While no original Anzac diggers are left and the number of World War II veterans is sadly diminishing, isn’t it wonderful to see so many more young Australians rising before the sun to attend dawn services.
From our place we head down the beach by 5am to Currumbin Surf Club, where thousands of “mates” are already gathered. A very special Anzac commemoration begins. A service steeped in history and tradition that’s now broadcast around Australia. If you’re coming to Currumbin, I’d suggest getting settled in the night before or taking the RSL’s park & ride offer which commences at 3.30am. The official March starts at 4.45am.
If you let the half-light of dawn play tricks with your eyes, Currumbin Beach takes on Gallipoli-like form. At that favoured time of attack, the shadows, pounding waves and rocky outcrops set the scene. 97 years fly by and that foreign beach doesn’t seem quite so far away. Millions of silent messages sent to lost Aussie soldiers.
This recipe is an original, sourced from the Australian War Memorial, as provided by Mr Bob Lawson - an Anzac present at the Gallipoli landing. Any believer in tradition will resist the temptation to tamper with this recipe. Despite modern adaptations, these biscuits never need chocolate cream filling, fruit, nuts or dipping in melted choc to make them taste this good. There’s less butter and syrup in this original one too. I use brown or white sugar.
The Original Anzac Biscuit Recipe
Ingredients - 1 cup each of plain flour, sugar, rolled oats and desiccated coconut ❤ 4 oz butter (115 grams) ❤ 1 tablespoon treacle (golden syrup) ❤ 2 tablespoons boiling water ❤ 1 teaspoon bi-carbonate soda, dissolved in the boiling water
Method - Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Lightly grease your largest biscuit tray or cover with baking paper.
Combine all the dry ingredients. Melt together butter and golden syrup in a medium sized saucepan. Combine water and bi-carb soda and add to the pan. Add to dry mixture and combine. Drop teaspoons of mixture onto tray, allowing plenty of room for spreading. No need to flatten the tops down before cooking.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to cooling racks. They do harden on cooling. Makes approx 2 dozen.
If my family doesn't want porridge for breakfast and I can’t resist baking something else with rolled oats, I’ll make this ‘anzac’ tart base and bake it with a light passionfruit filling for afternoon tea.
Passionfruit Anzac Tart
Ingredients - for the Anzac Base - 1 cup plain flour ❤ 1 cup desiccated coconut ❤ 1 tablespoon golden syrup ❤ ½ cup quick rolled oats ❤ 100 grams butter ❤ ½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
for the Filling - 4 free range eggs ❤ 1 cup white sugar ❤ ⅓ cup plain flour ❤ pulp of 2 passionfruit ❤ juice and rind of 2 limes or lemons ❤ 1 ½ cups (12 fl oz) cream
Method - Preheat oven to moderate 180°C (350°F). Grease a 4cm deep 22-23cm round loose-bottom tart tin.
Sift flour into a medium sized bowl and add coconut and oats. Toss to combine with your fingertips. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt and combine the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in butter mixture. Combine with a wooden spoon and transfer to tart tin. Press out and evenly spread and smooth base mixture over bottom and sides of tart tin. The base shouldn’t be too thick. Bake for 15 minutes.
While the base is cooking, make the filling. Whisk eggs and sugar together until pale. Sift flour over the top and add passionfruit pulp, citrus juice, rind and cream to the bowl. Stir well with a wooden spoon to combine.
Pour carefully over the cooled tart shell and bake for a further 40 minutes or until set in the centre. Allow to cool completely in the tin before serving. Serves 10. You can also use this filling in your regular sweet pastry tarts, large or smaller individual ones.
Lest we forget
A beautiful and respectful shop window last Anzac Day.