I first encountered these spicy, ‘Christmas’ flavoured biscuits when I moved to Hannover in the early eighties. For those of you who do not know Hannover, the main shopping area is a broad street that begins at the main railway station and heads south. There you will find all of the major stores and the upper end clothing boutiques and jewelery shops as many another major European City.
But beneath this, on the first level of the underground railway, is a shopping ‘street’ known as the ‘Passerelle’ that is more akin to a market than a major town centre. The contrast between ‘above’ and ‘below’ is quite intruiging. It is not just a fiscal thing, its an attitude thing.
It is large store solidity against the vibrancy of a pseudo latin quarter. One above the other.
I still remember the smells of Christmas: spiced apple, cinnamon, marzipan, scented candles and pine needles! The smell and feel of snow beneath the feet, the steam rising from a mug of Glüwein clutched between gloved hands, while Christmas Carols echo from all directions as competing choirs attempt to attract an audience.
This recipe is from a book that I probably bought myself in the eighties, during my lengthy sojourn in Germany, despite the fact that it is written in English.
But it still forms a legitimate part of the archive, in spite of its apparent youth!
There are many Speculatius recipes floating around the ethernet, but this is the one that I use most often. Just preparing and baking the biscuits always reminds of those days wandering the bars and curiosity shops of the Passerelle on a winters evening with the cold biting at the tip of the nose and ears! Good memories!
Stop the world, I want to get off for a while . . .