If there’s one thing Australians can’t get enough of, it’s Eurovision. We’ve laughed, we’ve danced, we’ve cried. The winners, the losers, the ridiculous outfits, the funny accents, we’ve embraced them all. What was once a way to unify Europe and bring a splash of colour and glamour to some dreary postwar years has become a celebration of all that is kitsch and high camp. Australians have embraced it and as a special reward, Eurovision has embraced us. As a one time bonus, Australia has been offered a wildcard entry to celebrate 60 years of Eurovision. This is very big news and cause for celebration for Eurovision fans such as myself and my friend Jason over at Don’t Boil the Sauce.
I write about Eurovision once a year (well, twice this year) but Jason does many, many posts in the lead up with dishes from various countries in heats and finals. He’s serious. So serious that he’s created a special ‘Australian Wildcard’ event for bloggers to enter a dish to be judged by readers. We were asked to create a dish that represented Australia but embraced the spirit of Eurovision. The theme was #BuildingBrunches. Dishes were to be photographed with ‘Eurovision Styling’. My immediate thought was to make something from the Golden Circle Cookbook as nothing says kitsch like that glorious Technicolor tribute to pineapple. I was going to be eating what I cooked so I decided that whilst truly on theme, lime jelly and pineapple rings were not my preference.
I decided upon a dish from Australian cook and stylist Donna Hay and adapted it for showbiz purposes. It showcases delicious new season pears and like all the best Eurovision acts, is glamorous, elegant and understated*. There’s a nod to Turkish influences as we get ready to commemorate 100 years of ANZAC and of course, it has the requisite ‘reveal’ with a hidden surprise. Douze Points.
I have drawn my Eurovision styling from vinyl singles I have collected over the years that have been taken along to various Eurovision parties. The eagle eyed amongst you may spy ‘Hold Me Now’ by 1987 winner, Johnny Logan.
Turkish Cinnamon Pear Pies
(Adapted from Donna Hay)
- 4 firm pears
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 cardamom pods
- 2 cups water
- 2 dark plums
- 2/4 cup caster sugar
- 40g butter, softened
- 3/4 cup cream, thickened
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1 cup ground almonds
- 1/4 cup self-raising flour
- 1/4 tsp rosewater
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- Peel pears and place in a medium saucepan with sugar, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods and water.
- Place on a medium heat and simmer until pears are tender but still hold there shape.
- Whilst pears are cooking, peel plums and scoop out four balls of plum (2 balls from each plum) with a melon baller or teaspoon. Set aside.
- Remove pears from heat and frain pears from syrup. Retain syrup.
- Whilst pears are draining and cooling, place plums balls in cooling syrup to allow them to soak up some of the flavours.
- Place all filling ingredients except egg white in a bowl and beat together until smooth. creamy and pale.
- Whip eggs whites in a separate bowl until soft peaks form
- Gently fold egg whites into filling mix, being careful not to knock out all of the air.
- Divide filling between 4 heatproof one and a half cup bowls or ramekins
- Take pears and gently scoop out a ball from the base of each pear the same size as the plum balls. This will remove some of the core.
- Drain plums from syrup and place a plum ball into the base of each pear. This is the hidden surprise that will be revealed.
- Gently push a pear into each bowl approximately a third of the way down.
- Bake in a 180c oven for 25 -30 mins until golden brown (watch the last few minutes so they don’t brown too quickly like mine did!)
- Serve with ice cream, cream or little silver disco balls
Make sure you visit Don’t Boil The Sauce to see how Chow Down to Eurovision progresses over the coming months!