•  Speculaas are thin, spicy Dutch Christmas biscuits. Our recipe flavours the sponge cake with speculaas spice. It’s a wonderfully rich and spicy trifle, just as a trifle should be.



    speculaas & pecan sponge

    5 g ground cardamom

    2 g ground cloves

    5 g ground nutmeg

    5 g ground ginger

    5 g ground cinnamon

    100 g granulated sugar

    2 tbsp vegetable oil

    1 large egg

    seeds of 1 vanilla pod

    2 tsp sour cream

    100 g flour, plus extra for dusting nuts

    3 g baking powder

    2 g salt

    75 ml milk

    100 g pecan nuts, toasted

    fig jelly

    4 gelatine leaves

    1 large bowl ice water

    8 figs, halved

    4 tbsp castor sugar

    400 ml just-boiled water

    juice of 2½ limes

    honey syrup

    250 ml water

    12 tbsp honey

    juice & zest of 1 lime

    1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped

    1 cinnamon stick

    crème pâtissière

    45 g egg yolks

    18 g cornflour

    200 ml milk

    40 g castor sugar

    1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out

    20 g fresh ginger, peeled,

    & cut into 5 chunks

    15 g butter

    50 ml cream, whipped

    to assemble

    8 figs, halved

    250 g mascarpone cheese



    fig jelly

    1. Soak the gelatine leaves in the bowl of ice water. Place the figs in a blender and pulse until almost smooth. In a saucepan, bring the sugar and hot water to a boil until a runny syrup starts to form. Add the lime juice and remove from the heat. Add the blended figs to the syrup. Squeeze out excess water from the gelatine leaves and add the gelatine to the syrup. Pour the mixture into a serving bowl and leave to set in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

    speculaas & pecan sponge

    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a baking pan with baking paper. Sift the five spices and the sugar together, and mix with the vegetable oil, egg and vanilla seeds until well incorporated. Mix in the sour cream.

    2. Sift half the flour, the baking powder and the salt into the mixture and beat on low speed while adding half of the milk. Mix until the flour starts to incorporate. Sift the remaining flour and add to the mixture, still beating at low speed, then add the remaining milk.

    3. Toss the pecans in flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the pan when baking and add them to the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Slice the sponge into fingers.

    crème pâtissière

    1. Mix the yolks, cornflour, 25 ml milk and 20 g castor sugar until incorporated. In a medium saucepan, combine the rest of the milk, the rest of the sugar, vanilla pod and seeds, and ginger and bring to a boil. Pour the boiling milk mixture into the egg mixture while whisking. Return to the heat and bring to a boil for 1 minute while whisking continuously. Whisk in the butter until smooth and shiny.

    2. Pour the crème pâtissière into a baking tray lined with cling wrap and cover the crème pâtissière with cling wrap directly on the surface. Leave to cool. Once cooled, remove the ginger and vanilla pod and pour the crème pâtissière into a mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth and then fold in the whipped cream.

    3. Spoon the crème pâtissière into a piping bag and place in the fridge.

    honey syrup

    1. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer until the honey has dissolved and the mixture has reached a syrupy consistency. Remove the vanilla pod and cinnamon stick and leave to cool.

    to assemble

    1. Dip the fig halves in the honey syrup so they’re well coated and pour the remaining syrup over the sponge fingers. Pipe a layer of crème pâtissière onto the set fig jelly and top it with syrup-drenched cake and figs.

    2. Spoon dollops of mascarpone on the top of the trifle.

    serves 4

    Posted with permission from: tashas Inspired: A celebration of food and art

    For more information, go to www.tashascafe.com