#101: Australia – Meat Pie + Lamingtons

Last weekend, I found that I had the better part of a day where I knew our only plans were to work on some stuff around the house (finally going through another box or two that had been hiding out in the garage since we moved) so I figured the time was ripe for a bit of a more involved country meal. I’ve made a few meat pies before and Matt had a craving, so I decided to make a simple Australian meat pie. The filling was a bit less than involved than some of my previous attempts so I was hopeful that this would allow me to focus a bit more on the dough and hopefully avoid some of the issues I’d encountered with making my own shortcrust pastry. Seems reasonable right? Wrong. This continues to be the albatross around my neck. I never have enough of the dough, it always ends up crumbly, and in the end while it tastes fine, it always looks like I gave up halfway through the process. Ironically, a few days after I made this there was an episode of the Kid’s Baking Show (UK) and there was a challenge that called for a shortcut pastry. They mentioned a few things to “watch out for” but I swear all of a sudden those kids had perfect crust. While the meat pie process left a lot to be desired, the end result tasting good (even though we ended up with only three pies and half a pound of leftover filling). hahaha So from now on, I may just opt to purchase the dough when I can.

Fortunately the dessert was well worth the effort and when it boils down to it, really quite simple. There were a number of Australian desserts to choose from and while I had been leaning toward making Lamingtons, my friend Joyce put it at the front of the line after telling me that she regularly seeks these out in cafes in Sydney. You essentially start with a simple butter cake and once that has cooled, you cut into squares and then coat with chocolate and roll in shredded coconut and then let set/harden for a bit in the fridge. I’m not normally a coconut person but for some reason I just loved that flavor here. It wasn’t overpowering and hit the spot for our Australian Saturday night.

Recipe I used (Meat Pie): I turned to a recipe from the Lonely Planet “Street Foods” book but you can find similar Australian meat pie recipes online.

Recipe I used (Lamingtons): https://www.recipetineats.com/classic-lamingtons/ and https://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Classic-Lamingtons/

Overall Level of Effort: 3

Skill Level: Intermediate

Would Make it Again? Yes to the Lamingtons, but probably not on the meat pie.

Additional Notes: I appreciated the tip in one of recipes to freeze the cake before dipping in the chocolate to avoid them crumbling. Great tip and I think helped a lot with that portion, though hopefully my next attempt will be a bit neater.

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