Australian food is a reflection of Australia's history; a mix of European heritage, Aboriginal knowledge and nearby Asian influence. Nowhere is this shown more than in its desserts, the most delicious part of the meal.
The most famous Australian dessert is the pavlova, a meringue concoction which was created in honour of the ballerina, who visited Australia to much acclaim during the 1920s. This delicious cake is always served with fruit, often tropical fruits such as passionfruit and pineapple, as well as whipped cream, and is generally served as a cold summer dessert. A variation on the cake is the pavlova roll, where the pavlova is rolled up with cream and fruit, and then sliced.
Golden syrup dumplings are a warmer dessert which originate from the British heritage. Flour and sugar dumplings are dropped into a hot mixture of golden syrup and sugar to create a bubbling hot and delicious dessert, often served with ice cream. Golden Syrup is made from cane sugar and is used instead of corn syrup or honey, often poured over damper, the Australian bushman's bread.
Other European-inspired desserts including the Lamington, a slice of square sponge cake rolled in a mixture of chocolate and coconut. It's said that it was created as a way for housewives to use up stale sponge cake, although now fresh cake is used, and often the cake is filled with jam and cream. The Neenish tart, a jam tart covered with chocolate and vanilla icing, and the Frog cake, a cupcake covered in butter icing, are two other favourite cakes based on early European settlers' solutions to cooking in Australia.
Local foods reflect Australia's Aboriginal heritage, including Macadamia nuts and Wattle Seed, often used as flavourings in ice cream or with chocolate. Macadamia nuts have a soft buttery flavour while Wattle Seed is similar to coffee, and was used as a coffee substitute by early settlers.
More recently Asian cuisine has begun to influence Australian cookery. For example, deep fried ice-cream, a popular dessert in Chinese restaurants, may be flavoured with Wattle Seed, or Asian pancakes may have golden syrup poured over them.
Australian cuisine tends to be a mixture of different cultures, including Aboriginal, European and Asian, and the variety of desserts reflects this. They're simply delicious, and often quite simple to make. Recipes for the best Australian desserts vary, but can be found in cookbooks and on the internet. Try them and see!