I must admit, I am a little bit obsessed with cumquats. It is just that so many people grow them as an ornamental tree and don’t bother to use the fruit. This really upsets me. My philosophy on life is (well, one of them, anyway): the world has limited resources and if you have food at hand, you should eat it rather than going to a supermarket and buying something from half way around the world that costs the earth more than it can afford. Ok, now I will get off my bandwagon and start discussing the delights of cumquats.
If you have cumquats growing on your patio, there is a lot you can do with them. A great idea is to finely slice them crossways, boil them in a sugar syrup and serve them with a dessert, such as Maggie Beer’s buttermilk panna cotta with cumquat syrup. Here is the link to the recipe. It is one of my favourite desserts.
Or you could preserve them, as per Sally Wise’s recipe:
- 500g cumquats
- 650g sugar
- Place cumquats in a saucepan and barely cover them with boiling water. Simmer very gently for 10 minutes. Drain.
- Meanwhile, combine the sugar and 1 cup of cold water in another saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Place the cumquats in the sugar syrup and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the cumquats are tender but still holding their shape.
- Remove the cumquats with a slotted spoon and place in warm sterilised jars. Pour the syrup over them and seal immediately.
Sally Wise recommends serving the bottled cumquats, drained of syrup, with blue cheese or with the syrup on icecream (or yoghurt).
Or you could glacé them.
This season, I have done all three.
Each year, I glacé cumquats and then coat them in dark chocolate. If only I could temper the chocolate correctly, I would have a beautiful, shiny, delicious, chocolate delight that would cost a small fortune at a chocolatier. In the meantime, I get to eat dull, but still absolutely delicious, chocolate delights. Maybe this year …
I know, I am a wee bit late with this recipe but I didn’t strip Renate’s tree until well into January and then it took nearly a month to glacé them and then a week or so to get around to doing this post. Anyway, you will be well equipped with ideas for this year’s crop.
The above photo was taken on Day 5.
This technique is from Ochef.com, it can be used for any fruit. Here is the link to the original recipe.
- 1½ kilograms of cumquats
- 13½ cups sugar (all up)
- 1½ cups of corn syrup (In Australia, you can get glucose syrup, which is made from corn, from the major supermarkets. The brand is ‘Queen’. It comes in 500gram plastic jars.)
This is a shot of the beauties ready to go into the dehydrator.
- Day 1: Wash the cumquats and then prick them a few times with a skewer. This is to allow the syrup to penetrate the skin.
- Place the cumquats in a saucepan, cover with water, and simmer gently until almost tender, about 10 minutes.
- Remove the cumquats from the saucepan with a slotted spoon and place in a shallow dish.
- Measure out 3 cups of the cooking water (or add enough to make 3 cups); discard the rest. Put the cooking water into a saucepan, add 1½ cups of sugar and all of the corn syrup. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar and then bring to the boil. Once boiling, take the syrup off the heat and pour it over the cumquats. Leave overnight.
- Day 2: Drain the cumquats over a saucepan. Put the cumquats back into the dish. Add 1½ cups of sugar to the syrup. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar and then bring to the boil. Once boiling, take the syrup off the heat and pour it over the cumquats. Leave overnight.
- Days 3-7: Repeat step 5 for the next five days.
- Day 8: Drain the cumquats over a saucepan. Put the cumquats back into the dish. Add 1½ cups of sugar to the syrup. Heat gently to dissolve and then bring to the boil. Add the cumquats and cook gently for 3 minutes. Pour the cumquats and syrup into the dish and leave them to soak for two days.
- Day 10: Repeat step 7 but this time leave the cumquats to soak for, at least, 10 days and up to 3 weeks.
- At the end of the soaking period, remove the cumquats from the syrup.
- Dry the cumquats in a dehydrator, in the sun or in your oven with just the fan on, until the surface no longer feels sticky.
Not only did I get lots of lovely glacéd cumquats, I also ended up with 6 bottles of very thick syrup that has an intense cumquat flavour. I have absolutely no idea what I can do with it but I certainly won’t be throwing it out.
It has the consistency of thick honey. The only thing that I can think of is putting it on toast, although I did wonder whether I could make toffee with it. Any ideas?