Chocolate Terrine with Speculoos (Unbaked Chocolate Cake with Biscuits)


Chocoholics: beware! This chocolate terrine is one of the most dangerous home desserts I know. Once you taste it, you will constantly be tempted to prepare it once more and once more and once more… When you realise that the recipe is ridiculously easy and the result guarantees admiring looks from your guests, you will understand why I praise it so highly. Katerina from Culinary Flavours is the person I hold entirely responsible for turning me into an addict to this rich, creamy, decadent chocolate delicacy. Her seducing photos wouldn’t simply get out of my mind and when I took a first bite, I found it hard to believe that such a quick and simple preparation can lead to something so sublime.

Katerina’s recipe was called “marquise”, but it could also be named “terrine” because similar desserts bear both names in French cookery books. She has used chocolate cookies; I have used Speculoos, the famous Belgian spice biscuits, which go so well with the winter season we are approaching. Whether you call it terrine or marquise, whatever biscuits and aromatic alcohol you add, you will certainly receive sincere compliments from your guests and family. Thank you, Katerina, for making me discover one of the easiest and most impressive chocolate treats. I will certainly serve it for Christmas.

I have slightly modified Katerina’s recipe and cut down the amounts by half. Since it’s very filling and rich, this mini-terrine/marquise will suffice for six people. For a bigger group or for second servings, double the amounts. Click here to see Katerina’s original recipe and to have a stroll through her wonderful blog with recipes from Greece (her home country) and all around the world.

TIPS: If you don’t melt chocolate often, this might be the only tricky part of this otherwise easy cake. There are different ways to do it, but my favourite is to melt it, broken into pieces, in a small pan filled with hot (not boiling) cream. Whichever method you use, the most important thing is not to let the chocolate boil. I usually melt butter this way together with chocolate.

UPDATE: This recipe has been evolving throughout years (6 actually!) and nowadays I no longer add any sugar. It you are not a fan of intense very chocolatey flavours, you may add 8 tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar.

Preparation: 15-20 minutes + a night in the fridge

Ingredients (serves ten-twelve, fills a 10 x 20 cm/about 4 x 8 in baking dish; at the photograph above you see a smaller half-portion):

250 g/about 9 oz good quality dark chocolate (you can use “baking” chocolate or chocolate chips, but good quality one, without vegetable fats and with min. 70% cocoa)

150 ml/5 fl oz liquid cream (at least 25% fat)

100 g/about 3,5 oz butter

120 g/4 oz Speculoos or other biscuits of your choice

(1 flat teaspoon instant coffee)

2 tablespoons rum (or any aromatic alcohol that would go well with your biscuits and chocolate)

(crumbled biscuits, cocoa or confectioner’s sugar to sprinkle over the marquise before serving)

Melt the chocolate and the butter (in a pan (see TIPS), in a microwave oven or in a hot water bath).

Add the sugar, the cream, the alcohol and stir well.

Break the biscuits to small pieces (but not to powder!) and incorporate into the chocolate mixture.

Line a baking dish with plastic film (I advise to fold it in two so that it doesn’t break when you take out the cold marquise).

Pour the chocolate mixture into the dish, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Serve very cold, straight from the fridge, sprinkled with crumbled biscuits, cocoa or confectioner’s sugar or the way it is.






48 Replies to “Chocolate Terrine with Speculoos (Unbaked Chocolate Cake with Biscuits)”

  1. This looks gorgeous. I have been
    making a version with biscuits and marshmallows sprinkled with icing sugar but it doesn’t look as impressive as this. I know how well the biscuit work so I can easily imagine how delicious this is. Hopefully I have the right-sized pan as I would love to make it. I can see using an orange liqueur in this too!

    1. Thank you so much, Barb. If you double the amounts, it’s easier to find a pan (10 x 20 cm or the standard bread baking pan). Orange liqueur sounds perfect here! Great idea.

  2. This does sound very delicious and dangerous. Addition of coffee and rum sound most wonderful. I am hesitant to make this but at the same time tempted to make a much much smaller version so that there are no leftovers
    I’ve heard of a British version called biscuit cake, I have never tried that either

    1. Thank you so much, Mr. Three-Cookies. I’m sure it can be frozen, so if you make this small amount and don’t trust your discipline (and don’t have guests), you could freeze a part. I have never tried the biscuit cake either.

  3. Chocoholics unite! (you know that with a call to choco-lovers, I’d come a running ;-)). What a beaut of a chocolate log… It is one of my favourite indulgences too – reminds me of my Orange Chocolate Pâté – though I generally mix in fruit rather than biscuit. This is a really neat variation – and it looks so cool too! (love how the biscuit pieces poke through the sliced terrine). The rum sounds swoonfully delightful… a perfect adult slice! I don’t blame you for being addicted…:).

    1. Thank you very much, Kelly. Your orange chocolate pâté sounds fabulous (I’m sure it would be called “terrine” in France; it sounds too sophisticated and gorgeous 😉 ). Fruit is one of the things I intend to use here in the future (I already have lots of different versions in mind of course! the basic recipe is so easy and versatile…). Rum goes well with spice biscuits I think (and with most cakes really).

  4. What a timely post Sissi! After I will complete my Christmas baking, I will have a large Ziploc bag of broken cookies, ends of bars that I sliced off. This is just too many rum balls or I would have to make the Hungarian keksz rolad which I am not particularly fond of in the first place. This recipe opens up new possibilities for me and I love that. Thanks for putting this .12

    1. Thank you, Zsuzsa. After several successful experiments with this terrine, I plan some other similar versions that I will serve for Christmas of course. The basic recipe is quite versatile (and very easy), so I’m sure it can be adapted to everyone’s taste.

  5. A gorgeous chocolate terrine indeed, Sissi. Of course, there’s great chocolate in your area to work with, isn’t there? 🙂

    For people who are still nervous about melting chocolate, I recommend doing it in a glass or metal bowl over a pan of simmering water.

    1. Thank you so much, A_Boleyn. Haha! That’s true: even commercial chocolate here is delicious. Although I always use good quality 72% cocoa chocolate when I bake. You are totally right: this way is the safest! I have been melting in a pot for years. It’s the laziest method but can be tricky at the beginning.

  6. In Italy we call something like this “salame di cioccolato” (aka “chocolate salami/sausage”): it has cookies (but not speculoos), nuts, coffee, liqueur and all you can think of in it 🙂
    But yours looks delicious, too.. and I love Speculoos 🙂

  7. Sissi, thank you for sharing this decadent chocolate dessert, I know everyone one of my family members and friends would love to have a taste, since they are all chocoholics!

    Speaking of French Desserts, we went to Austin for Thanksgiving, and visited a couple of French bakeries. Both places were owned by French immigrants, and let me tell you, we can tell the difference! The pastries were so yummy, I am so happy my husband found these wonderful bakeries not too far from Houston so we can visit a couple of times a year!

    1. Thank you so much, Jeno. I’m glad you are a chocoholic too (and having chocoholic friends and family is a good thing too). I’m thrilled to learn you also like French pastry and that you have discovered a good source of it. I have already written this several times I think, but French pastry is the best in the world: it’s light (although not in terms of calories!), delicate, sophisticated. Other countries have also some excellent sweets, but nothing compares to French pastry. I love especially those desserts which are sweet, buttery but not overly floury (chocolate mousse, crème brûlée, very thin elegant fruit tarts, éclairs, macarons…). They are always more elegant this way and I find myself eating less than say a typical floury home cake.

  8. What an incredibly rich looking dessert, Sissi. I love the addition of the biscuits, such a nice balance of textures and flavours. I think those wonderful soft german gingerbread cookies would be great in this too! I made something very similar two years ago, but I called it Chocolate Paté. It was extremely good too. You have reminded me to try this again. Thank you.
    I often melt chocolate in the microwave, short bursts of 15 seconds at 40% usually does the trick. The last bit need not be melted as the melted chocolate usually has enough residual heat that it melts the rest.

    1. Thank you so much, Eva. It’s one of these desserts that make me gain weight already when I smell them 😉 The biscuits become soft overnight and the whole terrine is more harmonious somehow. German gingerbread cookies are probably similar to Speculoos in spices at least.
      I have just looked at your Chocolate Pâté. It is beautiful! Kelly told me that in Canada such desserts are called pâté, but in France they would definitely be called “terrine”. Too beautiful and too sophisticated 🙂
      I used to melt in microwave, but now I find the pan melting lazier (I melt in a pan and then add the remaining ingredients into the same pan… I’m very lazy 😉 ). I also don’t melt at 100% at the end.

  9. This is very dangerous!!! Last year during the holidays I learned to make chocolate bark and I had to make it several times to make sure I got it right. Now you show me this! Shame on you! 🙂 How dare you tempt us chocolate lovers with such a irresistible treat?! It looks as easy to make as bark which makes it even more dangerous; however, you know I’ll have to make it because I am definitely a chocolate lover!

    1. Thank you so much, MJ. I still remember your chocolate bark. It looked very dangerous too. And as easy as this unbaked cake…

  10. This sound and look delicious…I sure wish I could have a slice of this piece of sin…I can almost image how it must taste…yum!
    Thanks for the recipe Sissi and have a wonderful week 🙂

  11. Does this ever look good! Pure chocolate decadance, not to mention I love speculoos! My friend Sophie sent them to me from Belgium, and man, did I ever savour those!!

    1. Thanks a lot, Koko. I’m glad you also like Speculoos. They are very popular in France (sold in every supermarket).

    1. Thanks, Jed. It’s better to have company for this one, you are right. Otherwise it might end up in one tummy in one night 😉

  12. Haha Katerina is in trouble for your addiction! LOL! This year I tasted Speculoos for first time. In the US it’s sold as cookie butter and in the jar it also says Speculoos. It’s quite addicting flavor and I’ve been using it on toasts etc. This rich terrine must be so addicting and dangerous! But don’t worry, indulge during the holiday… 😉

    1. Thank you, Nami. Luckily we don’t have Thanksgiving festivities and rich food that is served then, so Christmas can be enjoyed without guilt. We also have the Speculoos spread! It’s addictive, don’t you think? Better than Nutella in my opinion. Speculoos biscuits have exactly the same taste.

  13. Sissi your terrine looks fabulous! I love this about blogging. Each blogger takes a recipe one step further and the recipe itself improves even more! It’s very easy isn’t it? I love this too! And it is amazing how elegant and tasty can be especially if one uses a good quality chocolate (like you did) and cookies! Thank you so much for your kind words, you made me blush and this doesn’t happen to me very often! As I told you your blog is a true inspiration to me since you make unique and ethnic recipes, I wouldn’t have known about otherwise! Have a beautiful weekend!

    1. Katerina, your compliments will make my whole weekend. You don’t know how much I appreciate them. I am very flattered that you approve of my version of your beautiful marquise. You are right: this recipe is so easy and, thus, so tempting to play with… To tell you the truth I already have some other versions planned. Thank you so much for your kind words and thank you for the constant inspiration.

  14. Oh my God…

    I normally like to write a longer comment, but that’s all I can say when I can see this… “Oh. my. God”.

    You’re dangerous, Sissi – you really shouldn’t have shown this to me… you don’t fully understand how weak I am for chocolate (seriously, I have to have it in the house all the time… otherwise I get “upset”). This looks incredible… Rich, indulgent, I’m wondering if it would work well with a very strong ginger cookie (did you ever try the British cookie “Ginger Nuts”?) – I quite enjoy speculoos but I think chocolate works really well with strongly spiced stuff, like ginger – it’s a perfect combination for me. I have a pot of “spreadable” speculoos in my refrigerator actually – a friend made some… I wonder if this could be incorporated into this, although it would lack the crunch then I guess.

    1. Charles, thank you for such an enthusiastic comment. I am very flattered to receive such compliments from a chocoholic. I am like you: I always keep dark chocolate in the kitchen and if one day I see there is only one, I run to buy a second one just in case I use the first one in baking and am left without chocolate. I am convinced you would love this simple chocolate treat, whatever biscuit type you use. My husband is a big fan of speculoos, so I always have them.
      Spreadable speculoos spread is so good, isn’t it? It’s sold in many supermarkets too. They have also started to sell speculoos “crumbs” (on the top of the terrine). Very practical in baking. Frankly the biscuits are no longer crunchy after a night in the fridge (I didn’t like the crunch when I tasted the terrine after one or two hours, but I like the difference of taste and texture softened biscuits bring).

  15. Sissi, you know how much I love chocolate…having a piece each night. This sounds delicious. I think I will have to make the double portion and then slice it in half because of the pan size. Does it need to be served straight from the refrigerator or could it sit out a little?

    1. Thanks a lot, Karen. Luckily I had this small pan because I would go crazy with a normal portion… It’s so addictive. It’s roughly a chocolate ganache, so you have to serve it cold (it’s like the interior of good quality chocolates from a chocolatier).

  16. Hi Sissi, so sorry for not catching up to date with my comments. (been having some serious health issues)
    Just love, love, your beautiful chocolate terrine. So festive, and such a fabulous shape, and form…it almost reminds me of fudge; but they are shaped in squares, and probably more dense. The addition with the coffee really gives it an ‘adult’ chocolate/coffee addiction. Such a creative, and innovative idea from you to take a recipe, and make it your very own by re-inventing it! Amazing:)

    1. Hi Elisabeth, I am sorry to hear that. I hope you feel better now; at least this is what I wish you with all my heart. I think I have also neglected visiting your blog. I’m sorry. It’s really chocolate ganache formed like a cake with biscuits inside, so it’s quite chewy as you say, but not as chewy as fudge. Thank you for compliments and for coming to visit me!

  17. Hi, Sissi. Sorry for being MIA for awhile. Having a bit of a family crisis. Taking a breather and WOW!! this would cure everything! Chocolate + Rum + Coffee … one lethal combination! Mmmm … let me dream …
    Is it really that easy? I’d definitely have to make this … another feel good dessert coming up! Thanks Sissi.

    1. Thank you so much, Ping. I’m glad you like this dessert. Yes, it’s ridiculously easy! I cannot imagine how anyone would spoil it (the only tricky part is chocolate melting if you have never done it before).

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