It's been tradition for me to make a little something to celebrate Australia day, which is coming up this weekend. Although I don't actually do much on the actual day, it's fun to bake something for it. Last year was the hugely successful Milo and Chocolate Crackle Cheesecake and this time it is lamington themed.
I love me some lamingtons. They are quintessentially Aussie and taste so good when done well. This year I tried something a little different, making a biscuit version of the lamington. I made small, round versions of ladyfinger biscuits, like the type you use in tiramisu. These soft, spongy biscuits were perfect for my lamington-biscuit hybrid. Dipped in the typical chocolate icing and coconut and sandwiched with jam and cream, you end up with super cute bite-sized biscuit versions of lamingtons.
Originally I had planned to use fresh cream to sandwich the biscuits together, but then I realised that I would have to eat them all on the same day. As tempting as that was, I decided to try a mock cream recipe instead, which is essentially a whipped buttercream. It's a little heavier than a fresh cream mixture, but it means that you can store it at room temperature and it will keep for several days. But you can always switch it back to fresh cream if you are serving it at a party or skip the cream altogether.
Anyway I hope everyone enjoys their Australia Day long weekend. Mine will be extremely busy, as all my weekends have been recently. I really, really need a very long holiday with white sandy beaches and many, many cocktails.
Lamington Biscuits with Raspberry Jam & 'Cream'
(makes about 12-15 sandwiched biscuits)
For the ladyfinger biscuits (adapted from Cordon Bleu At Home):
3 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons (75g) granulated/white/caster sugar
3/4 cup (95g) cake flour, sifted (or 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch)
6 tablespoons (50g) icing/confectioner's sugar
To dip: 2.5 cups (about 250g) icing/confectioner's sugar + 4 tbsp cocoa powder sifted together, 1/3 cup milk, 10g butter (about 1 tbsp), 100g dark/semi-sweet chocolate, 1 cup dessicated coconut
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F) degrees and line two baking trays with baking paper.
- Beat the egg whites using an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form.
- Gradually add sugar and continue beating until the egg whites become stiff again, glossy and smooth.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them into the meringue, using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
- Sift the flour over this mixture and fold gently until just mixed. It is important to fold very gently and not overdo the folding. Otherwise the batter will deflate and lose volume resulting in ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy.
- Fit a pastry bag with a 1cm plain tip (you can also use a Ziploc bag with the tip cut off) and fill with the batter. Pipe 3cm circles, leaving at least 2cm space around each one.
Sprinkle half the icing/confectioner's sugar over the piped batter and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers their characteristic crispness.
- Very carefully, hold the baking paper in place in two corners with your thumbsand lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it on the work surface to remove excess sprinkled sugar.
- Bake the biscuits for 5-6 minutes, then rotate the trays and bake for another 3 minutes or so until the puff up, turn lightly golden brown and are still soft.
- Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the biscuitsfrom the baking tray with a metal spatula while still hot, and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Place all dipping ingredients except the coconut in a large heatproof bowl and whisk together over a pot of simmering water (or zap it in the microwave in 30 seconds bursts if you're lazy) until smooth. Place coconut in a separate bowl.
- Dip rounded side of biscuit in the chocolate and allow the excess to drip off. Then dip into coconut to completely coat the chocolate. Return to the wire rack to dry. You can store dried biscuit in an airtight container until ready to fill, I made mine a day before filling.
For the mock cream filling:
(adapted from this recipe, can be substituted with fresh cream whipped with a bit of icing sugar or skipped entirely)
110g (about 1/2 cup) butter, softened
120g (about 3/4 cup) icing/confectioner's sugar, sifted
Boiling water, about 60ml (1/3 cup)
Cold water, about 40ml (about 2 tbsp)
- In a medium bowl, dissolve icing sugar with 1 tbsp boiling water, so that it forms a paste.
- Beat butter until soft and creamy, then add icing sugar, a little at a time and beat until white and creamy.
- Add 1 tbsp of boiling water, beat again, then add 1 tbsp cold water.
- Continue beating until smooth, then repeat with another 1 tbsp of boiling and cold water alternatively, until icing sugar has dissolved into mixture and it is light and fluffy. You may need to add more water if it is still too thick.
About 1/2 cup raspberry jam, strained to remove seeds
- Use a spoon or knife to spread a thin, layer of jam on the bottom side of one biscuit.
- Pipe or use a spoon to spread a dollop of mock cream (or real cream) on the bottom side of another biscuit and sandwich together with the jam side. This step can be skipped if you prefer only jam.
- Repeat with the remaining biscuits. Can be stored in an air-tight container for several days if using mock cream, must be served immediately if using fresh cream.