Saturday, May 29, 2010

Apple Mango Speculos Crumble

Earlier this week, I went to Belgium to visit a friend of mine who moved back "home" with her family after spending about 18 years in the US. I took the Thalys high-speed train from Paris to Bruxelles and then transfered to a smaller commuter train to Gent.  My children were thrilled to take the high-speed train with which Bruxelles is only 1h20mn away from Paris (vs. about 3 hours by car). They were just disappointed not to have their own TV in the train (they are used to trans-Atlantic flights where they get to watch their own small TV!!) Gent, like most Belgium cities (and unlike the countryside) is a beautiful city with old buildings, canals and a very peaceful pace. People ride their bike (or the tram) almost anywhere because nothing is really far in what is the third largest city in Belgium (after Bruxelles and Anvers). My friend had asked me what I wanted to do while in Gent. Since I had been to Gent last year to attend a wedding and since we had three young children to shuttle around, I had nothing specific in mind. Except to go to a local supermarket! You see, despite the fact that Belgium is less than 2 hours away from Paris by train, despite the fact that part of the country speaks French (the other part speaks Flemish and some German), despite the fact that we now have a common currency, Belgium is a foreign country to French people!
Very few French people have actually been to Belgium and yet, I really think that there are cities worth visiting. As every country, Belgium has its own culinary culture. For instance, they are used to eating a lot of "tartines" for dinner : a large slice of bread on which they spread hams, cheese, mayonnaise-based salads, fruits syrups or just jams. As a result, you find a selection of "spreads" that I have never seen in French supermarkets! Sure, a supermarket in Gent is very similar to a French supermarket and way less exotic than an Asian one to me! But still, worth a short visit!
Beyond Chocolates and waffles, Belgium is also reknown for their Speculos cookies. They are sold in every supermarket and under many brand names. For Americans who are addicted to used to cinnamon, it would not be a new taste. However, it is for French people. My husband is a big amateur of Speculos and, while not the same, is happy to eat their American cousins called Cinnamon Sugar Spice cookies (Bastogne in French). Whenever we purchase these cookies, I think of Belgium... and I use the last ones to make a sweet crumble. My children (and I) like them better in a crumble than just plain; I find that mixing them with fruits makes them taste less sweet. I don't know if my Belgium friends would be offended to have their delicacy Speculos crushed... but I am sure they'd be happy to have more people eat one of their local specialty! Bon Appétit!


For the crumble:
- 100 gr (3.5 oz) butter at room temperature
- 100 gr ( 3.5 oz) light brown cane sugar
- 100 gr ( 3.5 oz) All Purpose flour
- 6 Sugar Spice Cookies (or about 8 Speculos that tend to be smaller than Sugar Spice Cookies), crushed

For the filling:
- 3 apples, cut into small pieces
- 1 large ripe mango, cut into pieces
- 50 gr (1.75oz) sugar
- 10 gr (0.35oz) butter
- 2 additional Sugar Spice Cookies, crushed

  • Preheat oven to 350 F (175C)
  • Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  • Add flour, and crushed cookies. Stir well.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 30 minutes

  • In a pan, melt butter and pre-cook the apples in sugar
  • Add mango pieces and crushed cookies and stir gently.
  • Divide among 6 ramequins
  • Cover with crumble
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

My Personal Comments:
  • This would be very good with a Cinnamon icecream or mango sorbet.


  1. Gent etant ma region natale je fus un peu jalouse en lisant ce post. Moi ce que j'aime et que je n'ai pas mangé depuis des années c'est une tartine de pain au levain, épaisse, coupée à même la miche, avec du platte kaas (qui n'a rien à voir avec le fromage blanc), des radis, de la ciboulette, un peu de fleur de sel et une bonne bière. Mouahahhaaaaaa.

  2. that sounds delicious.
    have a wonderful trip

  3. AnonymousJune 14, 2010

    We have no trouble at all crumbling our speculoos! In fact, we love finding new ways to use it and it's a very good base for cheese cake (as a substitute for the American Graham cracker version)...