sweet delights

a messy tart: spekulatius & chocolate & morello cherries & vanilla custard

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When looking at the photo it’s exactly what I intended to create: a tart made w/ a shell of spekulatius & its wonderful Xmas flavors, some chocolate to seal the shell, some vanilla custard for the creaminess, some morello cherries for the freshness & on top lots of roasted almond flakes.

What I planned was to get nice slices of the tart … instead it became a mess (see below).


For the record:
The crispy spekulatius shell didn’t like to break away from the bottom of the tart form so that there were no nice slices … I never experienced this effect before – I swear. What I managed was simply getting some smaller or bigger chunks of the tart mess onto a plate. Well, the 1st slice of tart is always a tricky affair, but later … normally …  Ok – it became better during the next day.
I thought about forgetting about posting this dessert, but – honestly – the flavors are great, the spekulatius shell is really crispy (also next day & further), the mix of chocolate, morello cherries & vanilla custard is delicious … So I decided to post the recipe & unfold my optical disaster.


I think you get from this photo what happened: all mixed up after trying to get it out of the tart form. It was worst when I took the tart out of the fridge – later on when at room temperature serving became somewhat easier. (Nevertheless it is delicious!)



However, coming back to the idea … Since some weeks I feel overwhelmed by posts – in blogs, in facebook, in Instagram  … wherever – w/ recipes & photos of Xmas bakery. There are lots of these delicately baked & decorated cookies of all kinds: even if only looking at them you get a fair impression about the workload linked w/ preparing these precious little bites.

Well, Xmas is approaching & I thought that a post about some Xmas inspired dessert couldn’t be wrong at all.

… something that won’t take too much time during these busy days!

Whatever … what do we need?



We need:

  • plain spekulatius (i. e. only w/ Xmas spices, but no chocolate, no almonds, no … whatever)
  • some butter & a pinch of salt for the tart shell
  • dark chocolate for sealing the tart shell
  • morello cherries (drained & checked for pits)
  • a mix of morello juice & red wine (& some icing sugar & some corn starch for thickening …)
  • a mix of milk & liquid whipping cream for the vanilla custard
  • some roasted almond flakes.

We start w/ preheating the oven to 160° C w/ fan.

Then we put all spekulatius in a sealable freezer bag & work it w/ a rolling pin until we get very fine crumbs.


For the record:
You may also use a food processor if there is one lingering on your kitchen counter.


We melt the butter, add the salt & mix w/ the spekulatius crumbs.

We distribute the spekulatius mess evenly in the tart form & press slightly before it marches in the oven for about 10 – 15 min. Afterwards we have a very crispy shell!



The spekulatius shell has to cool down …

In the meantime we prepare the morello mess.

We bring the morello juice, the red wine & the sugar to a boil, add the morello cherries & bring it again to a boil.

We mix cold water & corn starch & add it to the boiling morello mess. As soon as it starts thickening we put it aside & let it cool down.


For the record:
It’s possible to add cinnamon sticks, cloves etc. to the boiling mess for additional flavour … (& discard it afterwards!) I didn’t because my plain spekulatius was rather flavorful & I thought that it might be sufficient for a decent Xmas flavour.




In the meantime we cook the vanilla custard.


For the record:
I didn’t do the vanilla custard from scratch, but bought a packet of ready-to-use vanilla custard powder. The packet said that I’d need 300 ml liquid & I made a mix of milk & cream.


When ready I set the vanilla custard aside to cool down.



As I experienced there is a lot of time necessary to do all the cooling-down actions although I relied on my friend, the fridge. So you get a lot of time to clean the kitchen in the meantime or do whatever you need to do.

If you don’t happen to have some roasted almond flakes from any previous baking adventure it’s time to think of roasting almond flakes in a pan. Now.


However, finally the spekulatius shell will be ready for further processing.

We melt the dark chocolate in a bain-marie, spoon it evenly over the shell & distribute it w/ a brush. Afterwards it goes again into the fridge because of chilling the chocolate.



Finally we spoon the vanilla custard evenly all over the bottom of the shell.

Then we add the morello mess.

… & at last we sprinkle almond flakes on top.



Voilà: a perfect tart!



(It looks as I imagined …)






a messy tart: spekulatius & chocolate & morello cherries & vanilla custard
Prep Time1 hour
Servings: 8
for the shell:
  • 200 g plain spekulatius
  • 100 g butter
  • a pinch of salt
sealing the shell:
  • 75 g dark chocolate
for the filling:
  • 1 jar morello cherries (about 370 g)
  • 100 ml morello juice
  • 100 ml red wine
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 2 tsp corn starch (solved in 4 - 5 tbsp cold water)
for the custard:
  • 1 packet vanilla custard powder
  • 200 ml milk
  • 100 ml liquid whipping cream
on top:
  • 3 - 4 tbsp roasted almond flakes
  • a tart form (26 cm)
how to:
  • Preheat the oven to 160° C w/ fan.
  • Crumble the spekulatius as fine as possible with a rolling pin in a sealable freezer bag.
  • Melt the butter & mix w/ the speculatius mess.
  • Distribute the mess in a tart form & press slightly.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 min.
  • Let it cool completely.
  • In the meantime: Drain the morello cherries & remove all remaning pits.
  • Mix morello juice, red wine & icing sugar & bring to a boil.
  • Dump in the morello cherries ... & bring the mess to a boil.
  • Add the cornstarch-water mix & let it thicken.
  • Let the morello mess cool down completely.
  • In the meantime: Prepare the vanilla custard along to the instruction on the packet & let it cool down.
  • As soon as the spekulatius shell is at room temperature: Melt the chocolate in a bain marie.
  • Distribute the chocolate over the shell & let it cool in the fridge.
  • Roast the almond flakes in a pan - if you don't happen to have some leftovers from your last roasting adventure.
  • As soon as the chocolate seal is hard & the morello mess is cold & the vanilla custard is also cold: Distribute the vanilla custard in the shell.
  • Add the morello mess.
  • Finish w/ roasted almond flakes on top.
Prep Time: It’s about 1 h for preparing & baking the shell, mixing the morello mess, cooking the vanilla custard. For cooling down everything allow about 90 min in addition.
Plain spekulatius: It’s spekulatius w/ spices - nothing else (i. e. no almonds, no chocolate, no ... whatever).
Vanilla custard: My vanilla custard was designed for 300 ml liquid - maybe your vanilla custard is intended for 500 ml ... Use as much vanilla custard as you like.
You may store the tart in the fridge for up to 3 days.
You may also store the tart on you kitchen counter for some hours before serving.


(information on equipment)