|SPICY DUTCH PASTRY: GEVULDE SPECULAAS|
Francijn was right – the Gevulde Speculaas was indeed delicious, and fun to put together too. At first, it was daunting to see the number of different spices used in the mix – nine in all! – but when combined, every one of them was essential: cinnamon, cloves, mace, ginger, white pepper, cardamom, coriander, (star) anise, and nutmeg.
I had all the spices in my pantry as many of them are used in curries. While I am not a big fan of cloves, I did not omit them from the mix. After tasting the pastry, I was glad I didn't.
Most of the spices I stock are whole – the only ground ones I have are cinnamon, ginger, white pepper and nutmeg in ground form. I chose to use the whole ones and proceeded to toast them separately, then pound (with a mortar and pestle) each one into a powder, and finally to sift them! That was the most elaborate part of the challenge for me, but I was getting pure spices and didn't mind the extra work.
Here's the recipe in PDF. In it, Francijn writes about the history of Dutch spice trading and the background on this lovely pastry. Malaysia, or Malaya at the time, was of course part of the spice route, and there is a history of the Dutch in this country too.
I only strayed from Francijn's recipe in one respect, and that was to use almonds with their skin on for the decoration on top. I think they taste better after they get toasted in the oven. They are halved to offer some contrast in colour.
slideshow at the site), I was keen to try the beautiful patterns made with slivers of almonds, but I knew it would be too much to handle since I only made the gevulde speculaas last night. I started out with a simple arrangement, and then decided to just sprinkle on a whole lot of the halves. More crunch to enjoy!