An Afternoon with Annabel
Sunday October 22, 2017 / What a fabulous afternoon tea it was!
Annabel Crabb is one of Australia's most beloved journalists. She is the host of ABC TV’s enormously popular Kitchen Cabinet series, and recently wrote and presented a groundbreaking documentary series set inside Parliament, entitled “The House, with Annabel Crabb”.
We were lucky enough to share an afternoon with her and watch a cooking demonstration of one of her favourite recipes, the SILVER BODGIE CHOUX BUNS.
"When drafting a dessert for Bob Hawke, Kitchen Cabinet recipe guru Wendy Sharpe and I had many factors to consider. He doesn’t have a super-sweet tooth, for starters. Plus it had to be transportable. And – I’m not going to lie to you – we were hoping to pay tribute in some way to the famous Hawke coif. So the Silver Bodgie Choux Buns were born. Brilliantly bouffant, with a rich custard filling and a shiny chocolate ganache hat, enlivened with dehydrated berry chips. Enough to make anyone weep with delight!"
PA S T R Y 220mL water 85g butter, cubed 100g plain flour 3 small eggs, or 2 large at room temperature
PASTRY CREAM 60g caster sugar 500mL milk 4 egg yolks 20g plain flour 20g cornflour 200mL of thick cream
ICING 200g dark chocolate, grated 10g unsalted butter Dash of thick cream Freeze dried strawberries
FOR THE CHOUX Sift the flour twice and have a wooden spoon to the ready. Then, in a small saucepan, heat the water and butter over a gentle heat. When it has all melted, turn up the heat to bring the mixture to just boiling. Turn off the heat and add the flour, all in one go. Now whisk your mixture vigorously for about half a minute. While your mixture is cooling to about body temperature, break your eggs in to a jug and whisk briefly. To the cooled mixture, add the egg, little by little, beating well in between. Add as much egg as it takes to achieve a smooth mix that will drop very slowly and grudgingly from a spoon, Keep in mind that your mixture will need its shape in a ball, and not spread out too much. Cool in the fridge for at least 30 mins or up to a day. To cook the choux, spoon rounds just smaller than a golf ball on a lightly greased non-stick baking tray. Smooth any rough peaks with a wet finger. Cook at 200C for about 25 mins. Or until they are a deep golden colour. Pierce the base of the buns with a small knife to create a vent for the steam to escape and return them to the oven for 5 minutes, bottom side up. This helps dry the buns out as much as possible.
FOR THE PASTRY CREAM To make the pastry cream that will fill your buns, heat the milk to just boiling. Then, mix egg yolks with sugar with an electric whisk (or with us much elbow grease as you can muster) for about a minute. Add flour and cornflour to the egg yolks until a paste forms. Add the hot milk to the paste in a slow trickle while whisking. Return your mix to the pan and stir over low heat until it thickens to consistency of custard. Leave to cool before filling. Just before you want to serve the choux buns, use a piping bag to fill the buns with the pastry cream.
ICING For the icing, use a double boiler to gently heat the cream and butter, then add the chocolate and stir very cautiously to combine. Take care to not expose the chocolate to too much heat. Place the filled buns on a plate and drizzle with the chocolate icing and sprinkle with freeze dried strawberries, or similar.
KEVIN RUDD’S PASSIONFRUIT PAVLOVA
I decided on a pavlova for the PM, partly because it’s a nice traditional Australian dessert and partly because you can easily turn it into Ruddesque Aus-Slang and call it the Kevlova. Which happened pretty much as soon as I walked in the door. For ease of assembly, it’s made with passionfruit curd and vanilla yoghurt cream, and it’s topped off with some fresh passionfruit too. I borrowed Donna Hay’s pavlova recipe because it’s super-reliable.
4 egg whites ~ ideally, they should be from eggs whose yolks have already been used to make custard for Tony Abbott, but don’t get too hung up on this
1 cup caster sugar
3 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white vinegar
2 yolks, extra
. cup caster sugar
. cup strained passionfruit pulp ~ unless you like the seeds, in which case keep em
300ml thickened cream
300ml vanilla yoghurt
Heat over to 150 degrees.
Whisk egg whites till soft peaks form, then gradually add the caster sugar and whisk till firm and glossy.
Fold the sifted conflour and the vinegar through.
Then spread the mix to your desired pav shape on some baking paper.
For ease of transport I made little 3-inch rounds, but my favourite method with this pav is actually to make 3 x 20cm rounds, so that at the end I can assemble a giant sort of Pav Sandwich. Anyway, do whichever works for you.
Put your Kevs in the oven and immediately dial the device down to 120C, cook for an hour then turn the oven off, with the pavs inside.
When completely cool, store somewhere airtight. Not the fridge: That will end very badly.
While the Kevs are in the oven, make the curd. Whisk the eggs and yolks in a steel bowl with the sugar, then put the bowl over a pan of boiling water and whisk till it starts to thicken.
Whisk in the butter (cubed) and then the passionfruit juice. When it’s all nice and smooth and incorporated, and quite custardy in texture, pour it into a jar, or put it in a bowl with some cling film laid over the surface of the curd so it doesn’t form a skin.
Finally, whisk the cream till it’s think and peaky, then whisk in the yoghurt. If you’d prefer straight cream then do it… I used half and half yoghurt because I know Kevin has a dicky ticker and I don’t want to be accused of anything.
Serve your Kevs by spreading them with curd and then a layer of cream, then passionfruit to decorate.
You can indeed make a pavlova sandwich by adding another layer, or even two – go crazy. I would.