Dutch almond filled spiced cake.
If there is one thing that defines the Holiday Season in the Netherlands, It’s the smell of Speculaas spices. It’s used in a variety of biscuits and cakes but the following recipe is one of my favourites and always goes down well with friends and family.
Start of by making the almond paste (called Amandel Spijs in Holland), preferable a week in advance but not strictly necessary.
- 200 gram Ground Almonds
- 200 gram Crystal or Bakers Sugar
- 1 Egg
- 2 teaspoons Almond extract
- Zest of half a lemon (optional)
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and make into a rough paste. Wrap in cling film and keep in cool place.
Next the Speculaas spice, which in Holland is available ready-made. Some of the Online Dutch shops sell it as well as “Speculaas Kruiden”. I prefer to make my own, which is not very hard to do. All are available ready ground. Aniseed can be hard to find, so can be left out.
- 4 teaspoons Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon Cloves
- ½ teaspoon Cardamom
- ½ teaspoon White Pepper
- ½ teaspoon Coriander
- ½ teaspoon Ginger powder
- ½ teaspoon Aniseed
Combine all spices and use in recipe as directed. Be careful with the Cloves, as they have a very strong taste and can quickly overpower the spice mixture. The above amounts are adequate for this recipe, you can make more for later use to keep in an airtight jar.
Now for the dough, again very quick and simple.Speculaas dough:
- 300 gram plain flour
- 150 gram (unsalted) butter
- 150 gram soft brown sugar
- Approx. 2 tablespoons Speculaas spice
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons milk
Combine all the above ingredients into a smooth soft dough. Divide into 2 and roll out in to 2 squares about ¾ of a centimetre thick. Place the first square on a lightly greased baking tray and spread the almond paste over it, keeping about a centimetre free on all sides. Brush some beaten egg on the sides and place the second square on top, sealing in the sides.Decorate the top with half almond and brush the remaining beaten egg on top.
Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F and bake for 20- 30 minutes.
Divide into bite size pieces and enjoy.