Sunday, January 27, 2013

Daring Bakers' Challenge: 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!

Speculaas is a type of dutch spiced shortbread cookie, traditionally served during the Christmas holidays.  I first heard of it when I received a sample jar of a creamy spread made from the cookies that you would swear was a cinnamon spiced peanut butter, but it actually contains no nuts. It's ridiculously delicious.  This pastry is made from two layers of speculaas dough with a layer of almond paste in between.

You start by combining the Speculaas spices.  It's a combination of cinnamon, cloves, mace and ginger, with the optional addition of coriander, nutmeg, cardamon, anise and white pepper.  Everyone's recipe is slightly different, you can use more of your favorites and leave out those you don't like.  There is one rule, you need to measure or weigh all of the difference spices and then add an equal amount of cinnamon.

I used cinnamon, equal parts cloves and nutmeg, half the amount of ginger, mace, and coriander.  The Dutch word for this spice combination is Speculaaskruiden.  Combine all of the spices in a jar and shake.

The second part of the recipe requires that you make almond paste.  I used almond meal, because I had it on hand, and it's a lot of work boil raw almonds to remove the skins.  I replaced the egg in the recipe with Bob's Red Mill egg substitute.  The almond paste can be made a day ahead, especially since there are no raw eggs in my recipe.

The third step is to make the dough.  This is a combination of flour, brown sugar, baking powder, spices, butter and a little rice milk.   I left out the salt since I used Earth Balance butter substitute and it's salty. 

 The dough needs to rest in refrigeration for 2 hours after it's made.

The next step is to cut the dough in half and roll out both pieces to the exact shape of an 8x10 inch pan.

One piece is set in the pan and brushed with 1/3 of an egg.  Again, I used Bob's Red Mill egg substitute.

The the almond paste is rolled out between two pieces of plastic wrap to the same size and placed on top of the dough.

You brush 1/3 of the egg substitute on this layer as well.

The second piece of dough is placed on top of the almond paste and brushed with the final third of egg substitute.  Blanched whole almonds are used to decorate the top before it's baked.

You can see the almond paste layer in the finished bars.

The smell is of the finished pastry is amazing but you'll want to let it cool completely before you remove it from the pan and cut it into squares.  It will be difficult, but resist the temptation.

Gevulde Speculaas
Makes 20 squares - Use organic ingredients whenever possible

To Make the Spices:
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Put all of the spices into a jar and shake well.

To Make the Almond Paste:
1 1/3 cups almond meal
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon unbleached sugar
1 tablespoon Bob's egg substitute
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Whisk together the water and egg substitute.
In a food processor, pulse together the almond meal, sugar, and lemon zest to combine.
Add the egg substitute and process until it forms a ball.
Remove the almond paste from the processor and refrigerate until needed.

To Make the Dough:
1 3/4 cups all purpose unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons speculaas spices
3/4 cup Earth Balance butter substitute (1 1/2 sticks)
12 tablespoon rice milk or other non dairy milk

Put the flour, baking powder, sugar and spices in a bowl.
Whisk to combine
Cut the Earth Balance into small pieces.
Add them to the flour mixture and knead until smooth.
If it doesn't come together completely, add the rice milk.
Form the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for two hours.

To Assemble the Gevulde Speculaas:
Speculaas dough
Almond paste
1 tablespoon Bob's egg substitute
3 tablespoons water
Whole blanched almonds for decoration

Preheat your oven to 350˚
Grease an 8" x 10" pan (or use a 10" round pan)
Divide the dough into two pieces.
Roll out both portions on parchment paper until they are exactly the size of the pan.
Put one piece in the pan and press lightly to fill the bottom.
Combine the egg substitute and water.
Brush 1/3 of the mixture on top of the dough.
Roll out the almond paste between two pieces of plastic wrap to the exact size of the pan.
Put the almond paste on top of the dough in the pan.
Brush the almond paste with 1/3 of the egg substitute.
Place the second piece of dough on top of the almond paste.
Press lightly to cover the paste.
Brush the last 1/3 of the egg substitute on the dough.
Decorate the top with the blanched whole almonds.
Bake for 40 minutes.
Let cool completely in the pan before removing to cut.


  1. I'm pleased you could adapt the recipe to make it eggless - love your blog, the photos are great - cheers from Auckland New Zealand

  2. This looks fantastic - great job making it egg and dairy free. Mine was dairy free, but still had egg in, although having seen your success, it's been mentally added to my list of baking possibilities for friends with allergies!

  3. I love love love gevulde speculaas. Its something I grew up with and I have made it several times. I've used the recipe from The Dutch Table (google it it will come up), and its really good too. I'll have to try this recipe when I have the time. It isn't necessary to remove the skins from the almonds. It is just more work and it doesn't affect the taste at all (I'm a Dutch baker's daughter and have been making almond paste all my life). Thanks so much for all the wonderful ideas and recipes. I love your blog.