I live in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere, northern France. But it doesn’t mean I miss out on amazing French gastronomy, and I don’t even need to leave home! Three times a week the Bread Man delivers bread to our village and many others in the area. His deliveries mean we all cut down on driving to a village to buy bread, and he’s a lifeline for older people. He also tempts us to buy cakes. His seasonal and utterly delicious apple and pear crumble with a crispy crumble flavoured with spicy Speculoos is a total winner, so of course I had to get the recipe so that everyone else can enjoy it wherever they are. And I had to test it too of course – that’s my crumble above!
Speculoos is a really popular biscuit in France and Belgium (where it originated from) and elsewhere in Europe. Outside Europe its well known as Biscoff. Made to an ancient recipe, at least 400 years old, it was a tradition to make speculoos biscuits at Christmas. They contain cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves and ginger which give them a wonderful spicy taste and aroma and now these biscuits are eaten year round. You’ll often be offered a Speculoos with your coffee in cafés in France.
Ingredients for 4 portions of apple, pear and speculoos crumble
1/2 glass of water
3 tablespoons sugar (optional: replace one of the tablespoons of sugar with a sachet of vanilla sugar for extra sweetness)
150 g flour
150 g demerara sugar
8 Speculoos biscuits (Biscoff outside Europe)
150 g of butter
Peel the apples and pears and cut into small cubes.
Place in a saucepan with a little water, sachet of vanilla sugar and 2 tablespoons of sugar.
Simmer for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Preheat oven at gas mark 7-8 (210 to 240 °).
Put the flour in a bowl and add the butter (diced) and a pinch of salt.
Rub the butter in to make a breadcrumb-like texture, don’t overwork it.
Add the sugar, crumble the Speculoos bisuits (Biscoff) and add them.
Put the fruit mix in an oven-proof bowl, spread the crumble mix over the top and bake for 20 minutes.
It’s delicious with ice cream!
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