With half a packet remaining from my previous recipe using brick pastry, I thought it would be a good way to use some of the native Australian ingredients I had both in the freezer and spice pantry. Also referred to as a wild peach, the quandong is a small, tart fruit that comes from a tree that grows in semi-arid regions of mainland Australia.
For thousands of years Aboriginal people have been eating the bright red quandong in fresh or dried form as well using its leaves, seeds and roots for medicinal purposes. Early European pastoralists even used the fruit to make preserves and pies as well as infuse the leaves to add to damper. Commercial plantations of the quandong tree may be minimal but one good thing is they’re available to purchase online or at specialty food stores.
What I’ve made here is an easy, almost Christmassy, brick pastry parcel loaded with tart quandongs, fresh blackcurrants and sweetened with jaggery and marsala wine. The quandong may be the Australian hero in this dessert but I’ve also incorporated another Aussie native. The wattleseed, with its nutty, chocolatey and coffee-like flavour. I pounded the seeds with jaggery for a sweet and nutty sugar to sprinkle over the dessert.
Heat a skillet over medium flame, add half the butter and allow to melt. Reserve the other half for brushing. Add the chopped quandongs and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the 3 tablespoons of jaggery, marsala and blackcurrants and stir. Allow to simmer gently until half of the wine has reduced, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool completely.
Pound the wattleseeds in a mortar, adding the 2 tablespoons of jaggery until the seeds are fine and powdery. Set aside and preheat the oven to 220°C.
Using scissors, cut a 5 mm strip from the outer edge of 2 of the pastry rounds. You’ll use this as “string” to secure the parcel. Melt the reserved butter in a small dish and set aside.
Take a round of brick pastry and brush with a little of the melted butter. Place 1 tablespoon of ground almonds in the centre of each round of pastry, flattening slightly. Scoop about 3 tablespoons of the quandong mixture onto the ground almonds, allowing the juice to soak into them.
Gently gather the pastry and form a tight parcel, tying with the pastry string you cut earlier. Be very gentle as the strip of pastry can tear easily. Brush the outside of the completed parcel with more butter and lightly sprinkle with some of the wattleseed sugar. Place on a lined baking tray and repeat with the remaining 3 pastry rounds.
Bake for 6-8 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven, or until lightly golden. Serve hot or at room temperature, sprinkled with a little more of the wattleseed sugar and a good dollop of double cream.