Warning: This post contains severe quantities of product placement.
As you may or may not know, I am a proud citizen of that teeny weeny country called Belgium. I don’t always like living here – because it rains a lot and Belgian politics is often more ludicrous than all the episodes of the Bold and the Beautiful combined- but I do have to admit that we have some damn fine food.
Yes, there is the world famous chocolate and the infamously strong beer, but Belgium’s finest food products are much more versatile than you would initially assume. And two of my favourite Belgian delights are speculoos and advocaat.
Speculoos is very similar to gingerbread – only way better!- and has that comforting cinnamon scent and sweet-spicy flavour.
Furthermore, it is probably the most versatile cookie on the planet. You can put it in/on/with everything. You can crumble it on top of ice cream, you can mix it with herbs to form a crust on a fillet of salmon (sounds bonkers, but it works!) or you can put it in a tiramisu as a substitute for your traditional lady fingers (Like I did in this recipe).
Advocaat is what I would call “eggnog for Kings”. It is an alcoholic beverage made from egg yolks, sugar and alcohol and has a rich and creamy texture. You can buy many different types of advocaat with varying degrees of alcohol and thickness. But I prefer mine boozy and with the consistency of a Mary Berry approved crème patisserie. Because make no mistake: although advocaat may technically be a “beverage” , the best advocaat is gulped down with a spoon!
So this Tiramisu is not your typical, Italian delight with Amaretto and lady fingers, but a celebration of all the things I love about my dear old country. I’m not trying to be patriotic here, I’m simply demonstrating how to make a different yet extraordinary dessert. 😉
Tiramisu à la Belge: Advocaat-Mascarpone Cream with Speculoos and Cinnamon Apples
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 250gr mascarpone cheese
- 4-8 tbsp of advocaat (depending on how boozy your advocaat is)
- 50gr caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- Speculoos (approx. 10-15 cookies)
- 1 cup of strong coffee
- 1 apple, diced
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- Whisk the egg yolk together with the caster sugar. Stir in the mascarpone cheese, but make sure not to overmix it. Add the advocaat to taste. (Your mascarpone filling should have a light yellow colour and have a distinct advocaat flavour but not to such an extent that you’re completely hung-over afterwards 😉 )
- Dip a speculoos cookie in coffee and put it at the bottom of a glass. Now spoon two tablespoons of mascarpone-advocaat filling on top. Now add another layer of speculoos dipped in coffee and finish with a layer of mascarpone filling. Repeat this process for the other three glasses. Put the glasses in the fridge overnight to set.
- Heat a knob of butter in a small pan and fry the diced apple with the cinnamon until golden brown. Spoon some of the cinnamon apples on top of the Belgian tiramisu and crumble some speculoos over the top to finish.