I’m a Daring Baker!

I’m so excited to tell you that I’ve had so much fun with The Cake Slice Bakers that I’ve joined another baking group, The Daring Kitchen, as a Daring Baker (naturally)!  My Daring Baker challenges will be revealed the 27th of each month.

In the Daring Kitchen, a host is chosen each month to present the challenge recipe! Members from all around the world. I think some of these recipes are really going to be a challenge and I’m looking forward to it!

Without further ado, 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!

First things first, I have never heard of Gevulde Speculaas, let alone have a clue how to pronounce it. I found some help:

http://www.forvo.com/word/speculaas/#nl

http://www.forvo.com/word/gevulde_speculaas/#nl

Okay, then I had to find a connection to what I was going to make… Windmill Cookies! Spicy windmill cookies are Speculaas. 🙂 Gevulde means filled. With this knowledge, I got more and more excited!

PART ONE:

Make Speculaas Spices

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

Optional:
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.

You don’t have to use all of the spices listed above… but, I did! The smell is divine and I couldn’t wait to use this mix… my excitement builds!

PART TWO:

Make speculaas dough.

Ingredients:
1¾ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
a pinch salt
2 tablespoons speculaas spices
3/4 cup  unsalted butter

Directions:
Put flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and spices in a bowl.
Cut the butter in dices and add.
Knead until smooth.
Feel free to add a little milk if the dough is too dry.
Wrap in plastic wrap 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. *I let mine chill in the fridge for a week.*

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PART THREE:

Make almond paste.

Ingredients:
7/8 cup (4½ oz) blanched almonds (or 1-1/3 cups ground almonds)
5/8 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Grind the almonds for one or two minutes in a food processor, until you see nothing but very small pieces. (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. The paste can also be kept in the freezer.

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PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Ingredients:
speculaas dough
almond paste
whole blanched almonds  for decoration
1 large egg

shallow baking pan, 8×10 inch (20×26 cm) or, round with of diameter 10 inch (26 cm)

Directions:
1. Grease the pan.
2. Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F
3. Divide the dough into two portions.
4. Roll out both portions on a lightly floured surface, until they are exactly as big as the baking pan. 5. Put one of the layers in the pan and press it lightly to fill the bottom.
6. Lightly beat the egg with a teaspoon cold water.
7. Smear 1/3 of the egg over the dough in the pan.
8. Roll out the almond paste between two sheets of plastic wrap, 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.)
9. Press the paste lightly down to fit in the pan, and smear the next 1/3 of the egg over it.
10. Now put the second layer of dough on top of the paste, press it lightly, and make as smooth as possible.
11. Smear the last 1/3 of the egg over the dough.
12. Decorate the pastry with the almonds. 13. Bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven.
14. Let cool completely in the pan, then cut it in portions as you like.

As you will see, I thought it would be cute to make my Gevulde Speculaas in mini tart pans. Little did I know, until I posted my finished product on our secret forum that what I made, is “gevulde speculaas” that looks like “gevulde koek”.

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Although there are several steps, these are not all that difficult to make and THEY. ARE. DELICIOUS! The smell while they’re baking is wooooow!

Take some time to see what other Daring Bakers has to say. There were some really beautiful, creative gevulde speculaas made in our group. I’m honored to be a Daring Baker! http://thedaringkitchen.com/blogroll/bakers

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10 thoughts on “I’m a Daring Baker!

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