As a child in primary school Anzac Day meant two things – school projects about Gallipoli and baking Anzac biscuits. As an adult I have a more reverent view about Gallipoli and the significance of Anzac but the wartime biscuits still have the same meaning. And so for Anzac Day this year I wanted to put together a recipe that was nostalgic and true to the original flavour of the Anzac biscuit but with an adult twist. I came up with this recipe for my Anzac Chocolate Cream Tart – it’s a tribute to those deliciously golden sweet biscuits that were popularised during the First World War combined with the grown up addition of chocolate, vanilla and fresh blueberries.
While the tart recipe calls for store bought Anzacs (they have their place!), I have vivid childhood memories of annual Anzac biscuit bake-offs at home. Each year the rolled oats, can of sticky golden syrup and dubious packet of opened desiccated coconut were liberated from the kitchen pantry along with the brown sugar, flour and butter. I can remember standing in the kitchen barefoot but still wearing my checked school uniform with my blue 20 cent Anzac ribbon pinned to the breast pocket rolling balls of the buttery biscuit mixture in my hands and pressing it lightly onto baking trays to form the perfect palm-sized discs. The Anzac biscuit batter was dead easy, some would say childproof, but somehow the end result was always, shall we say, ‘unique’. It was a bit like the tale of Little Red Riding Hood; some years the Anzac bikkie batches were too soft and would fall apart when dunked in a cup of milky tea, other vintages were too hard, so much so that one year our family suffered bleeding gums for days brought on by the over zealous measuring of golden syrup and too much baking time in the oven. But other times, the results were just right – Anzac biscuits with a slightly crunchy tooth feel on the outside and a soft and chewy centre. The biscuits were quick to bake and tasted delicious still warm from the oven.
Other childhood memories of Anzac Day include drawn out school assemblies standing in the quadrangle under the Queensland sun, which made us tetchy and less respectful than we should have been. The ceremony would include a cassette tape recording of the haunting notes of the Last Post, which always made me cry. Then there were the Gallipoli school assignments, which were a bit of a drag to a 10 year old. I recall using cheat notes purchased from a stand outside the local newsagency that helped enormously given that Internet search engines were a decade or so into the future.
In high school with not much else to do on a Public Holiday, I started to watch Dawn Services and Anzac Marches on the television and after seeing real life veterans, the spirit of Anzac began to feel more significant. I learned that my Nanna served in New Guinea as a wires operator during the Second World War and that she even performed on stage singing to the troops. Go Nan! Years later as a cadet Journalist living in Longreach I discovered that the veterans had a tradition of drinking rum and milk for breakfast on Anzac Day! It’s not my cup of tea nor coffee for that matter, but I love that the tradition exists.
This Anzac Day I have decided to test out another tradition. I am going to lob up to our local pub to see what all the fuss is about ‘Two Up’. I’ve never witnessed let alone played ‘Two Up’ so I’ll let you know how it goes and whether it holds its own against my preferred tradition of Anzac biscuit baking. Come in spinner!
- 300g Anzac biscuits
- 100g butter, melted
- 100g milk chocolate, chopped
- 100g dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar
- 200ml thickened cream
- Fresh blueberries
- For the tart shell, place the Anzac biscuits in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely crushed. Add the melted butter and process until well combined.
- Press the mixture into a 23cm round fluted tart tin with removable base and place the tart shell in the fridge for 30 minutes or until firm.
- For the chocolate cream filling, break the two types of chocolate into pieces and melt them together in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Add the vanilla extract and icing sugar to the thickened cream and beat until soft peaks form then gently fold into the cooled melted chocolate.
- Pour the chocolate cream mixture into the prepared tart shell and smooth the top with a spatula or knife.
- Chill for at least 3 hours or until set then decorate the top of your tart with fresh blueberries before serving.
- If you don't allow the chocolate to cool it may not combine well with the cream mixture.
- It is often easier if you leave the tart out of the fridge for 20 minutes before removing it from the tart tin.