It is thought that the Dutch name Speculaas comes from the latin 'speculum' that means mirror.
Traditionally speculaas biscuits are the mirror image of the carved wooden moulds they are baked in.
Windmill shaped speculaas biscuits are known throughout the whole world, as are male or female speculaas figurines.
These days speculaas biscuits can take any shape or form. But you can do so much more with speculaas spice than just making biscuits.
Find out more about the delicious dishes you can make using vandotsch speculaas spice mix.
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With my last red apples now overdue for picking the time has come to make some vandotsch speculaas apple liqueur. It has always been a dream of mine to use my own produce to make liqueur.
Several years ago I planted two Redlove® Era apple trees in my garden. This year I have a sufficient number of apples to start making vandotsch speculaas spice infused apple liqueur.
What is a Redlove® Era apple?
The Redlove® Era apple has been bred in Switserland by fruit breeder Markus Kobelt, founder of Lubera. The Redlove® Era apple has been described as a red-fleshed dessert apple with a pleasant ratio of sweetness and sourness. Nearing the time of harvest, it has a pronounced tangy sourness which becomes increasingly sweeter as it ripens with a delicious berry aroma. I fully concur!
Last Christmas, I received a Kilner Sloe Gin gift set and it has been languishing in a cupboard in our kitchen even since, with Mrs Dotsch being very unhappy. But not any longer!
I am also grateful to Brendan Lynch, 2012 Great British Bake Off finalist, for his permission that I can use the basis of his candied orange peel recipe in my liqueur.
What follows is an overview of the ingredients I used to make vandotsch speculaas spice infused apple liqueur, including:
This makes four 0.25 litre sloe gin bottles
- 6 medium-sized sweet apples (I used 8 smallish Redlove Era apples plus a good sized Braeburn apple)
- 200g almond paste, as per the vandotsch speculaas spice infused almond paste recipe
- 75g raisins, currants, sultanas and mixed peel – ‘mixed fruit’
- 1 teaspoon of Littlepod natural vanilla paste
- 1 candied orange peel
- 3 teaspoons of vandotsch speculaas spice
- 1 cinnamon stick from Sri Lanka
- 150g brown sugar
- 1litre Vodka
A few days in advance:
- Prepare the almond paste a few days in advance, as per the instructions in the recipe.
- Prepare the dried orange peel a day in advance, here is Brendan's recipe - for extra 'spice' I have added 1 teaspoon of vandotsch speculaas spice during the last five minutes of simmering.
Lets start . . . "distilling"
- Rinse the 2l Kilner jar with boiling hot water and sterilise in the oven
- Make a pot of tea (I use a ginger infused teabag), pour out in a large bowl and add the mixed fruit. Leave to soak for 2 minutes. Drain and dry the mixed fruit with paper towels. Mix the almond paste with the mixed fruit (“the mixture”) and set aside.
- Wash the apples thoroughly and rub them dry. Use an apple corer to core the apples and stuff them with the mixture
- Pre-heat the oven 160 C (fan oven)
- Line a baking tray with baking parchment and bake the apples for 15 minutes
- Crush the whole cinnamon into little pieces
- Cut the apples in half and layer in the jar.
- Add the brown sugar, crushed cinnamon stick, dried orange peel, Littlepod natural vanilla paste and the vandotsch speculaas spice.
- Cover with the Vodka, ensuring that everything is fully covered in the jar, and close the clip top to fasten.
- Shake the jar well and store in a warm, dark place for three months.
- Shake often (preferably once a week). This allows all of the ingredients to agitate together and enriches the flavours.
- After three months pour the liqueur through a fine sieve, coffee filter or muslin cloth and decant into the 4 bottles
- Leave to mature for another four months before enjoying your homemade vandotsch speculaas apple liqueur.
Tip: the longer you leave it – the better it will taste!
Once all this is done, I am planning on making a sauce with the vandotsch speculaas apple liqueur to serve with warm vandotsch speculaas apple pie.
Nearer to summer, I also intend to put a small scoop of ice cream into a warm cup of vandotsch speculaas apple liqueur. Not sure yet which flavour ice cream. Perhaps just vanilla.
Remember this is very much a 'project-in-progres' rather than a well-tested recipe. So, I'll update every month on its progress.
How to make vandotsch speculaas apple liqueur
The Kilner Sloe Gin gift set contains:
- a 2 litre clip top glass jar
- four 0.25 litre sloe gin bottles
- a plastic funnel
- a cotton muslin cloth.
This is exactly what I need in order
to make my vandotsch speculaas liqueur.
This is going to be very much a
‘work-in-progress’ recipe as it will
take months before we can taste
the end result.