Caramelized Kumquats with Ginger
Kumquat, 1/2 kg ( 1 lb )
Sugar, 1 Cup
Water, 3 tbsp (plus a lot for boiling)
Ginger, 1 small root
Materials and Methods
Kumquats at the market
There are only three seasons(although some people argue that’s only two) in Sao Paulo: spring, summer and fallwinter (pronounced as a single word outonoinverno)
Spring is when it is sunny, hot and rains every week; Summer is when it is unbearable hot, sunny and it rains every day (not all day long, but once every day: usually heavy shower and thunderstorm at 4PM).
Fallwinter is when it is the temperature is nice, we don’t have that much rain (except last year) and we find the best citrus produce.
Don’t get me wrong we have fresh local produce all year around.. it is a tropical country after all, but during the rest of the year the oranges are not just quite there yet.
Enjoying this lovely season I found kumquats that were begging for being caramelized into an ice cream topping.
Go figure: masochists kumquats..
Quick, easy and Not bitter: pick two
Sounded pretty straight forward: cut the kumquats in halves, add sugar and a little bit of water, caramelize them and presto! Bitter kumquat jam-ish.
The pith is the problem, it is too bitter to taste and peeling is not an option. The pith is full of pectins that we want but also has Limonoids ( yeah I am not making this up) that gives them the bitter taste.
But then one thing came to mind: pet peeves. When I was young and I used to watch tvfood shows (as if I stopped, btw must see: bitchin kitchen ) there was one recipe that bothered me that called for boiling the orange peels for 3 times.
My peeve is not the boil for 10 minutes and change the water three times, my problem with it is casting it more like a act of magic than science.
A little bit of manbojambo
So I did a few batches with different approaches and this is the one that works better:
Cut the kumquats in half, though the equator, seed them and place them into a large pan.
Add enough cold water to cover it and set on high heat, once the water starts to boil, count 10 minutes.
Drain, discard the water and rinse and repeat more two times.
For 1 and 1/2 cups of kumquats I used 1 cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons of water, but you might consider adding more if you want more sirupy.
Grind the ginger if you are gonna add it. You will not have time to do it later.
Time is critical in this phase. If you let it caramelize too much it will get hard or sticky to teeth
Place the pan in medium heat and don’t stir it with a spoon.
Siruping the sirup
Don’t stir it with a spoon!
But give it a shake with the pan once or twice. keep looking at the bubbles until the ones in border begin to look golden.
Once they do: kill the heat and add the ginger. Avoid stirring as much as you can while it is still hot.
Why? Stirring might cause the caramel to crystalize making it not clear and “sandy” to the tongue.
It takes about 5 to 10 minutes but really depend on your stove
Not bitter at all, the ginger gives a great twist without being too dominant.
My bet is that the caramelized kumquats are probably great when they are cold, but I will never know.
Once they are ready they are way too great for their own good.
You can do the whole boiling ahead of time and caramelize them just when you are ready to serve.
Extra pr0n shot
Totally unnecessary, sorry about that.
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