Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
Kerry Beal

The Supreme eG Pastry and Baking Challenge (Round 11)

Recommended Posts

Well a bit of a delay with this next challenge, lots of the folks who hoped they might be available had too much on the go, so I decided to ask outside the list of volunteers and was fortunate enough to find Klary up for the challenge this week.

I had already figured out what I was going to challenge the volunteers I had approached, after doing a bit of research into their old posts, but Klary is involved in so many things it made it difficult to come up with just the right challenge.

I was very fortunate to have received a package of speculaas spices last week, they smell marvelous, warm cinnamon, hint of clove, but I really haven't figured out what to use them for yet, so I hope this challenge will give me an idea of their range.

So this week I challenge Chufi to make a dessert that evokes the spirit of Sinterklaas, uses speculaas spices and includes a seasonal fruit or vegetable . I'm at a bit of a loss not knowing what's in season in Holland right now.

Good luck, can't wait to hear your ideas and see your results.

Now for the obligatory review of the past challenges:

Round 1 (Kerry Beal challenges Ling in Vancouver BC)- Take pineapple upside down cake and bring it into this century

Round 2 (Ling Challenges Gfron1 in Silver City NM) - Make a dessert containing an animal ingredient or product other than lard or bacon

Round 3 (Gronf1 challenges Mette in Copenhagen Denmark)- Create a deconstructed beer dessert

Round 4 (Mette Challenges Shalmanese in Seattle WA) - Create a dessert tapas plate consisting of 7 items in 7 days, using local and seasonal flavours

Round 5 (Shalmanese challenges Chiantiglace in West Palm Beach FL) - create a dessert involving smoke that evokes Autumn

Round 6 (Chiantiglace challenges K8Memphis in Memphis, TN) - create a dessert using Southern Sweet Tea

Round 7 (K8Memphis challenges SweetSide in rural CT) - create a desset using 5 kernels of corn representing the 5 blessing of the Pilgrims

Round 8 (SweetSide challenges alanamoana in the Silicon Valley, CA) - take fruitcake out of the land of the misfits and show us the beauty that lies within

Round 9 ( Alanmoana challenges Dejaq in Nation’s Capital) - make a dessert using Champagne and at least three Citrus Fruits, along with Agar Agar.

Round 10 (Dejaq in Nation's Capital challenges Kerry Beal in Ontario, Canada) - make a dessert utilizing white, milk and dark chocolate, along with a tea of her choice and a fresh seasonal pear.


Edited by Smithy Adjusted title to show sequence (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool cool cool. Can't wait. I am thinking of homely, homey and comforting hermit cookies but I'm sure there are so many more better ideas out there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kerry,

I humbly accept this challenge :smile:

As most of you who follow some of my posts on eGullet may know, I am definitely NOT in the same baking category as the other challengees in this Baking Challenge! So I am honoured to be chosen, and I'll do my best to make this an interesting and inspiring week.

Speculaas is one of the great joys of December in the Netherlands. It's aroma is everywhere, wafting out of the the bakeries all over the city, and the flavor is just quintessential Dutch winter to me.

My biggest challenge will be to take this homey spice mix, team it up with other things, and turn it into an elegant plated dessert - which is not something I do every day! I already have several ideas in my head... can't wait to start playing with them!

I'll talk about the spice mix a bit more later, as I'd be interested what flavorcombinations other people might think of.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

are you kidding me? your recent meringue creations are amazing to look at and probably just as delicious to eat!

i saw the huge production of spekulaas you made recently, so at least you have one foot through the door of the challenge.

i have full confidence in your abilities and can't wait to see what you produce...good luck klary and get baking :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is very exciting, Chufi. I can't be any help on the technical side but I'm cheering you on from across the sea. :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, what are speculaas-spices? a spicemix used for Dutch pastries and cookies, closely associated with December and more specifically with the holiday Sinterklaas on December 5th.

These are the spices: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, aniseed, coriander, cardamom, in a ratio: cinnamon 3 : cloves 2: nutmeg 2: ginger 1/2: aniseed 1/2: coriander 1/2: cardamom 1/2. They are used for cookies and for a pastry filled with almond paste.

You can buy the spicemix ready made over here, but to make the end result of this challenge something that anybody anywhere can make, I'll be making my own (which I have done before).

One of my favorite icecreamshops in Amsterdam always has speculaasicecream in the winter. It's unbelievably delicious and I think I will steal their idea for this challenge! However, my icecreammaker broke a while ago, and as much as I love eGullet, I'm not going to replace it just for the Challenge. :raz: So I'm probably going to cheat and mix crumbled cookies into storebought icecream. Or something like that.

I would also really like to use the spices in an unusual way so not just make cookies or pastry with it. I think, once on eGullet, Abra made a speculaas-flavored creme brulee. That sounds delicious but I can't see it paired with the icecream though.

As for the seasonal fruit/vegetable: Pears are in season, but I don't want to use them because Kerry just did. Apples go well with the aromatic spicemix, but I may look for something more exciting. Maybe quinces.. ?

I'm obsessing about this already. What fun! :laugh:

What do other people think about when they read about the flavors in the spicemix?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Raisins, dried apricots, coffee would make good ingredients as well as sweet potatoes. You could make a killer sweet potato muffin or souffle like light casserole. I think those spices cry out to be mixed with apples.

Windmill cookies, deconstruct a windmill...hmmm...I don't know...just in the broadest brain storming type thoughts I think of baking four cookies in the shape of the windmill's sails, like the fan part of the windmill and put a dessert on each blade or in between each one.

Or

A cookie in the shape of a shoe with the ice cream in it, on it.

Or stick some skinny fan blades into the scoop of ice cream.

Don't mind me, I'm a cake decorator...

Hot chocolate or egg nog???? I'm not an egg nog addict! It just would so work with those spices! Mulled cider of course.

Spiced up apple butter on little bitty crisp southern style biscuits or plain scones with chantilly cream???

Oh geez I'm making myself hungry --gotta quit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Klary - I am cheering you on with all my might! I know you are up to it and I know I will get hungry when I see what you make. :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Raisins, dried apricots, coffee would make good ingredients as well as sweet potatoes. You could make a killer sweet potato muffin or souffle like light casserole. I think those spices cry out to be mixed with apples.

interesting suggestions. I never would have thought of coffee, but yes, I think that would work really well.

Just now I was thinking of cheesecake, on a speculaascookiebase.. coffeeflavored cheesecake?

Instead of eggnog, there is ofcourse the Dutch version of eggnog, advocaat...

Windmill cookies, deconstruct a windmill...hmmm...I don't know...just in the broadest brain storming type thoughts I think of baking four cookies in the shape of the windmill's sails, like the fan part of the windmill and put a dessert on each blade or in between each one.

:laugh: I love your broadest brainstorming type thoughts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I first read the list of spices, I wondered how they might work in a hot chocolate (a la Sherry Yard's Campton Place Hot Chocolate, which is in the style of ganache, served in a mug).

Maida Heatter, in her book of Great American Desserts, tells about a cookie made with melted vanilla ice cream. It takes the place of butter/cream, spices and eggs in the cookie recipe. Maybe the speculaas ice cream, melted, could take the place of the dairy in your favorite cookie recipe?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As for the seasonal fruit/vegetable: Pears are in season, but I don't want to use them because Kerry just did. Apples go well with the aromatic spicemix, but I may look for something more exciting. Maybe quinces.. ?

Fuyu persimmons?

Plums on almond pastry?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And here i am thinking of speculaas tea. Like a Chai tea. Sounds warming and homey, and could be paired with a ginger cookie or a vanilla-quince sandwich cookie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

edited to remove my stupidity...wait, I can't do that :laugh: ...

some of your ideas sound great klary. i like the idea of poaching the quinces in a plain poaching syrup flavored with some of the speculaas spices (whole spices). then you can use the quinces in a type of "upside down" cake

something with alcohol...

ice cream with speculaas crunchies inside...

lots of whipped cream...

man, it is just endless...


Edited by alanamoana (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An ice cream cookie sandwich or one of those really retro ice cream gateau with lots of layers: ice-cream, sponge, biscuit, meringue there always seemed to be a bit of everything and if you made it look like a dobos torte you could use sails of speculaas biscuits for the top. Some caramel roasted quince on the side. Lots of sugar!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know cinnamon marshmallows are good in hot chocolate, I imagine speculaas ones might be as well. I was also thinking of macarons, PH-style. Since they are made with lots of ground almonds the spices might be nice in them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you everybody for thinking with me and for your ideas. This is a lot of fun!

So, I've done a lot of thinking today. Every now and then I've sniffed my bag of speculaasspices to see if it would inspire me further. I'm telling you, good stuff :laugh:

I also made a little hot chocolate and flavored it with the spices. It was really good, but I don't think I'll be using chocolate. I'm thinking of not going the really dark and spicy way, but more the light and fragrant way. I keep thinking of something like trifle.. or meringue.. clouds of cream, subtly spiced..

The quinces keep coming back to me. Membrillo scares me though..

Macarons: there is a Dutch cookie, called bokkepootje (goatleg...) that I've been wanting to make for the Dutch Cooking thread. It's 2 long macaronlike cookies, sandwiched together with apricotjelly, both ends dipped in dark chocolate. It's very lightly flavored with cinnamon, so I could use the spices instead, and sandwich together with something quincey.

And I do think that a trifle, made with speculaas-flavored spongecake, lots of custard, amaretto liqueur and roasted quinces, would be very good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So, I've done a lot of thinking today. Every now and then I've sniffed my bag of speculaasspices to see if it would inspire me further. I'm telling you, good stuff  :laugh:

hey klary, i know you're in amsterdam and all, but let's go easy on sniffing the "spices" okay? :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Klary: stunning lasagna and a brand-new dessert all in the same week! This post is primarily here to express support and enthusiasm.

However, I'd like to pipe up about your fruit, too. I can't get those beautiful Dutch pears that turn pink out my mind. How does the flavor compare to quinces? The reason I ask is that I think both could be incorporated if there is some way to make sure the flavors remain distinct. If they look similar, it might be a nice surprise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I can't get those beautiful Dutch pears that turn pink out my mind.  How does the flavor compare to quinces?  The reason I ask is that I think both could be incorporated if there is some way to make sure the flavors remain distinct.  If they look similar, it might be a nice surprise.

Good idea! Those pears ('stoofperen' - braisingpears) look very similar to quinces when they are cooked for a couple of hours. Their texture is different, softer, and their flavor is less sweet. You are right that a combination could be intriguing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hey! this thread shouldn't drop to the second page! :smile:

here are the elements that will go into my dessert:

quinces

pears

speculaas-spices

almonds

clementines

white chocolate

cream

and ofcourse the usual suspects, butter, flour, sugar and eggs.

Does it sound good? I could be still open to last inute changes so... creative thoughts still welcome!


Edited by Chufi (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
hey! this thread shouldn't drop to the second page!  :smile:

here are the elements that will go into my dessert:

quinces

pears

speculaas-spices

almonds

clementines

white chocolate

cream

and ofcourse the usual suspects, butter, flour, sugar and eggs.

Does it sound good? I could be still open to last inute changes so... creative thoughts still welcome!

It's purely a matter of personal taste, but I'd be inclined to eliminate the white chocolate. While I've read with interest the recent comments about this ingredient in the thread devoted to Dorie Greenspan's new book, I have yet to get over my prejudice about the cloyingly sweet nature of this ingredient. The juice of the clementines would provide a nice counterbalance, though I wonder if the white chocolate would transform the tart edge of the citrus to a more sour taste.

BTW: Do you have red currants, loganberries or some other beady, red fruit to complement the two pinks?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The quinces keep coming back to me. Membrillo scares me though..

It's not because you don't like it, right?

Because I saw this recipe, and while I've not made it myself, it doesn't seem very difficult.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pontormo, I am sorry, but the white chocolate stays :smile: I am hoping to convince you with the final results!

That membrillo recipe does look easy. I might give that a try. After all, this is a challenge, right? :raz:

Still thinking about the part of the challenge that says that this dessert should evoke the spirit of Sinterklaas. The Sinterklaas fest is all about little (not necessarily expensive) gifts and surprises. I am wondering how to incorporate that into the dessert. I was thinking of wrapping something in puff pastry.. but how to make it look like an actual parcel/gift?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×