Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kumquat Recipes

Left: Kumquat & Mandarin Sauce
Right: Kumquat & Mandarin Jelly

It is a beautiful day at eight acres of eden. The sun is shining after days of rain and against the backdrop of green, from my kitchen door I can see little glimpses of orange... they are the oval fruits of the kumquat tree.

I have always been puzzled by kumquats or should it be cumquats.. if anyone could enlighten me on the correct spelling I would be grateful! It is what to do with the fruit; I believe some citrus aficionados can eat them straight off the tree, peel and all.... I tried to convince the children to raid this tree rather than the mandarin tree but they could not be persuaded! I also understand you can preserve them in brandy, that does not appeal to me either; but not wanting to let these little fruits go to waste, I had to try something, so over the weekend began the great kumquat experiment!

In previous seasons I have used the fruit as a table decoration for a Mid Winter Christmas dinner (Christmas in July) and they do look stunning set out on a platter around the base of a twinkling candle. Last year I made marmalade but with apologies to Paddington Bear, I am not that fond of marmalade! I much prefer the smoother texture of jams and jellies. I made my first jelly earlier this year from the fruit of our cherry guava tree and it was delicious... could I possibly make a jelly from kumquats? I decided to give it a go! I picked a basketful of kumquats - about 1.2 kilos of fruit. I also picked a few lemons, some mandarins from the top of the tree where the children can't reach (our mandarins are so sweet this year) and some lovely Tahitian limes. Don't they make a colourful display?

After admiring the colours of our winter citrus and eating a few of the mandarins before the children spotted them, it was onto making the first recipe...could not find one in a book, so I can lay claim to this one and take the blame if it does not work for you... but it did work for me!

Kumquat and Mandarin Jelly

1.Into a preserving pan add 1-1.2 kilos of kumquats, sliced in half

2. Together with 6 peeled mandarins, the grated rind of 1 lemon and 2 limes

3.Cover with water and bring to the boil

4. Add 1 kilo of raw sugar, turn down heat and simmer for at least 1 hour

Check and stir often to prevent burning on base of pan. The kumquats and mandarins will darken and go syrupy.

When mixture has cooled sufficiently spoon into a muslin bag. I used a large 'chux or j cloth' which I tied up and hung from the knob of an overhead kitchen cabinet. Suspend over a bowl to catch the 'jelly' which drips down. Do not be tempted to squeeze the fruit through the cloth, this will result in a cloudy jelly. I left mine to drip overnight.

The following morning I had a small bowl of sweet jelly with a definite marmalade flavour but no pieces of peel which was spooned into a sterilized jar. I was a little disappointed with the yield... just one jar of jelly but all you need is a very thin layer on a piece of warm toast, rather than a dollop. But wait there's more..... Do not discard the syrupy peel from the muslin bag. I used this to make recipe no2....

Kumquat and Mandarin Sauce

1.Toss the kumquats back into the pot

2. Add 1-2 cups of boiling water... be careful, you are making sauce not kumquat water!

3.Place in your processor and whizz up. My processor died some time ago and I have been making do with my stick blender so had to use this instead.

4.Drain the sauce through a sieve or colander into a bowl. Place into a sterilized bottle and seal.

What to do with the sauce.... it is very sweet and you would only want a teensy drizzle on ice cream but it is winter here... perhaps I could use the sauce to make a cake? Today that is just what I did. There are a few slices left which I have hidden, in order to save some for my husband to try when he returns from work. My youngest son returned from the patio with an empty plate exclaiming 'That cake was delicious mum! Any more?' So it has passed the family taste test! The sauce gives the cake a beautiful rich orange hue and a subtle flavour of citrus.

Kumquat and Mandarin Cake

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius

In a large mixing bowl

1.Cream together 150 grams butter together with 2/3 cups raw sugar and 1/3 cup rapadura

Do not omit the rapadura, it helps to give the cake its richer colour. You could substitute brown sugar but rapadura is the healthier option

2.Add two eggs and mix well

3. Add 1/2 cup of kumquat and mandarin sauce, mix well.

4. Add 1 and 1/2 cups wholewheat flour. I used my freshly milled organic, bio dynamic flour

5. With 1 tsp baking (bicarb) soda. Mix well

6. Add 1/4 cup milk. Mix well.

7. Spoon batter into a greased 20cm baking tin (I use a round silicone baking container)

8. Bake 20 - 25 minutes until cake is golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

9. Cool and turn out. Sprinkle with icing sugar and enjoy. It is lovely served with a dollop of fresh cream and a cup of refreshing hot tea!

Keep your jars of sauce and jelly in the fridge. I think the sauce will be used up soon, as I am sure I will receive some more requests this week for another 'Kumquat cake'. There are more kumquats ripening on the tree and I am thinking of drying some to use on my garlands and wreathes at Christmas time... the great kumquat experiment continues!

With love and joy,

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A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

My Mum always has had a Potted Cumquat at her front door.
So they always remind me of her.
I think it is spelt with a C...
But what would I know???

Kristen, pajama mama said...

Wow-that's your view? Those do look like a beautiful centerpiece!

Great tribute to your husband's fatherly hands!

Ana Degenaar said...

Thank you for sharing these recipes, I'm hungry now...

Renata said...

I think it's spelt with the C also. My grandparents also had cumquats, but they used to just eat them straight. I wonder if you could make them into a cordial as well?

Farming On Faith said...


Niki said...

Hey Ann,
I love Kumquat/Cumquats too. Grew up eating them straight from the tree, skin and all. Yum.
Ok on the Doona/Comforter, Big W has a Beautiful Navy blue one with white stars with a green comfy backing. Looks divine. Just bought one for $35 at my local Big W.
Niki x

Mal said...

There are two distinct types of C/Kumquats ( spelling is purely elective) based on the number of segments and the appearance..The one you have is different from ours which is slightly flattenedand wrinkly . Google for full details if you are interested.
Thanks for the article.. I will definitely make that cake ( although never made ANY cake previously) but I am great with Jellies.
Mal (Australia)

Anonymous said...

I would love to try baking this cake as my cumquat tree is in abundance, but what is rapadura?

Ann at eightacresofeden said...

'Rapadura' is dehydrated cane sugar juice. It is less refined than sugar and a much healthier option - you can buy it at health food stores. It is less gritty and does resemble soft brown sugar but is a richer colour. I find it works best in cakes and muffins, especially banana cakes. I would substitute either raw or brown sugar for this cake if you can't find rapadura.
I also need to harvest my cumquat tree again!


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