Speculoos biscuits- those little cinnamon nibbles you get with a cup of coffee- are all the rage in France. You can get Speculoos spread (like Nutella but with cinnamon), Speculoos Tiramisu, ice cream, instant dessert mix, flavoured yoghurt- you name it.
You can buy them in the UK too- under different brand names like this one.... and they are worth seeking out for their crispy-crumbliness and spicy flavour.
However, all these recipes work well with good old ginger biscuits too. Friends of mine even substituted Nice biscuits for some of them and apparently the result was pretty good.
The first recipe I set out to try was Poached Pears in a Speculoos crust.
Poach four pears in 400 ml water into which you have dissolved 100g of sugar and placed 4 star anise.
Now melt 100g butter in a pan and add 1 packet of crushed Speculoos biscuits. Mix well and allow to cool.
Place them on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes at 170 degreees until the coating is crisp.
|Poached Pears in a Speculoos Crust|
I have to admit that the rolling and coating of the pears was a bit tricky and so a simplified ( dare I call it 'deconstructed' version) is every bit as impressive.
Serve the pears sitting jauntily atop the crumbs ( call them Cinnamon Soil if you can keep a straight face) with the syrup on the side for pouring over.
|Poached Pears on Cinnamon Soil|
If you have biscuits, crumbs and pears to spare- layer it all up into a trifle. I sent this one to the Guardian - and it was the winning recipe. Do enjoy the editor's comments, by the way. Is anyone else reminded of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?
Mix 2 eggs and 3 egg yolks with 25g of sugar. (The egg whites freeze well for use another time).
Bring 350ml of milk and 150ml of cream to the boil. Add 200g of crushed Speculoos biscuits and an extra pinch of cinnamon.
Pour the hot milk over the beaten eggs, beating with a whisk as you do so to form a custard.
Pour into ramekin dishes or glasses and place in a baking tray half filled with hot water.
|Cream pots ready for the oven|
Once cooked, cool and then chill until ready to serve.
|Cinnamon Cream Pots|
And yet more leftover biscuit crumb blends wonderfully with your usual crumble mix for a pud with warm hints of sugar and spice.
|Speculoos Crumb Crumble|
Finally- try a savoury recipe (or semi-sweet/semi-savoury at any rate). I am not a fan of goat's cheese so prefer to use a cow's milk roule like Fagotin, Boursin or le Roule for this, but I accept that the sharp tang of goat probably complements the crumb particularly well.
Get ready 3 plates - one of beaten egg, one of flour and one of Speculoos crumbs.
|Flour, egg and Speculoos crumbs at the ready|
Bake at 200 degrees for 10 minutes until the crumb is crispy ( tap it to check).
|Cheese and Speculoos Roule|
Serve as pre-dinner nibbles or as a starter with a dressed salad.