I have these old molds for Chinese mooncakes and yesterday I finally took up on my brilliant idea to use them to make “dutch mooncakes”. Okay, the only thing Chinese would have been the molds, but still, from the outside Chinese mooncakes always reminded me of our “gevulde speculaas”, brown spice cake-like cookie filled with almond paste.
But apparently there is a big difference in the consistency of the dough. That’s where my brilliant idea turn out to be not so brilliant, hihi. My beautifully shaped dutch mooncakes with lovely patterns on top turned into not so nicely shaped blobs. Still delicious though! So here’s the recipe. In the Netherlands we can buy ready-made almond paste and speculaas-spices, so it doesn’t have to be a project. But even when you make it from scratch, it’s not that difficult or time consuming as it looks.
1. Make almond paste a week in advance (or buy it ready-made)
2. Mix & grind the spices (or buy it already blended)
3. Make dough a day in advance (or at least half hour in advance)
4. Fill the baking tray, bake in oven.
It’s a great treat during our cold & dark winters.
100g blanched & peeled almonds (or ground almond)
2 T Amaretto (almond liqueur)
2 T fresh lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
Grind everything together in your kitchen blender to the right constancy. What that is is difficult to explain. Smooth, but still a little bit gritty, if it’s too fine it’s called marzipan.
15 gr cinnamon
2 gr cloves
2 gr nutmeg
1 gr white peppercorn
1 gr ginger powder
½ gr cardamom seeds (from the green pods)
Grind in old coffee grinder or mortar. This will be enough for about twice the amount of dough in the recipe below.
3. MAKING SPECULAAS DOUGH
200 gr flour
125 gr muscovado sugar (dark brown sugar)
2 T speculaas spices
150 gr cold butter, diced
2 T milk
1 t baking powder
pinch of salt
Mix everything together into a nice, soft dough. Make a ball, cover with cling foil and let it rest for at least half an hour in the refrigerator, but preferably 24 hours. The dough will absorb more of the lovely spices.
Preheat oven at 175°C
Divide the dough in two. Roll out the first piece of dough into a shape that will cover your baking tray, about 5-10 mm thick. Grease your baking tray and dust with some flour and/or cover with baking paper. Take the rolled out dough and cover the bottom and sides of baking tray. You can also clay it into the baking tray if it’s too tough to roll. Take the almond paste and roll & mold it in your hands, it will get a little bit softer and easier to handle, fill the baking tray with a layer of almond paste. Add the second rolled out piece of dough on top. Try to close the edges a little bit if you can. Brush with egg wash. Decorate with almond halves and bake in about 30 minutes in the 175°C oven.
Update: when using a tin or baking tray, it probably needs about 10 minutes longer.
Had some leftover almond paste, so I decided to try using a baking tin, as I suggested here above. In this case a little springform cake tin. I think it looked very cute, but maybe because it’s in a tin it should be in the oven for a longer time? Maybe 40 minutes instead of 30? It all depends on the thickness of your cake too.