“Lamingtons take a bit of effort, but if made as part of a big afternoon tea spread they will inevitably be the first empty plate to be removed,” says Al Brown in his latest recipe book, Eat Up New Zealand: The Bach Edition.
Here, Brown gives the distinctive coconut-and-cream sweet a summery twist by using passionfruit, which he says creates “a striking yellow – and particularly delicious – lamington”.
One tip: if you’re short on passionfruit juice, use half orange juice.
Al Brown’s passionfruit lamingtons
Prep time: approx. 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20–25 minutes
4 eggs at room temperature, separated
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup (220g) sugar
¾ cup (310g) plain flour
1 cup (125g) cornflour
2 tsp baking powder
2 gelatine leaves
1 cup (250ml) passionfruit juice
1 cup (220g) sugar
2 cups (180g) coarse desiccated coconut
1 cup (250ml) cream
¼ cup (30g) icing sugar
6 passionfruit (optional), to serve
Preheat your oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 30x24x5cm rectangular cake tin with butter or oil.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or using a handheld electric whisk, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff, then slowly incorporate the sugar, beating until the granules are dissolved. Now add the egg yolks, beating in one at a time.
Pour the batter into a large bowl, then, as lightly as possible, sift and fold in the flour, cornflour and baking powder.
Pour the sponge batter into the prepared cake tin. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 20–25 minutes, until lightly golden. A skewer inserted into the centre of the sponge should come out clean.
Remove from the oven and let the sponge cool completely in the tin.
For the passionfruit syrup, bloom the gelatine leaves in a small bowl of cold water for 5 minutes, until soft and pliable.
In a small saucepan, combine the passionfruit juice and sugar. Place over medium-low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove and let cool slightly.
While the passionfruit syrup is still hot, drain and squeeze dry the gelatine leaves, then stir into the syrup. Set aside.
Take a serrated knife and carefully trim and slice a couple of millimetres from the outer layer of the sponge, then cut into lamington squares.
To finish, dip the edges of the sponge squares into the passionfruit syrup, then press into the coconut. Repeat until complete, then refrigerate.
Split the lamingtons in half and place on a clean tray.
Whip the cream and sugar together to form semi-soft peaks. Top the inner side of a lamington half with cream, then top with the other lamington half. Refrigerate until required.
Serve on a small plate with a fork, add extra cream if you like and, if you have fresh passionfruit, I like to serve a little fresh pulp on the side.
This is an edited extract from Eat Up New Zealand: The Bach Edition by Al Brown, photography by Josh Griggs, published by Allen & Unwin NZ, RRP $49.99.