Biscuit baking has that wonderful ‘kid-in-a-pile-of-play-dough’ kind of joy about it, but this time, you can actually enjoy what you’re licking off your fingers. It’s that hands-first-into-the-mud-pie- sort of effect, where instead of muddy dirt, you’re getting chocolate chips. A slightly better experience I’ll say.
In the name of the humble adult version of play dough, enter the Anzac Biscuit.
In the world biscuits & cookies, Anzac Biscuits definitely fall into the ‘low maintenance’ (but equally lick your fingers good) category. A ‘wet and dry, then combine’ sort of method. Where although yes, effortless on the surface, the story behind the Anzac Biscuit is extra special.
The biscuit was originally made by the family members of Australian and New Zealander soldiers fighting in World War I. They were sent over to loved ones fighting on further shores and also sold during the war to raise money for war efforts. A perfect care package to receive as the biscuits didn't contain ingredients that would spoil easily. Since then, the biscuits, previously known as ‘rolled oats biscuits’ became the ‘Anzac Biscuit’ (standing for ‘Australia and New Zealand Army Corps), and have proudly become a treasured part of our baking repertoire.
Whilst yes, eaten almost all year round, there is one particular day that the biscuit stands as a strong token, Anzac Day. A day to honour the Anzac landing at Gallipoli, and the soldiers, past and present, for their courage, bravery and comradery.
Just like every year, some form of the Anzac biscuit makes a special show in the kitchen. Where as soon as the butter and golden syrup are melting away in the pan, the distinguishable aroma and buttery dough make it hard to resist eating it straight out of the bowl. Spoiler alert - I did.
This year the edges of a deep cake tin were lined with the biscuit dough and later filled with spiced stewed apples and topped with a crumble of Anzac biscuits, just for good measure.
Just to note, this isn’t your classic pie with a ‘no-soggy bottom rule’ (just as hilarious to say now as it was the first time I heard it). The base of the pie is cooked, yet it soaks up some of the sauce from the stewed apples. What you’re left with is this soft chewy spiced base covered in the sauce, and not to forget those classic crispy Anzac edges which you'll find up the side of the pie. A little variation that begs to be served warm with a generous scoop of ice-cream.
ANZAC & SPICED APPLE DEEP DISH PIE
200g whole oats
300g plain flour
400g caster sugar
120g desiccated coconut
160g/4tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp bi-carb soda
2 tbsp boiling water
6 apples, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
70g brown sugar
3 tbsp water
Grease and line a deep 8 inch cake tin.
In a large bowl mix together the oats, flour, sugar and coconut. Then in a small saucepan melt together the butter and golden syrup, stirring to combine. In a small bowl stir together the bi-carb and boiling water and add this to the golden syrup and butter pan, quickly mixing as it froths up, then pour all the liquid into the dry mix. Stir it all together until its well combined and there are no dry floury spots.
Press the biscuit dough into the base of the pan and up the sides of the tin to form a nice even layer, and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. There will be a small amount of dough left to sprinkle over the top of the pie and also enough to hopefully make around 6 cookies to save for a rainy day.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Make the stewed apples by combining the apple chunks, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, brown sugar, currents and water in a medium saucepan over low heat for around 15 minutes or until the apples are just soft. Return every couple of minutes to the pan to stir the apples to make sure they're being coated in the sugar sauce.
After the dough has been chilled, blind bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove the baking weights, and if the edges appear to be sinking down or rising too much, the dough is still malleable enough to repress back into the sides of the tin with the back of a wooden spoon. Fill with the stewed apples, trying not to transfer the stewing liquid into the pie. Sprinkle over the remaining Anzac dough and bake in the oven for a further 10-12 minutes or until golden brown on top.
Once the pie is cooked, leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, or until the Anzac shell has hardened and can be removed from the tin. Serve warm with a generous scoop of ice-cream.