australia day lamington pie


It’s hard to believe it’s already the fourth day of February, 2016. The official last month of Summer and its long halcyon days. I’ve taken it upon myself to milk the very last drops from this season’s dwindling balmy nights, mostly by sitting near the back door as grassy breezes waft by. I’m drinking chilled Summer white, grilling fresh romaine and eating ripe stone fruit with juice dripping down my chin.

As I type, it’s nearing midday. I’m sitting on the couch in a t-shirt, barefoot, my skin tinged pink from yesterday’s sun-drenched day in the park. Yes, I know sunburn is bad. It definitely wasn’t intentional; to the contrary, I’m one who wears multiple layers of sunscreen and gravitates to every patch of impervious shade. I just have extremely low sun resistance, assumedly due to my English heritage and a distinct lack of adaptation during the 25+ years that I’ve lived in this hot climate (thank goodness that natural selection is rather antiquated amongst humans these days).



Enough about me and my feeble freckled complexion (slip, slop, slap, you young ‘uns out there). Back to the end of Summer and its lingering sweetness. It’s actually nice to meet February, it already feels like a positive month full of fortunate (some might say serendipitous) events. It’ll be Valentines Day in a week (any of you harping on about commercialism, I don’t wanna hear it. #helplessromantic), Aaron‘s birthday right after and a celebration party for my mama bear the following weekend (she’s five years clear of breast cancer this year, yussss).

Matt and I are also finally meeting Graz next week after many months (actually, years by now, argh) of waxing lyrical about burgers, hot sauce, ribs and other barbecue food. At a joint that serves burgers, hot sauce, ribs and other barbecue food (of course). I can’t wait. It’s the next best thing to actually realising the glory of the hallowed ‘burger off’ challenge that we’ve been planning for a few years now (read one of Graz’s posts about it here). Next time, when I actually own a backyard, we’ll be doing it Graz and Matt. Start trembling.


Anyway, the main crux of this post isn’t upcoming February wonderment. I want to take you back to the last week of January, during which roughly 23 million Australians celebrated something called Australia Day (I do realise and pay respect to the fact that there are mixed feelings attached to the celebration of our ‘national day’. Whilst I am not choosing to address political sentiment here, this message explains the current political standpoint).

For the majority of the population, ‘Aussie Day’ is characterised by time in the water (whether that be beach, bucket or pool), some sort of barbecue, beer, poorly executed face paint and the Hottest 100. Some also push the boat out with… well, a boat (usually in the shape of an inflatable thong).


We were definitely no different: we ate snags, we drank beers, we sang songs and soaked in the pool ’til our skin was soft and wrinkly. Some of us visited the Skyworks, as per Perth tradition.

But our barbecue was followed by Lamington Pie.



For those who don’t know, a lamington is a classic Australian dessert characterised by sponge cake (usually a square or rectangle) dipped in chocolate icing. The dipped cake is then rolled in dessicated coconut, occasionally sliced and sandwiched with jam and cream.

My idea to make a ‘pie’ version of a lamington this year was largely spontaneous, driven by a few types of coconut in the cupboard. In hindsight, I would’ve topped this pie with vanilla whipped cream rather than Italian meringue if I had some on hand (both for ease of construction and to channel a more ‘traditional lamington’ flavour). However, the meringue was equally delicious and stable for transportation in the January heat.

flag spa

If you’d like to replicate this pie, I’ve provided the ingredients and method for both Italian meringue and whipped cream below. As aforementioned, both versions have their advantages, though tasters of the meringue version (aka my friends at the Aussie Day party) stated that it was a little more like a ‘Bounty Pie’ than the traditional lamington cakes we scoffed as children.

If you try either version, please let me know your thoughts – particularly if you were a bake-sale lamington eater during your school days. I found that the soft chocolate layer reminded me of sticky lamington icing, particularly good against homemade strawberry jam, buttery pastry and a spoonful of cream.

To all my Aussie readers and friends, happy belated Australia day. May the last month of Summer be especially sweet.



Lamington Pie

Heavily adapted from Emma Knowles’ Chocolate Coconut Meringue PieGourmet Traveller magazine.

Sweet shortcrust pastry:

  • 250g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
  • 60g pure icing sugar
  • 160g cold butter, cubed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • splash of ice water
  • lightly beaten egg, extra (for egg wash)

Chocolate layer:

  • 120g desiccated coconut
  • 200g good quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup cacao powder, sifted
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut nectar, to taste
  • 300 ml pouring cream (I actually used half and half sour cream and regular cream)
  • egg yolks
  • good pinch of salt
  • 3-4 tbsp strawberry or raspberry jam

 Italian meringue (or substitute whipped cream option, below *):

  • 220g (1 cup) white caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125mL) water
  • egg whites
  • splash of lemon juice or white wine vinegar

To serve: 

  • shaved coconut, toasted (optional) 

Sweet pastry: Sift the icing sugar, flour and a pinch of salt into a medium sized bowl. Add in the cubed, cold butter and rub in until the mixture reaches a ‘sandy’ consistency. Add in the egg yolk and a splash of cold water, then mix (with your hand or a spoon) until the dough starts to ‘come together’. Turn out onto a floured work surface, bring together with the heel of your hand and knead until smooth. Form the dough into a flattened disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour to rest.


After your pastry is rested, roll it out onto a lightly floured surface to 2mm thickness. Carefully transfer into a  4cm-deep, 24cm-diameter tart tin, pressing to fit. Trim off any stray edges and refrigerate for 1 hour (in the meantime, prepare your chocolate filling).

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees f) and remove your tart case from the refrigerator. Line with baking paper and weights (baking weights or some dried rice or beans). Bake for 6-8 minutes or until the edges are golden. Remove the weights and paper, prick gently with a fork. Bake for a further 5 to 7 minutes or until the base is light golden and starting to dry. Gently brush the half-cooked case with egg wash, then bake again for 4-5 minutes or until dark golden. Set aside to cool.

Chocolate layer: Whilst blind baking your pastry case, toast the desiccated coconut on a lined oven tray until light golden (5-6 minutes). Set aside. Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl and set aside. Bring cream to the boil in a medium saucepan over low heat, then pour onto the chocolate. Leave for 5 minutes or until the chocolate starts to melt, then mix through. Sift over the cacao and mix again.

Whisk eggs and 1 tbsp warm water in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water until pale and thick (if you can’t control the heat of your gas or electric hob well, I’d recommend turning it off once the water starts simmering – there should be enough residual heat to thicken the eggs). Gradually pour the mixture into your chocolate and cream mix, whisking until thick and well combined. Taste, then add in coconut nectar and sea salt to your preference (bear in mind that you’ll be folding through toasted coconut). Finally, fold through the toasted coconut. Set aside until your tart case is baked and cooled.

When your tart case is cold, spread the raspberry or strawberry jam across the base. Pour over the chocolate mixture, smooth the top with a spoon and refrigerate until firm (about 2 hours). Top with either Italian meringue or whipped cream (both options below).

Italian meringue: Stir the sugar and water together in a saucepan over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and cook, brushing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to remove sugar crystals, until syrup reaches 115 degrees C (240 degrees f) on a sugar thermometer (approximately 6-8 minutes).

Whisk the egg white, lemon juice or vinegar and a pinch of salt together with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Continue cooking syrup for another 3 minutes or until a sugar thermometer reads 121 degrees C (250 degrees f), then slowly drizzle the hot syrup into the egg white, whisking consistently until thick and glossy. Cool to room temperature, if necessary, then spoon over the refrigerated tart.  Toast the meringue with a blowtorch if desired, and/or top with toasted shaved coconut. Refrigerate until serving.

*Whipped cream option:

  • 2 cups cold thickened cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 whole vanilla bean, seeds scraped out

Add the cold thickened cream to the bowl of your electric mixer. Add in the vanilla extract and vanilla paste (or seeds), then whisk until stiff peaks form (about 4 to 5 minutes). Top the chocolate layer with the whipped cream and toasted coconut, if desired. Refrigerate until serving.


A few shots from Australia Day Skyworks, City of Perth CBD:

works1 hawk works3

51 responses

  1. Gosh, that pie looks good. Your celebration seems a bit like our 4th of July over here with fireworks, picnics and general summer fun. I still wish you would bring me a piece of that pie. Alas, our kids don’t eat chocolate, so it would be just Jerry and me eating that entire pie. While we could do it, my jeans are already super tight on me, and I think a half of this pie might make matters worse. So, when the day comes that we meet, perhaps we can make this pie and celebrate with a barbecue (courtesy of Mr. Predmore), a few beers (or peat whiskey for the two of you) and this pie. Deal?? xxx

    • Most definitely a deal! That sounds perfect. Super perfect, even. Maybe I can make another fruity apple-y pie for the enigmas who don’t eat chocolate… and you and I can polish off the lamington leftovers (we can all wear stretchy pants). Thanks so much lovely xxx

  2. Laura what a wonderful day, yes as Julia said it is very much like our July 4th celebration. The tart looks so good, I love it, I have had Lamington’s and they are delicious and your tart looks just as wonderful. Also, your photo’s are AMAZING!!!

    • Aw thank you Suz, I appreciate it! I do love lamingtons, they’re definitely one of my favourite sweet treats. So fun to try and bend the traditional recipe into a pie. Yay for pastry ;) xx

  3. What a lovely celebration Laura. Since we are in the dregs of winter here in Michigan, a look at your summer celebration makes me smile. I’ve never heard of a lamington before, but your pie version sounds quite delicious! The toasted Italian meringue on top makes the dish look quite classy :-) I received a blowtorch for my birthday last year and I’m always excited when I can break it out to use!

    • Oh my gosh, it’s so much fun using the blowtorch! Though my dog isn’t so appreciative (he gets a little ‘shocked’ by the noise, he was barking at it when I made this pie, haha!). Stay warm over there! xx

    • Thanks David! Haha… a lamington pie didn’t exist until I made one ;) But the actual lamington cakes are an Aussie classic (I think you might like them). Stay warm, hope that you and Mark had a lovely Valentines day x

  4. Happy Belated Australia Day! This pie is over the top with delicious creamy dreamy chocolate and mounds of Italian Meringue. I am sure it was a very special day. This week is CNY so the festivities are in full force here now too.

    • Thanks so much lovely! Hope that you’re having a fun and prosperous start to CNY. My mother and her friends had an Asian feast on Saturday to celebrate, she’s given me a box of custard tarts that they got from the local Chinese bakery! I am very much looking forward to munching on some :)

    • Thanks so much lovely! I know exactly what you mean. I do wish in some ways that I lived in a snowy climate so I wouldn’t have to get skin cancer checks all the time, haha. But there are beautiful things about the sun too. I got up at 6am today and it was already bright and beautiful! Stay warm xx

  5. It seems to me you are making the most of every last minute of summer. I too hadn’t heard of a Lamington Pie but your version sounds and looks wonderful.

  6. Hi Laura, I have been hearing about this pie and it looks amazing, sounds like you are having a wonderful summer. My cousins grew up in Australia and have the most beautiful accents. Happy Australia day to you, beautiful pics!!!

    • Haha, thank you Cheri! Yes the Aussie accent is quite special isn’t it, a little laidback (as per the cultural attitude, haha). Australia Day is definitely my favourite holiday. Thanks for the kind words :)

  7. You really know how to whoop it up! Souds like a great time and this pie/tart of yours looks fantastic. It seems like it was first created with a celebration in mind. Very festive!

    • Thanks Ksenia! Well, having a regular lamington is more than many other people could say! I actually prefer the soft spongecake ones despite liking the look of the pie. Maybe next time ;) xxx

  8. HI Laura!! Thanks for sharing your Australia Day! We have friends who moved to Melbourne this year and love it! But i haven’t hard their Australia Day report yet. Loved all the fireworks/bar-b-que/pool photos! And– that tart looks luscious!! Have a question– what is coconut nectar? Could I use coconut cream or coconut milk? I agree about the whipped cream– love that stuff. Glad you had a fine celebration and are enjoying the last weeks of summer… Fun post friend! xox

    • Oh golly. It’s amazing how a single day can cover two extremes across the continents! Sorry for the late reply to this, my blog somehow spambotted your message. Weird. Thanks Nicole xx

  9. Such lovely photos Laura! I LOVE your lamington pie..just gorgeous! And yes to meringue any day. Enjoy the rest of Feb lovely! Summer is my favourite season and I hate to see it go:-(

    • Haha, thanks lovely! Yeah this year is coming along ok. Still ups and downs as we all have, but life is pretty good! Hope you’re going well too? And thanks for the props re the photos, they were fun to take xx

  10. You know, I don’t know what I would do if I lived in Australia. I would get so confused by the difference in seasons and times. The end of summer in Feb? I don’t think my brain could process it. This is really cool. I’ve seen lamington before, but only in the bars.

    • Haha, I definitely understand what you mean. It’s opposite, upside down, whatever you want to call it! Most Brits call Australia ‘down under’ for that reason. I’m used to it now but a warm Christmas still has its problems for me :) Thanks so much Whit, I appreciate you stopping over! xx

  11. That tart aka pie looks extremely fabulous even! waw! It looked that you all had a fab time celebrating Australia Day! ooh yes!
    Thanks so much for sharing with us all! xxx

  12. Pingback: in my kitchen + autumn « Laura's Mess

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