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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The speculaas cheesecake category is crowned with an apple butter, speculaas and vanilla cheesecake recipe from Emma Carlton: a UK Award Winning British Pastry Chef and development chef consultant .
Emma's passion for baking started at the early age of four when she joined her mum in the kitchen, using scraps of pastry left over from the family meal's to make - usually - jam tarts. A lifelong appreciation for simple, yet quality ingredients such as butter, cream, the humble egg, spices & vanilla and always finding an excuse to smell or taste, the excitement continues to inspire her to this very day.
Years later after catering college and winning the Salon Culinaire Student of the Year North East. Emma began employment at a regional hotel and once again found her passion: pastry. Emma’s first chef position was within the kitchens at the five-star Gosforth Park Hotel, Newcastle. Her culinary journey then took a new direction to the beautiful island of Jersey in the Channel Islands which became her home for over 20 years. Such enthusiasm for excellent produce led Emma to further develop her own company and passion for patisserie.
Emma's Sticky Toffee Pudding, achieved a Great Taste Food Award of 3 Gold Stars in the UK of 2010 with The Guild of Fine Food. Her desserts and awarding winning puddings have travelled the world; the use of cinnamon and other spices invariably creating depth of essential flavour and a pleasurable familiarity.
Emma's Dutch adventure
The Netherlands are a very special place for Emma. In her youth she would travel to the country as an eager child in anticipation of tasting new things.
In 2014 Emma was fortunate to re-acquaint herself to The Netherlands, living and working near The Hague, as a freelance ambassador for some of UK's artisan ingredients and food manufacturers. During her stay she enjoyed many culinary experiences and the sweet kindness of the Dutch people.
Having discovered the wonders of “speculaas” during her stay in The Netherlands and its important history and origins, it felt only right to bring the flavoursome experiences together once Emma returned to the United KIngdom.
Emma's discovery of the recent introduction of the vandotsch speculaas spice in the United Kingdom was timely, as she needed an authentic speculaas spice blend that was reliable for her new patisserie book - anticipated publication due Spring 2016 (check out Sweetinspire for regular book updates) .
Emma's speculaas cheesecake with applebutter and vanilla
For Emma sourcing the right ingredients makes all the difference for perfecting recipes and ensures readers are able to create something both wonderfully original and enjoyable. The Dutch have “Appelstroop”; the English offering is apple butter which is available from good health food shops.
In her opinion the best cheesecakes are the baked variety; this recipe embraces
the aromatics and warmth of this very special spice blend. The richness and tang of fresh cream cheese, finished with a sweet and sour apple butter is a delightful combination.
How to make Emma's luscious apple butter, speculaas & vanilla cheesecake
Makes approximately 8-10 slices
Ingredients for the Speculaas Biscuit Base
- 250gm Plain Flour
- 5gm Fine Sea Salt
- 150gm Soft Light Brown Sugar
- 5gm Baking Powder
- 5ml Vanilla Extract
- 175gm Unsalted Butter
Ingredients for the Cheesecake Mixture
- 540gm Full Fat Philadelphia Cream Cheese
- 150gm Caster Sugar
- 10ml Vanilla Extract (good quality)
- 4 Medium Eggs (Beaten)
- 30gm Apple Butter or Dutch Appelstroop
- 18cm Round Spring-form Baking Tin
- Baking Paper
- Food Processor
- Large Mixing bowl
- Small amount of flavourless cooking oil
- Ceramic baking beans
Oven 180c (170 fan) or 350F
Gas Mark 4
- Using a food processor, place all of the biscuit ingredients into the bowl and pulse for several minutes until a dough starts to form. Immediately stop and remove the mixture onto a lightly floured surface, gently knead together to form a ball. Wrap in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge. Alternatively rub all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl with your fingertips.
: The longer you can rest the speculaas dough the better, overnight is ideal however a few hours will be ok. Once rested remove from the fridge.
- Pre-heat your oven and brush your spring-form tin with flavourless oil such as groundnut or sunflower. Next line the spring form tin with baking paper, on the bottom of the tin and sides.
- Take half of the speculaas dough, the other half can be used for use in one of the other recipes at Speculaas.co.uk
- Roll out the dough to fit the diameter of the tin’s base and place it flat inside. Press the dough evenly into the lined tin, take a larger circle of baking paper and place on top. Carefully and evenly place the ceramic beans on top of the paper.
- Bake the biscuit base for 15 minutes and then remove from the oven. Carefully lift the baking paper and ceramic beans out of the tin, place the biscuit back in the oven for a further 10 minutes. The base should be completely dry when removed from the oven to cool.
- In a clean bowl add the cream cheese, eggs, sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk all together until everything is evenly blended.
- Gently pour the mixture into the biscuit lined tin, give a slight tap on your work surface to settle the mixture.
- Take the apple butter or appelstroop and stir well if it is thick and place into a piping bag or using a teaspoon, place little dollops of the butter onto the cheesecake.
: It works better with a piping bag and you can push the nozzle into the cheese mixture, till it bursts out of the top of the cheesecake. Using a cocktail stick, use your artistic flair to create swirls of butter into the cheesecake.
- Place in a pre-heated oven, bake at 180c (170c fan) for 50 minutes. The cheesecake should have a very slight wobble, remove it from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Ideally chill the cheesecake overnight and remove from the fridge half an hour before serving. Release from the baking tin and place onto a serving plate.
Adding caramelised apples
Emma likes to serve this delicious cheesecake with warm caramelised apples. Peel three eating apples, cut into even sized pieces and cook in a pan with a little butter. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon and add two pinches of the vandotsch spice blend, cook for a further minute and set aside to cool a little.
How to make Emma Carlton speculaas cheesecake
"This family heritage spice will win your heart and I’m grateful that after searching within the UK, this unique mix is available for all."
"The taste of this cheesecake is reminiscent of childhood and one simply describes this recipe as “Christmas in a cheesecake”.
However this is so delicious, it can be enjoyed any time of the year."
"This recipe was created one afternoon - my Dutch kitchen was full of delightful sweet aromas."
Copyright ©Emma Carlton 2015
"I guarantee that with a little effort and the right spice touch, eating my apple speculaas spice cheesecake will be highly memorable".
Emma Carlton - Great Taste Food Award winner of 3 Gold Stars 2010