bigger than other one.
4. 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.
6. Lightly beat the egg with teaspoon cold water.
7. Roll out the almond paste between two sheets of cling film, 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.)
8. Press the paste lightly down to fit in the pan
9. Now put the second layer of dough on top of the paste, press it lightly, and make as smooth as possible.
10. Brush the top with egg wash.
11. Decorate the pastry with the almonds.
12. Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven.
13. Let cool completely in the pan, then cut it in portions as you like.

I am linking this delicious treat to Hearth and Soul Blog Hop Hosted here.

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  1. says

    I did transits in Amsterdam and thats about it. Hoping I can stop by soon here. I too have plenty of spices but will stick to using them for my savoury dishes. You are great with baking and the spices were great, added into this pastry.

  2. says

    Beautiful! I love the way you have decorated each slice with an almond flower :) I love using spices in everything I cook too… and cinnamon is my favorite! So Im sure this tastes fantastic…

  3. says

    U rock swathi…I admire the way u take baking challenges..that’s one quality I don’t have..I will attempt things only if I am really confident about the outcomes ! Loved ur history write up..I never liked history so don’t remember all those things but ur write up made me realise that I hated history because we were not connecting with what they tought that I love spices too the history behind it is interesting too :)

  4. says

    I like the way how you arrange the almond on the pastry… They look so pretty like flowers. Is this the way that the pastry is traditionally decorated?

  5. says

    Swathi,Thanx for dropping by dear and I will be happy if u let me know the month too dear,Is may okay to you? Thai cuisine is good dear:)

  6. says

    Omg, wat a beautiful pastry,beautiful presentation,seriously loved the way you arranged those almonds,elegant and very neat.

  7. says

    Being from Louisiana, my food has to have spice. I have discovered the amazing flavors of the spices of India and have fallen in love. This cake is beautiful and I know it must taste amazing.

  8. says

    BEautifully done, my friend!!! I love the almond design you made…so lovely. It’s dishes like this that make me want to rejoin the Daring Bakers…there’s just not enough time to do it all, though…

  9. says

    Much of my Mom’s family lives in Holland and speculaas is a common after dinner treat whenever I visit (although they usually buy from a local bakery)

  10. says

    Spices are not only delicious, but also healing and good for you, so it is good you use them throughout the day and you grind them for the freshest taste possible. Your pastry dessert is so pretty with the almonds on top like that — I would enjoy some with my coffee right now if I could. :)

  11. says

    Reading your post at 11 Am in the morning, even after my breakfast I feel hungry. A delicious post Swathi…

    I think I should be eating something now. You are going to spoil the kids like me with these recipes ;)