(In which Mr. P puts other people first.)
I think it probably doesn't need pointing out that the amount of lamingtons that are likely to be produced during a 10-day long lamington re-invention marathon will far exceed the number of lamingtons that one man alone can eat. I have no desire to be that man alone, and for this reason, Mr. Other P and his work mates (including an Australian!) will be my target lamington consumers for the duration of this task. (I love how official that sounds!).
This does not mean I will be asking them for flavour suggestions. Heck no, this is my project, MY PROJECT. But it does make sense, I feel, to try to go for things that I am at least sure some of them will want to eat and enjoy.
Thus we are kicking off with the Cherry Ripe Lamington, which is also a pleasing nod to a confection only available, at least to my knowledge, in Australia, home of the lamington. A Cherry Ripe is a bar made from coconut and cherries, coated in chocolate. Come to think of it, it isn't entirely unlike and inside-out lamington, only there's no cake, and the inside is a pleasing pink colour. I have no photographs, as the Cherry Ripes (along with the musk flavour Lifesavers!) that we brought back from our trip last year have long since been eaten ; Google images has been a good friend to me, however.
Now, I actually thought the Cherry Ripe was horrid. But Mr. Other P loves them - apparently an Aussie friend gave him one in Tokyo years ago, and now he's hooked. They do have a beautiful inside though, and the chance to recreate that as a lamington filling was too great to pass up.
There was only one ingredient I could think of that would give my lamingtons that sickly sweet cherry taste that comes from a Cherry Ripe, and that was everyone's favourite - the maraschino cherry. OK, I'm lying. I hate maraschino cherries, just like I hate glacé cherries. But it really was the only way I could think of! And actually, combined with cake and chocolate, not to mention huge amounts of coconut, the syrupy cherry flavour is muted. You still get plenty of cherry aroma though, which is a good thing as far as I am concerned.
I haven't had the feedback from his colleagues yet, but Mr. Other P and I really enjoyed the lamington you see sliced apart to show the distinctive Cherry Ripe-style filling. The important thing is to use top quality chocolate, and one that is as bitter and dark as possible - this filling is sweet enough to handle it.
These were the first lamingtons I made for the challenge, and I learned something rather important from the experience. Sandwiching two layers of cake together makes for ENORMOUSLY over sized lamingtons. In order to at least try and stem the growing obesity crisis, my recommendation is to use one layer of cake, and split it in half. Otherwise, these are good to go!
Cherry Ripe Lamingtons
You will need:
1/2 quantity Mr. P's Lamington Base
1 jar maraschino cherries (about 30)
400g dessicated coconut
100g sifted icing sugar
250ml double cream
400g plain chocolate, chopped
- Cut the cake into 16 squares - this will give you 8 lamingtons, or follow the above advice to get 16.
- Mix half of the coconut with the icing sugar, 50ml cream and the finely chopped maraschino cherries (reserve 8 for decoration if you like). Add some of the cherry syrup from the jar as well if necessary; you should have a thick paste. Set aside for 10 minutes, and stir again. The mixture should be pink.
- Melt the chocolate and remaining cream together, and allow to cool.
- Spread the tops of half of the cake squares with about 1 tbsp of the filling, and top with another cake square. Press together firmly.
- Dip these sandwiches into the chocolate and cream, before rolling them in coconut. It helps to put the coconut in a shallow dish.
- Stand on a wire rack to set for an hour or so. Top with a reserved cherry before serving, if wished.
Don't forget to Re-Invent the Lamington! Deadline 26 January.