Gevulde Speculaas

From Yotam Ottolenghi (actually from Hennie Franssen, who translates his books into Dutch). This looks SO like the original recipe I’d lost, the basis for my “Chinese whispers” version.


  • For the spice mix
    • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tsp ground aniseed
    • ¾ tsp ground white pepper
    • ¾ tsp ground ginger
    • ½ tsp ground coriander
    • 1 tsp ground cardamom
    • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
    • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • For the dough
    • 5oz/120g unsalted butter, softened
    • 4oz/100g soft golden sugar
    • 1 egg (or 1-2 tbsp milk)
    • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
    • 6oz/180g plain flour, plus extra to dust
    • Pinch of salt
  • For the marzipan
    • 8oz/200g blanched and peeled almonds
    • 5oz/150g caster sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 2 tsp lemon juice
    • Grated zest of 1 lemon
    • 2oz/60g mixed candied peel (optional – I wouldn’t)
  • To decorate
    • Halved blanched almonds
    • 1 lightly beaten egg


  • Grind/mix the spices and set aside.
  • For the dough, put 100g of the butter in a large bowl with the sugar and a tablespoon of milk. Cream until smooth.
  • Add the bicarbonate, four teaspoons of the spice mix, the flour, and the salt. Mix to a firm, elastic dough, adding more milk only if needed. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate.
  • For the marzipan, put the nuts in a food processor and blitz for a minute: you don’t want them completely smooth. Add the sugar, egg and lemon juice, and blitz again, until slightly smoother but still grainy. Add the lemon zest and candied peel and blitz once or twice, just to mix through. The paste should be sticky and softer than the dough, but still hold its shape.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 170C/335F/Gas Mark 3.
  • Roll out the dough on a floured work surface to a rectangle, about 20x40cm, and about ¼ inch/0.5cm thick. You will need to keep dusting with flour to prevent it from sticking. Transfer it to a lined baking tray.

  • Melt the remaining 20g of butter and brush two-thirds of it over the dough.
  • Lay a 2 inch/6cm “sausage” of mazipan lengthways down the centre of the dough from top to bottom, and brush with the remaining butter.
  • Lift the left-hand side of the dough over the paste, then bring in the right-hand side, so that the two slightly overlap. Press gently to secure.
  • Carefully turn it over so the seal is at the bottom.
  • Brush evenly with the beaten egg, arrange the whole almonds on top and brush again with egg.
    • Or … similarly, but make two narrower “sausages”.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the dough begins to colour and the almonds are golden. The roll will flatten – no worries! But you do NOT want it to burst, and leak marzipan; really messy to clean.
  • Leave to cool for 15 minutes, and slice.

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