The calendar of the South West’s Nyoongar people includes six annual seasons – Birak, Bunuru, Djeran, Makuru, Djilba and Kambarang – which all reflect the changes in the natural world that come with the passing of time. Each is traditionally used as a guide to what to harvest and where to move across the land.
We’ve teamed up with our friends at Fremantle’s Lighthouse Baking to bring you six recipes that each fit with a Nyoongar season – helping you observe all six seasons with something delicious and truly timely. Third up is the Kambarang season, which is all about those longer dry periods and an exploding abundance of colours and flowers. Known as the season of birth, this season is a veritable riot of new life – from the blossoms of the acacias and banksias to the waking, post-hibernation reptiles and the much-protected baby koolbardies (magpies), it’s a fresh start all round. To celebrate nature’s reboot, why not whip up this refreshing quandong pie – ideal for a sunny morning tea!
For the pastry
2 tbsp icing sugar mixture
125g unsalted butter, chilled, chopped
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp chilled water
For the filling
2 cups quandong fruit, fresh or dried
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
1/4 cup cornflour for thickening
To make the pastry, place the flour, sugar and butter into a processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and chilled water, and process until pastry just comes together – adding more water if necessary. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, than shape into a 2cm-thick disc. Wrap in a beeswax wrap or clingfilm, then refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes or until firm enough to roll out.
Roll the dough out between 2 sheets of baking paper until it’s 4mm thick. Line the base and sides of a greased 6cm deep, 20cm base springform pan with pastry. Trim any excess pastry (roll it into a disk and save for later) and refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the seeds from the fresh quandong fruit and chop coarsely. Peel and de-seed the apples and chop coarsely. Add the fruit to a large saucepan, then add the sugar and water and cook over medium heat until the fruit softens (around 10-15 minutes). Combine the cornflour with a little water to make a paste, then stir this into the fruit to thicken.
Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced). Place the pan on a baking tray, and line the pastry case with baking paper. Fill it with ceramic pie weights or uncooked rice, and bake for 12 minutes. Remove the paper and weights or rice, then bake for 7 minutes or until base is golden. Cool slightly.
Spoon your fruit mixture into the pastry case. Roll out the disk of trimmed excess pastry and cut into long strips, then lay these over the top of the pie and pinch at the ends to attach it to the base. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden, and then cool for 20 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Note: If you are using dried quandong fruit, you’ll need to re-hydrate the fruit according to the instructions on the package.