Speculoos apple tart

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Apple season – I don´t know about you, but for me, it starts in September and lasts more or less until the end of August. Except for a few weeks in midsummer, when peaches and apricots, nectarines and cherries step in, you´ll always find a pile of apples in my kitchen. But it´s now, this time of year, that I start to look at them with other eyes, thinking of ways to make more of them than `just` a healthy snack: Apple baking is fall baking, let alone if we´re talking about this tart with its speculoos crust. Albeit this cookie has a certain connotation that prevented me from baking it much earlier.

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Let me explain: When we moved to France, I was surprised to see speculoos cookies everywhere in supermarkets throughout the year, even in the shape of pre-made crumbles specifically destined for baking and desserts (French mums are so practical!). Speculoos cheese cakes, speculoos tiramisu, speculoos spread – the possibilities are endless, and, I might add, truly delectable. But deliciousness aside, to some extent I felt a bit reluctant against speculoos in summer, and it has to do with the German breed that I am, incapable at times to take things the easy way.

apple-speculoos-tart-8speculoos-apple-tart-12In Germany, speculoos are decidedly Christmas cookies, and you won´t find them in stores, let alone bake them, unless Christmas is, well, at least somewhere in sight. It´s like lametta in June – it just doesn´t fit.  Yet right now that the days are getting a little chillier, and Parisian morning fogs last a little longer than I´d like them to, I finally baked this tart that had been on my mind for some time. For when if not now is the time to pair a crunchy salted butter speculoos crust with crisp, cinnamon-y apple slices… and not to forget that drizzle of ever-so-good salted caramel sauce.

A variation of the good ol´ apple-cinnamon (and apple-caramel) liaison, this tart is the edible proof that old loves never die… and while some fruit may not have a season, some cookies do.

speculoos-apple-tart-19Speculoos apple tart with salted caramel sauce (makes 6 slices or one 8 inch/20 cm tart):
For the tart:
5 medium apples, about 750 g (1 ½ pounds)
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sugar
a dash vanilla seeds powder or 1 pck vanilla sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon

175 g spéculoos cookies
65 g salted butter, melted

2 generous tbsp crème fraîche
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp sugar

For the caramel sauce:
100 g sugar
120 g cream
50 g salted butter

Peel, quarter and slice apples (about 16 slices per apple). In a medium sized pan, melt unsalted butter and cook apples, seasoned with sugar, cinnamon & vanilla seeds, for 5-7 minutes over low to medium heat until somewhat softened, but still with some crunch.

For the dough, fill cookies into a plastic bag. Crush with a rolling in until you obtain a fine, sandy crumble – alternatively, blitz in your food processor if you´re lucky to own one.
Mix with melted salted butter until the butter is completely incorporated.

Line a small (8 in/20 cm) buttered tart pan (I use one with a removable bottom) with the spéculoos dough and bake in a preheated oven for 7 minutes at 180°C. Take pan out of the oven, keep the oven hot.

In a small bowl, mix crème fraîche with an egg yolk, sugar and about 2 tbsp of the apple juices from the pan.

Neatly arrange apple slices in a circular pattern onto the speculoos base, working your way to the center. Pour crème fraîche mixture all over. Bake for another 20-25 minutes, until slightly golden.

For the caramel sauce, melt sugar in a high sided pot over medium heat. Meanwhile, warm cream gently. When the sugar has almost all melted and turned amber in color, reduce heat to low (or take pot off the heat), add warm cream, stirring vigurously with a wooden spoon. Take pot on and off the heat a few times if necessary. Add salted butter. Leave to cool.

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37 thoughts on “Speculoos apple tart

  1. What a fabulous combination and as it is quite cold now absolutely the right thing after a nice Sunday afternoon stroll through the autumnal forest! And you are so right, as if we had an inner barrier installed which hinders us to eat Spekulatius before winter…
    N xx

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      1. Jumping, jumping. Sabine, how are you doing in Paris? Hast Du Lust mir ein paar Deiner Erfahrungen mitzuteilen? Wir haben ein vages Angebot und denken, denken, denken. Email ist noch gleich. Liebe Grüße, Nicole

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  2. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when I moved to France and spéculoos and speculoos crushed and in spreads and all manner of other things were all around me because coming from England they are literally only ever found in a pack of two politely put on the side of a coffee cup in cafes and hairdressers! I embraced them wholeheartedly and still do. Then I went to stay in le Vosges with my cousin and his Belgian wife …. she even uses them in the sauce she routinely makes from the juices of her venison and boar and although it sounds odd it really is amazing. As sounds and looks your delectable tart …. role on my return to France so I can get hold of the Speculoos and have a go at making it!

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    1. I love the idea of putting them in sauces so much! In fact, it´s what my mum always does , too, with leftover Zimtsterne or Zimtwaffeln (cinnamon stars /waffles) to refine her venison sauces….can´t wait to have one of those meals again come Christmas!

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    1. The Christmas cookies start to make an appearance in supermarkets in Germany these days, too, so I thought it might be the right time to post this. I hope you´ll get your hands on speculoos cookies, too!

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  3. I don’t know if we have specula’s cookies in the US, I have to look for them and if I find them I will make this delicious looking tart. The caramel sauce looks divine.

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    1. Dear Gerlinde, I hope you´ll find them to make this recipe! I love caramel sauce, but sometimes I have to stop making it in order not to eat so much of it!

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  4. Not being a baker, I had to Google “speculoos” ((blush)). Your tart, with its caramel topping, sounds wonderful and is something I’m sure that I would enjoy. I bet it’s delicious.

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  5. It is definitely apple season in Germany and Austria right now. Every hotel that we’ve stayed at has big bowls set out to enjoy. Now if they only had a tart that yours…it looks wonderful.🙂

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    1. Great to hear, Bea! I´m really amazed to learn that- I had no idea it´s only us Germans who restrict speculoos to Christmas! Please report back back hoe the recipe worked out for you! Thank you so much for dropping by! Sabine

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