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 recipes you can make using vandotsch speculaas spice mix.
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This is Brendan's second appreance with another stunning recipe: speculaas Christmas pudding.
I refer to our write-up on Brendan Lynch, here, but to summarise: Brendan came to prominence in late 2012 when he became finalist and runner-up during the third series of The Great British Bake Off.
Since the Bake-Off, Brendan has been busy with a range of projects. In addition to giving talks, doing demonstrations and judging baking competitions throughout the UK and Ireland, Brendan also contributes recipes to magazines and his own website at Brendan Bakes.
Appearing on the Bake-Off also helped Brendan achieve a particular ambition – to encourage residents of retirement and care homes to bake more and to use smells in Reminiscence Therapy/Work with elderly dementia sufferers.
Brendan is a strong believer in the therapeutic benefits of baking for older people, as his appearance at Scarlet House Care Home in Stroud shows when he created a speculaas Christmas pudding for the residents as reported in the Gloucester Citizen
Former contestant on the Great British Beak Off, Brendan Lynch drops into Scarlet
House Care Home in Stroud to help with their Stir Up Sunday cooking activities
With residents May Hayes and Graham Furley- Pics Kevin Fern Photography
Brendan’s speculaas Christmas pudding
According to Brendan "This pudding is easy to make but takes a long time to cook, so plan your day with other tasks and stay close to the kitchen to keep an eye on the water level that will need topping up with boiling water. Try to make it at least 2 months ahead to allow maturation".
- 200g raisins
- 150g currents
- 100g chopped prunes
- 75g chopped mixed peel*
- 75g glacé cherries, rinsed, dried and finely chopped
- 1 large cooking apple
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 140g beef or vegetarian suet
- 140g plain flour
- 140g dark soft brown sugar
- 75g fresh breadcrumbs
- 100g flaked almonds
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 4 tbls dark ale of stout e.g. Guinness
- 4 tbls orange juice
- Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
- 3 tbls of lemon juice
- 2 tbls brandy
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 1 ½ tsp vandotsch speculaas spice
-1/2 tsp ground mace
-1 tsp baking powder
Tip*: if you would like to make your own peels, the recipe is on Brendan's website – brendanbakes.co.uk. Well worth the time. It takes about 45 minutes and they keep for up to 6 months in the fridge. The difference in flavour is outstanding.
Preparation time 45 minutes
Cooking time 4-5 hours
1 litre pudding basin needed
Large saucepan with a trivet in bottom
- In a large Pyrex or thick plastic bowl butter the pudding basin in order to prevent the pudding from sticking when you turn the pudding out
- Combine all the above ingredients, mixing thoroughly and transfer mixture to the prepared basin and pack in.
- Cover the pudding with a disc of baking paper and a double thickness of foil. Secure the foil tightly with either string or a heavy-duty rubber band.
- Place the basin on the trivet in the saucepan. Pour in enough boiling water to come half way up the basin. Bring the water back to the boil and simmer over a low to medium heat for about 4-5 hours. Check the water level frequently and add more boiling water to keep the half way level on the basin.
- Remove the basin from the saucepan. Take off the foil and paper disc. Check with a skewer that the pudding is cooked. It should come out clean. (If not, replace the paper and foil and boil for another half hour). Cover again with a fresh paper disc and clean foil and tie with a string as before.
- Leave the pudding to cool. Once cool, store in a cool, dry cupboard or in the fridge until Christmas.
- Once a month, remove the covering and pour 1 soup spoon of brandy over it. Recover and replace in cupboard or fridge.
- To reheat, repeat the boiling process as above, and cook for 1 ½ hours on a low to medium heat.
- To serve, turn the pudding out of the basin, and decorate with a sprig of holly. If liked, pour a good tablespoon of warmed brandy over it and light with a match. (cold brandy does not ignite very well).
- Serve with vanilla custard or brandy butter.
How to make 2012 Great British Bake Off finalist Brendan Lynch's speculaas Christmas pudding
“For many years I have prepared and made up various spice mixes for different bakes. Flavouring a cake is key to its success and will raise the finished bake to a higher level.
I am happy to recommend the vandotsch speculaas spice mix for a wide range of cakes, including my Christmas pudding."
Brendan at the Great British
Bake Off - 2012