For those who've never experienced the delights of ANZAC biscuits, they are made from rolled oats, butter and golden syrup, sometimes with coconut, and they taste delicious. Many myths surround the origin of these little bakes. It is generally assumed from their name that the biscuits were made by antipodean wives for their menfolk serving in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) during World War I. The recipe was supposedly created to ensure the biscuits would remain edible after lengthy periods of naval transportation to their loved ones fighting in Europe and North Africa. However, recent evidence suggests that these war-time provisions were shaped more like rock cakes and made from different ingredients, with ANZAC biscuits being created after the war as commemorative items for consumption on 25th April. Whatever the truth, they make an excellent snack on their own or, as in my case, a fine accompaniment to a fruit dessert.
ANZAC biscuit figured in my Australian Gastronomy Project menu in a dish that I conceived and described as Quandong Pavlova made with ostrich egg albumen, served with a forest peppermint ANZAC biscuit. A month ago the time came for me to cook one of the dishes on my menu for the final stage of my project and this was the dish that I chose. Unfortunately, I was unable to source either quandong or forest peppermint in London, even with help from The Australia Shop and the High Commission. As I hadn't left enough time to import the ingredients from Australia, I was forced to substitute English peaches and herbal peppermint instead. But it all worked well and the resulting dish was well received. As this piece of cooking was an examined part of my Diploma course, I thought it best not to take photographs or publish an article about it. But I was so pleased with the ANZAC biscuit that I determined to repeat the exercise at home a week or two later - and here are the results.
As I think I already explained in a previous post, the aim of the Gastronomy Project presentation was to chose a dish with historic significance and put a modern spin on it.
So these are my modernised ANZAC bikkies, incorporating today's much more accessible "exotic" ingredients: coconut and peppermint. In the absence of the forest kind, my peppermint was powdered oil extract, courtesy of health food retailers Holland & Barrett.
I deliberately made these much thinner than the classic version, and cut them into a tuile-type shape for über- modernity. I then finished them with a dusting of peppermint-infused icing sugar.
Judging from the rate at which they were scoffed, I'd say the experiment was a resounding success.