Cookbook Review: Lamingtons & Lemon Tart

Hailed as Australia’s Willy Wonka, Darren Purchese is renowned for his stunning high-end dessert creations. Known as the chef with the tricks, with a scientific approach to food and ingredients, in Lamingtons & Lemon Tart, he turns his eye to the classics, cast with his trademark flair for the home cook who might be ambitious, but also wants to feel that the recipes are within their grasp—and that ingredients can be sourced with ease.

Alongside this line-up of classics, he includes a selection of his favourite modern creations, from Caramelized white chocolate mousse to Explosive raspberry wagon wheels; Lemon meringue pie éclair; Passionfruit clouds; and his big-selling Popcorn and honeycomb rubble. And, for the breakfast fans, Darren’s winning Granola, his take on American pancakes, and the decadent Brioche French toast with cinnamon ice cream.

Recipes are divided across eight chapters (cakes, choux pastry, desserts, snacks, tarts, breakfast, confectionary and frozen dessert), while Darren also takes readers through the basics of what he considers to be “sweet essentials,” including batters, confectionary, caramel, pastry, meringues, jellies, and chocolate garnish. Complete with stunning pared back photography, this package will set itself apart as the next big baker’s must-haves.

Lamingtons & Lemon Tart, Best-Ever Cakes, Desserts & Treats from a Modern Sweets Maestro, is available at and

Banana, Chocolate and Mango Bread

Photo by Patricia Niven

Serves 10–12

Everyone has a banana bread recipe but I want you to give this one a go. The addition of mango works so well for flavour and colour, but you could make this with banana only if you want. Just use a total of 520 g (1 lb 2 oz) banana flesh and omit the mango. Oh—and it has chocolate in it and it’s delicious. You need this in your life!


380 g (13½ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

220 g (8 oz) unsalted butter, melted

385 g (13½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar

2 vanilla beans, seeds scraped

3 eggs

320 g (11½ oz) overripe banana flesh, mashed with a fork

200 g (7 oz) mango flesh, blitzed to a purée in a blender

200 g (7 oz) dark chocolate, roughly chopped


Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F). Line a 28 x 13 x 6.5 cm

(11 x 5 x 2½ in) loaf (bar) tin with baking paper and spray it with canola oil.

Sift the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and nutmeg into a bowl.

Beat the melted butter, sugar and vanilla seeds with an electric mixer for 10 minutes on high speed. Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Mix for 5 minutes before adding the banana and mango. Mix for a further minute.

Mix in the dry ingredients using a spatula and add the chocolate.

Mix again to combine before turning the mixture into the prepared tin. Smooth and flatten with a small spatula or spoon.

Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until the top of the loaf is golden brown and it is cooked through. To test to see if the banana bread is cooked, insert a skewer into the centre and pull it out. If it comes out clean the banana bread is cooked through.

Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool for 30 minutes in the tin before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Serve immediately or wrap up for later.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Hardie Grant Books.

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