Kumquats are the grape-sized runts of the citrus litter and an eccentric fruit, for, lacking much but bitter seeds on the inside, it’s the sweet, citrusy-astringent skin that is meant to be eaten. Despite the absence of tasty flesh, their irresistibly miniature stature ensures that whenever I see them, I cannot avoid picking some up, solely because of their cuteness. And since I’m not actually the fondest of eating them as they are, I tend to candy them and/or coat them in chocolate.
I decided this time to try incorporating them into a frozen dessert. After all, the beauty of modern heating ensures it’s never too cold to eat ice cream! And because I’d gotten a little tired of photographing scoops, I thought I’d play around with a pastry ring and some layering.
Candied Kumquat Ice Cream
1 cup kumquats, halved and seeded (plus more for garnish)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Cover the kumquats with water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes, then drain.
Add to 1/2 cup water, orange juice, sugar, cardamom and cinnamon to kumquats and simmer on medium-low heat for approximately 20 minutes.
If using some of the kumquats for garnish, remove them from the syrup and set aside.
Chop the remaining kumquats and syrup in a blender. Don’t bother trying to get it totally smooth – little bits of kumquat in your ice cream will give it a more interesting texture and depth.
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
In a saucepan, heat cream and milk just until boiling.
Whip the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until the mixture forms lemon yellow ribbons.
While whipping continuously, slowly pour the hot cream into the egg mixture. Return to medium-low heat and stir until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Combine kumquat puree and custard in a bowl, and chill overnight in the fridge.
Churn ice cream according to the maker’s instructions, then scoop into a container and allow the ice cream to firm up in the freezer for at least four hours.
Garnish with reserved candied kumquats, ground or chopped salted (yes, salted – it makes all the difference!) pistachios, and dark chocolate.