Lamingtons for The Pearl Sister

 The Pearl Sister by Lucinda Riley, and fourth in her Seven Sisters series, is one of the best she's written yet.  But, of course, I thought that after each one.  I've absolutely loved them all.  She has a way of telling a truly mesmerizing story, that draws you into a place you don't really want to leave.  What a fantastic writer!

This being one of a series, I would suggest you start with her first novel in the progression, if you haven't already,  The Seven Sisters, which is a totally engrossing and excellent read.

The Pearl Sister story follows CeCe, the artist of her family, struggling with dyslexia, and with fitting into the London art world.  Unsuccessfully trying to find her personal metier, she finally drops out, feeling a like a failure.

After the death of their adoptive father, each of the sisters receive a letter and some clues as to their biological origins, to follow up on as they choose. CeCe's story is told back to back with that of an ancestor she discovers from her clue.  From the Publishers:

"CeCe D’Aplièse has always felt like an outcast. But following the death of her father .... she finds herself more alone than ever. With nothing left to lose, CeCe delves into the mystery of her familial origins. The only clues she holds are a black and white photograph and the name of a female pioneer who once traversed the globe from Scotland to Australia.

One hundred years earlier, Kitty McBride, a clergyman's daughter, abandoned her conservative upbringing to serve as the companion to a wealthy woman traveling from Edinburgh to Adelaide. Her ticket to a new land brings the adventure she dreamed of…and a love that she had never imagined.

When CeCe reaches the searing heat and dusty plains of the Red Centre of Australia, something deep within her responds to the energy of the area and the ancient culture of the Aboriginal people, and her soul reawakens. As she comes closer to finding the truth of her ancestry, CeCe begins to believe that this untamed, vast continent could offer her what she’s always yearned for: a sense of belonging."

I learned more about the Aboriginal people, their art and culture from this book than I picked up while living there for a short time!  On the way to Australia, CeCe finds love on a beach in Thailand, and then a great friend/soul sister in the Outback.

Chrissie made Lamingtons for CeCe, an Australian National treat, and apparently a quintessential part of every Australian's childhood. The little sponge cake is dipped in chocolate icing and then rolled in shredded coconut. These sweets are sold at school fairs and bake sales around the country. These days, Lamingtons are also commercially produced, however, they don't taste as good as the homemade versions (so I hear - well of course not). Somehow I had missed these altogether while Down Under.  So, what a perfect opportunity to give them a whirl.

I used David Lebovitz's recipe, and as as he's such a baking wizard, ignored all the others.  You can upload it here to make a perfect Easter Dinner dessert.  Just be prepared for getting things really messy in the process.  You dip the little cakes into the chocolate - yes with your hands - then into the shredded coconut, then do the next one, by which point it's all over your hands, and the counter.  Ha ha....have fun!  Mine were not cut into exactly equal squares, but no one is going to care.  At all.  Seriously good.

I am going to share these treats with my women's group Saturday, and have some for Easter Dessert.  Hopefully.  Also to be shared with you, via Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking event.  Do stop by and bring a treat or just to get some good ideas for cooking and reading.


jama said...

Never heard of Lamingtons! They look and sound yummy. What a fun post. Thanks. :)

Judee Algazi said...

The book sounds very interesting. Do I have to start at the beginning of the series or can I dive right in?

Claudia said...

Judee, I would dive right into the first one first. The Seven Sisters is such an enjoyable read!

Beth F said...

I've never heard of Lamingtons either, but they sure look perfect for a holiday meal (or, well, anytime!). What's a little mess for such a great outcome?

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Add me to the list of people who never heard of Lamingtons, but they look great!

Carole said...

I had a friend who always took a plate of lamingtons to parties. But one of them was made of foam rubber coated like the others. They would then watch to see who ended up with biting into the rubber one. Would be good for April Fool's! Cheers
PS Lamingtons are an old favourite in New Zealand as well

Esme said...

I never once had a lamination when I lived in Australia. I may just have to return to try one.

Tina said...

Many years back I read everything I could get my hands on about Australia. There was a cookbook with Lamingtons and I made them, you ought to have seen the mess in my assembly line in the kitchen! Great treat, yours look wonderful.
Now I would like to read this series of books too.

Mae Travels said...

Lamingtons seem to be a real favorite with several Australian bloggers that I follow. I've never tried them, but they sound pretty delicious!

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Rob said...

I had my first lamington last year on holiday. Very tasty! They come in some other flavours too, although I don't know if that's considered blasphemy or not.