My kumquat supply was dwindling, but I still had more than I could eat. Some, I’m sad to say, even began to go bad. I knew I had to take drastic action to preserve the kumquats so I could continue to enjoy them at my lazy place. That’s where candying comes in. Once you’ve come up with all the possible ways to enjoy your kumquats fresh, its time to candy.
There are two ways to do this, and I tried both. They yield wildly different results for entirely different purposes. The first is a glass, which is made by dipping thin slices of kumquat in simple syrup (a mixture of sugar and water) and baking them on a very low temperature for a few hours until the fruit dehydrates slightly and the sugar forms a glassy coating. Kumquat glass is similar in taste and texture to dried, candied fruit you might purchase in bulk, but it’s slightly more elegant in form. The hard, tart-sweet slices make a beautiful garnish for any dessert or cocktail.
Candied kumquats are prepared by chopping up kumquats and simmering them in simple syrup. What’s fun about this method is that you end up not only with the candied kumquats but also with kumquat simple syrup because the syrup becomes infused with kumquat flavor, but you don’t need all of it in the jar. I have been enjoying these with my morning breakfast of yogurt and granola but they would also be amazing on ice cream. You can make a Champagne cocktail with them by spooning some into the bottom of a flute and topping with bubbly. You can spoon a little on top of cupcakes. Or put it in a cupcake! Truly, the possibilities are endless.
For both of these recipes you can use more or less kumquats, depending on what you have and how much you want. You shouldn’t need to adjust the simple syrup unless you’re making a really big batch. When I made these together I first prepared the simple syrup, then dipped the slices for the glass and used the remaining for the candied kumquat.
Adapted from COOK, a oui chef journal
Preheat the oven to 175F. Dip the kumquat slices in the simple syrup and transfer to a Silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the kumquat slices are dry but glossy. Flip and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Store in a tightly covered container at room temperature.
Candied Kumquats (and Kumquat Simple Syrup)
1 to 2 cups simple syrup*
15 kumquats, sliced or chopped
Put the kumquats and simple syrup in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat; simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. The kumquats are done when the syrup is slightly thickened and sticks to the fruit. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the kumquats to a clean glass jar. Spoon a few tablespoons of simple syrup on top. Transfer the remaining simple syrup – which is now kumquat simple syrup – to another glass jar. Allow both to cool before sealing and refrigerating.
* To make simple syrup combine 1 part each water and sugar in a pot and simmer until the sugar is dissolved.