I recently received a jar of speculoos spread from a company called Tamarin. I first saw these new speculoos "pâte a tartiner" jars during my last trip to Paris. Our family loves Nutella and peanut butter, so I couldn't wait to develop a new dessert around this product. The thick spread is based on speculoos, which are specialty shortcrust cookies that originally were baked traditionally for consumption on St. Nicholas' Eve. They originated from the North of France and Belgium (also known as "speculaas" in Dutch) and often are shaped with an image stamp depicting the story of St. Nicholas. The main spices for the thin, crunchy, slightly brown cookie are cinnamon, cloves, ground ginger, cardamom, nutmeg and white pepper. The cookies are so delicious that they're available year 'round in France.
I made a cookie dough using the same spices as for speculoos cookies but instead of making shortcrust, I used it as a base and created a cookie tartlet. As soon as the shells come out from the oven, I pressed the center of the cookie to create a cavity so I could insert a creamy spread of speculoos inside. The result was fantastic. I’ll play around with the product more and post additional recipes, so stay tuned. Thanks, Tamarin!
Servings: 6 servings
1 egg, at room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1-¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1/8 teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
1 clove, ground to a fine powder
1 tablespoon candied ginger, finely chopped
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 tablespoons molasses
¼ cup slivered almonds, coarsely chopped
8 tablespoons brown sugar
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened to room temperature
4 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons Tamarin speculoos spread
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Making cookie dough:
In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg with 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar for about 5-6 minutes. You'll get a pale, yellow foam and the texture of the egg will be thicker. Add the spices and molasses.
In another mixing bowl, cream 8 tablespoons butter with the brown sugar (whisk using a stand-mixer to get as much air as possible into the butter). Add the egg mixture, the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda and salt), the almonds and candied ginger. Mix until the cookie dough is formed. Do NOT over-mix. Transfer the dough into a bowl. Plastic wrap it and chill the dough in the refrigerator until firm. It will take at least 15-20 minutes to firm up.
Making cookie tartlets:
Line 6 non-stick mini-cake pans (see tips) with squares of parchment paper. Place 3 cookie scoops of the chilled cookie dough into each prepared cake mold. Flour your fingers before touching the cookie dough and gently press into the bottom and sides of the cake pan. Prick the dough with a fork.
You'll have a little left-over cookie dough. Simply bake the cookie dough along with the other cake pans and use it as garnish.
Bake for about 12-13 minutes. Remove from the oven and press the center of the cookie using a smaller-sized cake pan (see tips). Let them cool down completely to room temperature before unmolding. They will harden and get firm as they cool down.
Crush the left-over cookie into a coarse texture. Set aside.
For the speculoos filling:
Using a hand-held mixer, whip the mascarpone to soften it. Add the condensed milk and beat until the texture is smooth and creamy. Divide the filling into 2 bowls. Add the speculoos spread into one bowl and stir well. Using a silicone spatula, gently fold (once or twice) the speculoos mixture into the other bowl. You want to create a marbling design.
Spoon 3 tablespoons filling in each cookie tartlet. Let the filling set in the refrigerator.
When you're ready to serve, sprinkle the crushed cookie over the filling.
The un-baked cookie dough can be stored up to 3 months in your freezer.
I used 2 different sizes of mini cake pans to create the cavities inside the cookie tartlets: 4-½" diameter non-stick mini-cake pans and 2-½ " individual round tin cake molds. I found the smaller pans at Daiso, the Japanese version of a 99-cent store.