As a typical pastry of the pre-Christmas season in Germany, the speculum, which originally came from Belgium and the Netherlands, are a daily addition to coffee or tea. In Dutch language is referred to as speculaas, French as spéculoos.
While speculum is a typical Christmas snack in Germany, they are eaten year-round in the Netherlands and Belgium. Speculum are available throughout the year in Indonesia too, since it was a Dutch colony.
The most common speculum is the spice speculum, which gets its typical flavor mainly by the spice of cardamom, clove and cinnamon, with a variety of other ingredients. In addition to the spice speculum, there is the almond speculum, which is slightly more subtly spiced and is coated with almonds and a large amount of almond flour on the bottom before baking with almonds. Also popular is the buttered speculum, which contains a significant amount of butter. Dutch and Belgian speculum have a characteristic caramel flavor, which is achieved by adding sugar with a high molasses content.
Homemade peculiarity - homemade - an alternative
The dough is provided with a motif before baking by a mold (model) made of wood or metal. The pictures on the pastry traditionally represent the story of St. Nicholas, which could be told by sorting the pieces based on the illustrations. However, today there are also contemporary Belgian, Dutch or German motifs such as ships, farmhouses or windmills. The origin of the name speculum is unknown. One possibility is that it goes back to the Latin term for 'bishop' speculator ('overseer', 'observer'). According to another opinion, there is a connection to lat. Speculum (mirror), because of the mirror-images, which are cut in the baking molds.
The production was rather expensive due to the high spice prices until after the Second World War and the pastry for the general population was not always affordable. It had the reputation of an exotic and valuable specialty. Today it is produced industrially in different quality levels. The thickness of the pastry varies according to quality and manufacturer, finer products are often thinner. The pastry is typically plate-shaped, rectangular and space-saving stackable. It used to be sold individually out of metal cans. In addition, there are the artisanal products in the bakery and of course the home-made speculum.
Ingredients for the recipe homemade puff pastry
500 g wheat flour
2 starred teaspoon baking powder
250 g of sugar
1 pack vanillin sugar
1 pack speculum spice or gingerbread spice (15 g)
1 pr. Salt
2 eggs (medium size)
200 g soft butter or margarine
100 g of ground almonds
1. kneading dough:
Mix the flour with the baking powder in a mixing bowl. Add sugar, vanillin sugar, spice, salt, eggs, fat and almonds and knead with a blender (dough hook) briefly at the lowest, then at the highest level to a smooth dough. Cook dough for about 30 minutes.
Cover baking tray with baking paper. Preheat oven.
Upper / lower heat: about 180 ° C
Hot air: about 160 ° C
3. dough forms
Form the dough into rolls. Press rolls into the well-floured speculum model, cut off the overhanging dough with a floured knife or thin wire. Beat pieces of dough out of the model, place on the baking tray and push into the oven.
Baking time: about 10 minutes
Pull the speculum with baking paper onto a griddle and allow to cool.
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