Speculoos Ice Cream; Get Some Special Lotus in Your Life

Speculaas Ice Cream

Lotus Paste Without the Postage

When I used to do Foodie Penpals, many people would yearn for a jar of Speculoos (or Biscoff) paste in their parcel, and would covet jars sent to others. Since I live in the Netherlands, I have ready access to a supply from Lotus (original and best), if I should want any, which I mostly don’t. But, posting jars is expensive, especially since the smallest size they make is 400 g, so I decided to make my own. People make their own nut butters and choc-nut butters, so it couldn’t be that hard, right?  So I thought, until I actually looked at the ingredients.

It is mostly oil – palm, and rapeseed; sugar of one kind or another; rice and soya flours; and stabilisers. I won’t buy palm oil, so I  would really struggle to get the consistency right.

Last summer, I happened to read this recipe for Specunana Brownies. I won’t be making these, because I can’t eat bananas. But, Camilla’s photo with the brownies and ice cream really inspired me. I knew then that the best way to give speculoos to others without having to pay excess postage would be to make a speculoos ice cream, and write down the recipe for you all to enjoy.

I have entire notebooks (and a draft blog post) where I scribble down ideas that I have. If I live to be a million, I won’t live long enough to make them all, but it doesn’t stop me. Every so often, I go back over them, and I came across this one again recently. I had some egg yolks going spare, so I decided to give speculoos ice cream a go.

Speculaas Spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, aniseeds, cloves, peppercorns

Speculaas Spices

David Lebovitz makes a cinnamon ice cream using whole spices. I like this approach, and so I based my own recipe on as much whole spice as I could, whilst remaining true to the speculaas spice. As David suggests, you also have the option of adding more ground speculaas spice mix before you freeze it. If you aren’t near the Netherlands around the beginning of December, then you can always make up the spice mix I have used for my Kruidnoten. I found that with the amounts I used, I didn’t need it, but the strength of spice can vary hugely. I waited only until the custard had cooled, because I was happy with the taste – anything eaten cold will lose flavour, so the original base must have real depth. You can leave it overnight to be sure, if you prefer. If you do need to add some ground spice, add half a teaspoon at a time, mix well (there may be lumps), and taste before adding more.

Another main ingredient in the Lotus speculoos spread is brown sugar. I knew it would give the ice cream its classic colour, but I didn’t want it to be the dominant flavour. So I settled for a couple of tablespoons, which worked perfectly.

I don’t have an ice cream machine, so I made mine by hand. It will be quicker, but just as good if you use a machine, I’m sure.

This ice cream is a smooth and as tasty as the original spread,  just colder. So, instead of having Speculoos/ Biscoff envy, why not make your own?

Spice Trail Blog Badge

And since there is plenty of ginger in this recipe, I’m going to enter it for the Bangers and Mash Spice Trail.

Recipe: Speculoos Ice Cream

Ingredients

500 ml double cream
700 ml milk
5 cinnamon sticks
About 1/4 whole nutmeg, grated
1 tsp ground ginger
10 cloves
1/4 tsp aniseed
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
100 g caster sugar
2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
6 egg yolks

Method

I made a handmade ice cream before, with pictures. The ice cream may be a different colour, but the steps are the same.

Break up the cinnamon sticks slightly into big chunks with a pestle. Then place the milk, cream and all of the spices into a saucepan. Heat to just below boiling point. Remove from the heat, and set aside for at least half an hour to steep. Once the spices have worked their magic, strain through a fine sieve.

Bring the milk back up to just under boiling point. Whisk together the egg yolks and both sugars until they are light and creamy. You’ll be making a custard base for the ice cream.

Put the bowl containing the eggs and sugar onto a damp cloth, so you can pour and whisk without the custard going everywhere. Very slowly, add the warm milk to the eggs and sugar, whisking all of the time. You must take your time with this stage, or the egg will scramble.

Once all of the milk and egg are combined, return it to the pan. Heat gently, stirring constantly to stop the milk from catching on the bottom. Do not allow the milk to boil; again, you’ll get spicy, scrambled eggs. When the custard has thickened so that  it leaves a line when you run a finger down the back of the spoon you are stirring with, it is done. Return it to the bowl you used to beat the eggs and sugar in.

Now you need to cool it down quickly. Run a sink full of the coldest water you can manage. You need enough water to come most of the way up the bowl that you are using, but the water must not get into the custard, or it won’t thicken. Place the bowl of custard in the sink and stir while it cools.

Taste the custard. If the flavour is already really deep, then you can proceed to freezing. If you are at all unsure, then refrigerate the custard overnight, and see how it tastes when it is much colder. If you don’t think there is enough flavour, then by all means add some ground speculaas spice. If you need to add ground spice, then you will need to give the custard a really good whisk, to avoid lumps of spice in the mix.

Pour into freezable containers with a lid on. I use recycled ice cream containers, which are perfect for the job.  Put the lids on, and freeze for an hour.

I always make custard with a balloon whisk, because it gives me more control, and doesn’t make the custard froth too much, which will give a weird consistency. However, I always churn the ice cream with an electric whisk, to really make smooth ice cream. Remove the ice cream into a mixing bowl, using a spatula to make sure there are no crystals left around the edges. Churn the ice cream until smooth, using the electric whisk. Return to the container, and refreeze. Repeat churning and refreezing until you have a thick, but smooth ice cream, then leave to freeze completely overnight.

Remove from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving.

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15 Comments

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15 responses to “Speculoos Ice Cream; Get Some Special Lotus in Your Life

  1. Thank you for the mention, you might like your delicious ice cream with my latest pudding using Speculoos – Slow Cooker Double Chocolate Speculoos Puddle Pudding – or is that just an indulgence too far?:-) http://www.fabfood4all.co.uk/slow-cooker-double-chocolate-speculoos-puddle-pudding/

    • Blimey, that does look indulgent! I think I’d stick with the double cream, but maybe that’s just me 🙂
      Thanks for the inspiration, I knew I’d find some way of getting Speculoos to spread far and wide (Sorry, that’s a terrible pun)

  2. That just looks gorgeous! Tempted to lick the screen! 😉

  3. Oh wow! I am obsessed with Speculoos (though slightly concerned now I know the ingredients!) and recently used a jar a friend brought to make an amazing gingerbread topped with speculoos icing (which sadly didn’t last long enough for me to photograph and blog!). Have been desperate to get more but it is not easy to find here in the UK, but thanks to you I know the secret of the spices and can make this delicious ice cream! I have a day off work tomorrow…. I know how I will be spending it!

    • Great! The spices also work well in biscuits (and hence Lotus biscuits with every cup of coffee you order over here), so you could start from there, then make all manner of other things – crumble toppings, cheesecake, speculoos and butter cream sandwiches (like whoopie pies), also I think you could make a rather nice royal icing with the spice themselves to recreate that gingerbread cake you mentioned 🙂
      Have a great day off, I hope the sun is shining for you

  4. afracooking

    I read the title of your post and thought: ‘really you can get speculaar’ outside of the Netherlands?! I read on and discover that you also live here. I would have never thought. Wat ontzettend leuk om te weten 🙂

  5. Pingback: The Spice Trail: cooking with ginger | Bangers & Mash

  6. Your ice cream looks simply divine. I adore Lotus biscuits and speculoos spices, so I can’t wait to try your recipe. I just got an ice cream maker for my birthday, so I think this might be the first ice cream I whip up in it. Thanks so much for entering this into March’s Spice Trail challenge 🙂

    • Woo, that would be cool 🙂 And Happy Birthday!
      I’m so excited for this month’s challenge, I’ve already started reading through the entries, I love ginger.

  7. This sounds amazing! I too got an ice-cream maker for my birthday last year, so will be giving this a go for sure!
    You can buy Lotus spread in the UK – Waitrose and Sainsbury’s both sell it, and I think Tesco too. It’s usually with the jams and spreads, but often on the lowest shelf, so if you don’t look down, you can easily miss it.
    I used some to make delicious caramel pancakes (http://family-friends-food.com/caramel-pancakes/ ) – I might rustle up another batch to go underneath this fantastic ice-cream!
    Thanks for the great recipe,
    Helen x.

    • Thank you Helen. I knew Lotus spread was becoming more popular in the UK, but I hadn’t quite realised how easy it is to pick up these days. I know that other readers will be interested to hear that too. Your pancakes look great, I may have found the perfect excuse to use up my Lotus spread now. Thanks for stopping by

  8. Pingback: The Spice Trail: your favourite ginger recipes | Bangers & Mash

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