"Chinese New Year is full of food-related symbolism – fish represents prosperity, eggs mean fertility and lychees denote family unity. Two of the most common ingredients are spring rolls and oranges. Spring rolls are said to resemble gold bars with their shape and golden colour, while the Cantonese word for ‘orange’ is a homophone for the word for wealth’. This dessert combines both ingredients for a sweet treat that’s as lucky as it is delicious." Adam Liaw






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  • 10 small spring roll wrappers (12.5 cm squares) (see Note)
  • ¼ cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • 2 litres vegetable oil, for deep frying



  • 6 egg yolks (reserve ½ of 1 egg white)
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 2 cups full cream milk
  • ½ cup rice flour


Orange syrup

  • 1 orange
  • 1 tbsp orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier, used Cointreau or Triple Sec)
  • ¾ cup caster sugar

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling time 30 minutes

To make the custard, beat the egg yolks and sugar together until thick, then whisk in the rice flour and milk. Transfer the mixture into a small saucepan and heat over low-medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens and reaches a temperature of 82ºC. Transfer the custard into a bowl, allow to cool, then chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

To make the orange syrup, use a sharp knife or peeler to remove the rind from the orange, leaving the white pith behind. Finely slice the rind into very thin strips. Juice the orange and strain the juice into a cup. Measure the liquid and top up with water until it makes ¾ cup.

Place the liquid, sugar, orange liqueur and rind in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes until the syrup is reduced and thickened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Cut the spring roll wrappers into quarters and spoon 1½ teaspoons of custard in one corner. Roll the spring roll along the diagonal, folding in the edges and forming the custard into a cylinder as you roll. Seal each roll with the reserved egg white. Repeat this process using the remaining mixture.

Heat the oil in a wok or saucepan. When the oil reaches 150ºC add the basil leaves and cook for about 30 seconds until the basil is crisp and translucent. Increase the heat of the oil to 180ºC and fry the spring rolls in batches for 3 minutes or until golden, draining on a wire rack.

To serve, drizzle the orange syrup over the spring rolls and scatter with the fried basil. Alternatively, you can serve the syrup on the side as a sauce for dipping.



• Spring roll wrappers are available frozen from most supermarkets and Asian grocers. We used the Tee Yih Jia spring roll wrappers which come in 12.5 cm square sheets.


Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Sarah O’Brien. Food preparation by Suresh Watson. Creative concept by Lou Fay.