As I mentioned in a few older posts, I'd heard so much about how creative the Belgians are with their speculoos biscuits. The two main things they use them in are tiramisu (instead of normal sponge fingers) and cheesecake (for the base). So, I tried a few of each on the trip, and to me they tasted absolutely divine - best tiramisu ever. But I was told by Heather, the friend I was visiting, that it all actually wasn't up to scratch in the restaurants we ate them at, and that she had the perfect recipe. And I must confess, it is positively sinful.
Continue for recipe and more pictures:
Makes 1 pyrex dish (roughly 20cm x 30cm) or 4 glasses
2 eggs, separated
70g fine dark brown sugar
1 mug of strong, sweetened black coffee
400g almond speculoos biscuits (or almond thins)
300ml whipping cream, whipped
Seeds of 1 vanilla pod, or 2 tsps vanilla essence
4 tbsps sugar
Cocoa powder for dusting
Coffee beans for decorating
1. Whisk the sugar with the egg yolks until the colour goes lighter. Add the mascarpone and mix.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with 2 good pinches of salt until the mixture forms good peaks. Gently fold under the mascarpone mixture.
3. Grind up the biscuits and add half the coffee. Mix until the coffee is all absorbed and you get a thick paste. Add more coffee as desired. The trick is to end up with a paste that's not too thick and not too thin.
4. In another bowl, whip the whipping cream together with the vanilla and 4 tbsps of sugar.
5. Start by filling your glasses with a layer of speculoos paste, followed by the mascarpone mixture, followed by another layer of speculoos biscuit paste, followed by the whipped cream mixture. At this point I inserted a thin wooden stick on the side of the glass and gently lifted it up and down between the biscuit paste layers as I turned the glass. This gives the swirling effect you see in the images above.
6. Sift a good, thick layer of cocoa powder over the verrines and decorate with coffee beans.