Ah, Anzac Crack, one of the best desserts ever! This extravagant dressing up of classic Anzac biscuits comes from Julia Taylor, who quit life as a legal secretary to enter MasterChef Australia 2012 and launch a career as a pastry chef. She’s since trained with Darren Purchese and Adriano Zumbo. Julia is also a big fan of Netflix superstar Christina Tosi and this pie is an Aussie homage to Tosi’s famous, highly addictive Crack Pie, with a similar rich, gooey filling.
This recipe is a bit of a project but you don’t have to make it all at once, and you don’t have to make every element either. For example, simplify the recipe by just making the base and crack and serving it with cream. The chocolate mousse, of course, is a great dessert by itself. The whole dessert can be done in stages and the completed pie will sit happily in the refrigerator for a few days. You can also make it in small cake tins or in a square pan instead of the round springform tin.
For our non-Aussie or Kiwi friends, let me clue you into ‘Anzac’, which stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps. Anzac Day takes place on April 25, on the anniversary of the first major military action of these forces in World War One. April 25 was the day of landing at Gallipoli in Turkey, an offensive that turned into a disastrous stalemate, and eventually saw 8000 Australian soldiers die. On April 25, Australians and New Zealanders remember the sacrifice of our soldiers in all conflicts. Anzac biscuits are the edible symbol of this day of remembrance; this oat biscuit was sent by women at home to soldiers at the front. It’s enjoyed throughout the year, but especially around Anzac Day.
- 50 grams (2 oz) macadamia nuts
- 20 grams (0.7 oz) desiccated coconut
- 70 grams (2.5 oz) plain flour
- 60 grams (2.2 oz) rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 50 grams (2 oz) brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 50 grams (2 oz) butter, cut into cubes
- 30 grams (1 oz) golden syrup
- 80 grams (3 oz) demerara sugar
- 100 grams (3.5 oz) brown sugar
- 20 grams (0.7 oz) milk powder
- 20 grams (0.7 oz) breadcrumbs
- 1 heaped teaspoon salt flakes
- 130 grams (4.5 oz) butter, cut into cubes
- 70 grams (2.5 oz) egg yolks (about 4 eggs)
- 80 grams (3 oz) 35% fat (pouring) cream
- 3 gelatine sheets, gold strength
- 6-8 passionfruit, to yield 80 grams (3 oz) juice
- 110 grams (4.2 oz) white sugar
- 2cm fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 500 grams (17.6 oz) 35% fat (pouring) cream
- 60 grams (2.2 oz) sugar
- 100 grams (3.5 oz) egg yolks (about 5 eggs)
- 150 grams (5 oz) 70% dark chocolate pieces
- 60 grams (2.2 oz) milk chocolate pieces
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Keep the oven on as you work through this recipe because you will also need to cook the base and crack. Spread macadamias and desiccated coconut on a lined baking tray and place in oven for 5 minutes or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool slightly. Once cool, place in mixing bowl with the plain flour, rolled oats, bicarbonate of soda, brown sugar and ground ginger. Combine 10 sec/speed 5, then set aside.
- Place butter and golden syrup in mixing bowl and melt 2 min/100°C/speed 1 or until melted and starting to bubble. Add the dry ingredients and stir for 1 min/speed 2. Scrape down and mix for another 1 min/speed 2.
- Grease and line a springform cake tin of approximately 23cm (9 in). Roll the dough between two sheets of baking paper to 2mm (0.08 in) thick. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes, then use a knife to cut out a circle that will fit in the tin. Place the disc of dough in the tin, place in the oven and bake for 5 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Set aside. (You can bake the leftovers and eat them with a cup of tea.)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place demerara and brown sugar, milk powder, breadcrumbs and salt flakes in mixing bowl and grind to a fine powder 15 sec/speed 10. If not mixed through, scrape down and mix for another 10 sec/speed 10. Set aside.
- Place butter in the mixing bowl and melt 3 min/100°C/speed 2. Add the sugar mixture to the butter and mix 30 sec/speed 4. Add the egg yolks and cream and cook 1 min/60°C/speed 3. Pour the mixture over the Anzac base. Place tin in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. It will look bubbly around the edges and be wobbly in the middle. Place it straight in the freezer (on a tea towel to protect the freezer shelf) and chill for 1 hour or until firm.
- Soak the gelatine sheets in cold water until soft. Scrape passionfruit pulp into mixing bowl and mix 15 sec/speed 4 or until the pulp looks runny. Sieve to remove the seeds and pulp and weigh out 80 grams (3 oz) of juice. Set juice aside. (Discard pulp.) Place white sugar in the mixing bowl and blitz 3 sec/speed 9 to make caster sugar. Add the ginger and 110 grams (4.2 oz) water and cook 5 min/100°C/speed 1 to make a sugar syrup. Remove and discard ginger. Squeeze the gelatine sheets to remove excess water and add to the mixing bowl, along with the passionfruit juice. Cook 1 min/80°C (180°F)/speed 3 until the gelatine has dissolved. Gently pour on top of the set crack filling and chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours (or in the freezer for 1 hour), or until the jelly is set.
- Insert Butterfly. Pour 400 grams (14 oz) of the cream into mixing bowl. Whip 1 min/speed 3, or until whipped to medium peaks. Set aside. Clean and dry mixing bowl.
- Place sugar in mixing bowl and blitz 3 sec/speed 9 to make caster sugar. Insert Butterfly. Add egg yolks and remaining unwhipped cream. Cook 10 min/80°C(180°F)/speed 4 to make a thick, aerated sabayon. Set aside in a bowl. Clean and dry mixing bowl.
- Place dark and milk chocolate pieces in mixing bowl and melt 5 min/50°C(120°F)/speed 2, or until smooth, pausing to scrape down if the chocolate is sticking to the sides. Add the sabayon and mix for 1 min/speed 2. Add one third of the whipped cream and mix 10 sec/speed 3. Add another third of the cream and mix 5 sec/speed 3. Finally, add the remaining cream and mix 15 sec/speed 3 or until incorporated. Mix a little more with the spatula, then pour into a container and set in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
Open the springform tin and remove the tart. Cut into slices with a knife that has been warmed in hot water and serve with the chocolate mousse.
Dorotka Boulden in Queensland came up with this gluten-free variation…
- instead of flour, she used the same quantity of gluten-free flour (milled from 200 grams basmati rice, 160 grams arborio rice, 60 grams black chia seeds)
- instead of rolled oats, she used the same quantity of quinoa flakes
- instead of breadcrumbs, she used the same quantity of almond meal