Roxana Jullapat is the pastry chef at Ammo Cafe in Hollywood (1155 North Highland Ave.). She told Laura Avery on the Market Report about how she is candying kumquats to add to various dishes like hot cross buns for Easter, a ricotta pie and Costa Rican prestiños.
Candied kumquats have been a staple in every pastry kitchen I’ve ever worked. They come very handy when you are making holiday desserts. They can transform an infamous fruitcake into a glorified version of itself, or add a California undertone to the classic yet under rated hot cross buns that we bake every Easter morning. The method is very simple and can be used to candy any other type of citrus zest. The trick to a successful candied kumquat is to blanch them three times in a row to “wash away” a little bit of their bitterness and to soften them so they can absorb the candying syrup easily. Both the candied fruit and the flavorful candying syrup may be used to brighten up many goodies.
Yields: 2 pounds candied kumquats
2 pounds kumquats, stems removed
3 ½ cups sugar
1 vanilla bean
Fill a medium heavy bottom pot halfway with water and bring up to a boil over high heat. Carefully drop the kumquats in the boiling water and blanch for one minute. Drain the kumquats over a colander and discard the blanching water. Repeat this step two more times. Set blanched kumquats a side.
Put the sugar in a separate clean pot and add 4 ½ cups of water. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise with a pairing knife and scrape the pulp with the back of the knife. Put the pod and the pulp in the pot. Bring this mixture up to a boil. Reduce the heat, add the blanched kumquats and let the candying syrup come up to a simmer. Cut a circle a bit larger than the circumference of the pot out of a coffee filter or parchment paper and place over the kumquats, just touching the syrup to keep the kumquats submerged. Allow the kumquats to simmer in their syrup for 45 minutes to one hour or until the skin of the kumquats is translucent and can be easily pierced with your fingernail.
Transfer the candied kumquats and their candying liquid to a glass container, cover and let them sit out overnight. The next day, place them in the refrigerator and keep indefinitely.