Filled Speculaas (Gevulde Speculaas)

 
If you know me personally, or if you have been following me for a while, then you might know I enjoy autumn and winter a lot more than spring and summer. The latter two are synonomous to sticky sunscreened skin and sweaty nights while the colder months mean curling up with hot chocolate, playing in the snow and of course, a lot of baking. We Dutchies have Sinterklaas in november and december (I wrote about this holiday before in my pepernoten post), for which we have created many special baked treats. This filled speculaas is one of those special treats!
 

So when the first storm warnings (apparently, there is one coming up tomorrow) are coming in, I am heating up my oven faster than you can say BAKE! And since speculaas (or speculoos) bakes are hot and happening all over the world right now (I found a couple in my international baking magazines and in blogs which I follow) I thought I might as well share the recipe for this lovely, spiced “koek”. It isn’t too difficult!

 
Filled speculaas is soft speculaas dough, layered with almond paste. I make my own, but you can use storebought if necessary. You don’t want to eat a piece which is too large, as it is quite “heavy”. But a bit of heaviness is nice when you’ve cycled through the traditional seasonal pouring rain. And let’s be honest, you’ve already burnt the calories by then 😉
 
Do you enjoy the colder months as much as I do? And what do you enjoy to bake when the temperatures drop?

Filled Speculaas (Gevulde Speculaas) Recipe

Tools: 20cm square baking tin, pastry brush

Ingredients:

Dough:

200     gr plain flour
150     gr dark brown sugar
150     gr cold butter, diced
pinch of salt
1        tablespoon speculaas spice blend
2        teaspoon baking powder

Filling:

250     gr almond paste
1/4     beaten egg (save the rest for the glaze)
1        teaspoon milk 

Topping:

16      almonds, blanched

1. To make the dough in a food processor: add all the dough ingredients to the food processor bowl and pulse with the blade attachment until you have a fine, sand-like texture. Transfer to a regular bowl and knead to a dough. If the dough is too dry and won’t come together, add a tablespoon of milk.

To make the dough without a food processor: add all the dough ingredients except for the butter to a bowl and mix until everything is evenly dispersed. Add the cold butter, and using two knives, cut through the mixture until you have a sand-like texture. If necessary, add a tablespoon of milk.

Wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 1-2 hours. 

2. Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease the baking tin.

3. Divide the dough into two pieces, one about 300 grams, the other 200 grams. Rewrap the 200 gram piece in the film and leave in the fridge until you are going to use it. Roll the 300 gram piece out to a 25 cm square and place in the tin. You will have 2,5 cm edges, make sure they are all even. 

4. To make the filling, mix the ingredients until you have a spreadable mass. Pipe or spread the filling onto the dough. Fold the edges inwards onto the filling. Roll the remaining piece of dough out to a 20cm square and place in the tin. Carefully seal with your fingers.

5. Brush top with beaten egg, then decorate with almonds (you can be as creative as you want, I went with a simple single almond for each piece) – push them slightly into the dough.

6. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes.

7. Leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Once cool, cut into 16 pieces and serve. Enjoy!



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