Vanilla slice

Serves 8

2 bought puff pastry sheets
250ml (1 cup) milk
1 vanilla bean, split
3/4 cup cornflour
1/2 cup custard powder
220g (1 cup) caster sugar
750ml (3 cups) thickened cream
50g unsalted butter
3 egg yolks
Icing sugar, to dust

1. Preheat oven to 210°C. Line a 23cm square pan with aluminium foil, so that the foil comes up over the sides (this allows you to lift out the slice).
2. Place each pastry sheet on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper, then bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool. Once cool, place 1 pastry sheet, cooked-side up, in bottom of pan. (You may need to trim it slightly to fit.)
3. Place milk in a pan over medium heat. Scrape in vanilla seeds and add bean too. Warm gently, then set aside for 10 minutes.
4. Place cornflour, custard powder and caster sugar in a pan. Strain milk, discarding bean, into pan with cornflour and whisk until smooth. Add cream, then return to heat, stirring constantly, over low heat until the mixture thickens and boils. Add butter, stirring well to combine, then remove from heat and whisk in egg yolks, one at a time, until smooth. Pour into pastry-lined pan and set aside to cool slightly before placing other piece of pastry, cooked-side up, on top. Refrigerate overnight.
5. Remove from pan, cut into squares and dust with icing sugar.

Begin this recipe the day before.


Lamington or Lemmington – The word lamington means layers of beaten gold. An Australian dessert of little cubes or squares of sponge cake, dipped in chocolate, then rolled in coconut. In Victoria (State of Australia) they often add a layer of raspberry or plum jam.

Makes 16 (2-inch) Lamington squares

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
Chocolate Frosting (see recipe below)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F. Place oven rack to middle position. Either butter or spray the bottom and sides with non-stick cooking spray of an 8-inch square baking dish; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
3. In another bowl using your electric mixer, beat the butter until soft. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each egg addition. Add the vanilla extract to the mixture and mix well. Use a spatula to alternately mix in the sifted flour mixture and the milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with flour.
4. Spread the batter into the prepared cake dish and smooth the top with a spatula.
5. Bake approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven. Let the cake cool in the baking dish for approximately 7 minutes and then invert it onto a wire rack to let cool.
6. Once the cake has cooled, cut it into 16 (2-inch squares) and wrap each square of cake in plastic wrap. Place the cake squares in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (more is better). Hint: You can also freeze the cake squares. Frozen cake squares are much less crumbly when rolling in the runny icing. You have to work quickly though because they thaws fast.

To assemble the Lamingtons:
1. Place some paper or plastic wrap under the wire racks to catch any dripping frosting. Place the cake squares on the racks and have your warm Chocolate Frosting and coconut ready. NOTE: If the frosting starts to set while using, stand bowl in hot water until frosting thins down.
2. Quickly spoon or ladle the warm Chocolate Frosting over the chocolate squares, and then let the cake drain. Coat each cake square on all sides in the Chocolate Frosting. NOTE: It is best to just do a few cake squares as a time.
3. Using a small knife or spatula, gently roll each coated cake square in the coconut. Repeat with remaining cake squares. Set the cakes aside to dry before serving.
4. Once the Lamingtons have set, store in an airtight container for several days.

Chocolate Frosting:
4 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
2 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut

1. Place the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, butter, and milk in a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
2. Stir the mixture until it is smooth and of pouring consistency. Remove from heat. 
NOTE: You don't want the liquid to get too thin as the cake won't absorb the frosting properly.

Chocolate Ripple Cake

A classic Australian dessert

300ml cream
1 tsp castor sugar
Vanilla essence
1 pack Arnott’s Chocolate Ripple Biscuits
Crushed nuts, grated chocolate or seasonal berries to decorate

1. Add sugar and a drop of vanilla essence to the cream and whip until very stiff.
2. Join biscuits together by standing a biscuit on its side and sandwich with the next biscuit using a generous spread of cream. Continue until all the biscuits have been used and resemble a log.
3. Cover the log thickly and entirely with the remaining cream. Place in refrigerator for at least 6 hours to set.
4. Before serving, decorate log with grated chocolate, if desired.
5. To serve, cut cake at a slight angle to ensure alternate layers of chocolate biscuit and cream are in each slice. Serve with seasonal berries, if desired.


An Australian classic (from Perth)

4 egg whites
225g golden caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white wine vinegar
½ vanilla pod
284ml carton double cream
1 lemon , zested
450g berries , raspberries, strawberries, or blackberries or a mixture
1 tbsp icing sugar

1. Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Cover a baking sheet with baking parchment.
2. Whisk the egg whites with electric beaters until they just form stiff and shiny peaks. Gradually add the sugar a couple of tablespoons at a time and whisk really well between each addition.
3. When all of the sugar is used up continue whisking for 3-4 minutes or until the meringue is stiff and glossy and stands up in peaks, then whisk in the cornflour and vinegar.
4. Spoon the mixture onto the baking parchment and use a palette knife to make a circle about 20cm in diameter.
5. Put in the oven, turn the temperature down to 120C/fan 100C/gas ½ and cook for 1½ hours. Turn the oven off and leave the meringue inside until completely cold (you can make this the day before and leave to cool overnight).
6. Carefully peel off the baking parchment and put the pavlova on a serving dish. Don't worry if it cracks. Scrape the vanilla seeds into a mixing bowl, add the cream and lemon zest and softly whip, then spoon onto the pavlova. Mix the berries, spoon the fruit on top of the cream, dust with a little icing sugar and serve.

Australian Sponge Roll

Serves 3

3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3 Eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons favorite jam

1. To make this Australian dessert recipe, beat the eggs and sugar together for five minutes, mix the flour and baking powder together and stir them lightly in. Pour into a well-buttered tin and bake in a quick oven for eight or ten minutes.
2. Turn onto a damp cloth and roll up directly; warm the jam in a saucepan while the roll is cooking, and if it is very stiff mix in a spoonful of water.
3. Take the roll out of the cloth and lay flat on a piece of sugared paper, spread the jam on quickly and roll up again; place on a sieve till cold. Dust with powdered icing sugar, if desired.

Australian baked apples and rice

3 Large Apples
2 oz. Rice
2 oz. Sugar
1 tablespoonful Jam
1 Egg
1/2 pint Milk

1. Peel the apples and scoop out the core and fill in with jam; put into a pie-dish and bake till the apples are soft.
2. While they are baking, boil the rice and milk together till the rice is soft and the milk absorbed.
3. Beat in the egg and sugar, pour over the apples; brush over with milk, and bake till a nice color. Serve either hot or cold.

Fried Custard Squares

Serves 4

3 cups milk
1 long strip of lemon rind, pith removed
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup plus 1/4 cup plain flour, sifted
5.5 tbsp butter
Extra plain flour to coat
Superfine vanilla sugar to serve

1. Put the milk in a saucepan and add the lemon rind and vanilla. Bring just to a boil. Meanwhile, whip 2 eggs in a bowl until they are creamy, then whisk in the sugar. Add the flour and whisk to a smooth cream. Just as the milk comes to a rolling boil, whisk a ladleful into the eggs. Add another ladleful or two, whisking continuously to prevent the eggs from scrambling.
2. Spoon it all back into the milk pan and put over the lowest heat, whisking all the time. It will thicken quickly so you may have to remove the pan from heat for a minute and whisk vigorously until it is smooth. Put back on the heat for a few minutes to cook the flour, whisking until it is completely smooth and very thick.
3. Lightly grease a 6.5 inch by 11 inch baking pan and spoon the custard into the pan, smoothing the surface with a spatula. Let it cool and set completely. Turn it out on a large plate and cut into 2 inch squares.
4. Break the last egg into a small flat plate and scatter some flour on another plate. Melt 2 to 3 tbsp butter in a nonstick pan over medium low heat. Working in batches, dip squares of custard in the egg and then the flour to coat it lightly. Dust off excess and shallow fry the squares in the butter until golden on both sides, turning them gently. Add blobs of butter along the way to prevent burning.
5. Lift the squares out onto paper towels to drain. Serve warm, sprinkled with some vanilla sugar.

Anzac biscuits

There are a few theories on the origins of ANZAC biscuits but it is certain that they came about during the First World War, around 1914/15.

Some say that they started as biscuits made by the Troops in the trenches with provisions they had at hand to relieve the boredom of their battle rations. And some say they came about due to the resourcefulness of the women on the "home front" in an endeavor to make a treat for their loved ones using rationed supplies that they had available and that would survive the long journey by sea-mail to the war front.

There is even the suggestion that they originated from Scottish Oatmeal Cakes which is entirely possible. Whatever the origin, they have won the hearts of all Australians as the “National” Biscuit.

1 cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats (regular oatmeal) uncooked
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tbsp Golden Syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp boiling water

1. Combine the flour (sifted), oats, coconut and sugar in a bowl.
2. Melt the butter and Golden Syrup in a saucepan over a low heat.
3. Mix the bicarbonate of soda with the water and add to the butter and Golden Syrup.
4. Pour the liquids into the dry ingredients and mix well.
5. Spoon dollops of mixture, about the size of a walnut shell, onto a greased tin leaving as much space again between dollops to allow for spreading.
6. Bake in a moderate oven, 180C / 350F, for 15-20 minutes.
7. Cool on a wire rack and seal in airtight containers.