Australian Functional Ingredients – by Vic Cherikoff

Refried bunya nut pastry

We get lots of inquiries about bunya bunya nuts and I must admit that I love them and still harvest the odd cone around Xmas for my own use. It’s just that since supplies are so irregular that we can not afford to stock them anymore as a commercial ingredient.

However, here is a fantastic way to process them into a delicious pastry which is a versatile product in itself:

Refried Bunya bunya nuts
100g Bunya bunya nuts
25ml cream
1 tablespoon wholemeal flour

Bring the bunya nuts to the boil in just enough water to cover them. Remove from heat and taking one nut at a time, hold the fatter end in the fingers and thumb of your left hand (if you are right handed that is) and push the tip of a short sharp knife straight down and through the middle of the nut. Now lever the handle of the knife to the right and down to the cutting board cutting through the pointy end of the nut. Remove the knife, spin the nut around and re-insert the knife. Push down with the palm of your left hand pressing on the nut and the back of the knife blade. This will make the cutting easier as you push the knife through the thicker fat end of the nut. Put the two halves back into the pot and repeat with another whole nut.

Once all the nuts are halved, you’ll find that the neat has absorbed some of the boiling water and swollen a little. This makes removing the meat from the shell easier.

Remove all the shells from the nuts, reserve the shells for smoking or to use as moulds and reserve the water used for boiling too.

Now add the nuts to a food processor and add some of the now cooled water.

Process the nuts to make a just-pourable purée adding more of the water as needed. Fold in the cream and flour. Transfer the purée to a large heated pan and stir the mixture while heating to both tan the mixture and cook it to a roux stage. The fat in the cream should be sufficient to grease the pan and the cooking time will be around 15 minutes to completion when the mixture reaches a roux stage and begins to come away from the sides of the pan. Cool.

Put the refried bunya pastry into a pie tin or cake tray as appropriate and using baking paper, push out to form the pastry base leaving the paper in place once done. Use dry rice or beans to hold down the pastry and cook blind at 220ºC for 20 minutes. If filling with vegetables which need extended baking it is not necessary to pre-bake this pastry.

To make bunya nut marbles, ball spoonfuls of the refried pastry and serve or roll in bread or biscuit crumbs, shredded coconut or crumbed muesli. Fry in heated butter or oil to brown. Serve hot or cold.

To refashion the nuts into halves for a garnish, cover neat half shells with plastic wrap and fill the shell with the refried bunya nut using a palette knife. Remove from the mould and use immediately or freeze for storage in an air-tight wrap. These bunya nut halves can be chocolate dipped or caramel coated to make petit fours.

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    Vic Cherikoff