Chocolate speculaas deliciousness

Chocolate speculaas deliciousness

The Desserts of New York
Alicia Taylor

‘How can anything be this delicious?’ This is what I thought when I first tried Magnolia Bakery’s famous banana cream pudding. What’s more surprising is how easy it is to make, as is the whole category of American desserts called ‘puddings’, a variation of icebox cakes and so named for the custard (pudding) that’s used to make them, along with whipped cream and cookies.

The three elements are layered and left to soften in the fridge, and the result is a decadent swirl of ‘deliciousness’. The term, coined by LES bakeshop sugar Sweet sunshine for their must-try puds, so aptly describes this combo of dark chocolate custard and soft, spiced speculaas that I’ve used it for my own.


Quantity Ingredient
500ml thickened cream
150g pre icing sugar

Chocolate custard

Quantity Ingredient
375ml milk
75g caster sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour
125ml pouring cream
2 egg yolks
125g dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract

Soft-baked speculaas

Quantity Ingredient
125g unsalted butter, chopped, softened
2 tablespoons caster sugar
75g light brown sugar
150g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch each of ground allspice and freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fine salt


  1. To make the chocolate custard, place the milk and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and bring almost to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Meanwhile, place the cornflour in a bowl and gradually whisk in the cream, making sure there are no lumps, then whisk in the egg yolks. Whisking constantly, gradually add the milk mixture to the egg mixture. Return the mixture to the pan over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until it comes to the boil, then whisk for a further 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and stand for 1 minute, then whisk until melted and combined. Whisk in the vanilla, then cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or until cold.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  3. To make the soft-baked speculaas, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars for 3 minutes or until light and creamy. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, spices and salt into a bowl, then add to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Roll into 3 cm balls, then place, 5 cm apart, on the prepared trays. Bake, swapping the trays halfway through, for 10–12 minutes or until cooked around the edges and soft in the centre. Cool slightly on the trays, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Break into chunks.
  4. To assemble, using an electric mixer, whisk the cream and icing sugar to stiff peaks. Place one-third of the speculaas over the base of a 3 litre bowl or trifle dish, then spread over half the chocolate custard and half the whipped cream. Repeat these layers, then top with the remaining speculaas. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours for the speculaas to soften and the flavours to infuse, then spoon into bowls to serve.


  • Speculaas (speculoos in Belgium), crisp, buttery Dutch cookies spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger, are available from gourmet food shops, and can be substituted here – just add extra softening time in the fridge as they’re harder. You can also use the American version, biscoff – and, since we’re talking, you have to try speculaas spread.
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