Though I've been eating kumquats for years and years and years, I've never bothered to do much with kumquats beyond snacking. I'm sure they'd be amazing paired with pork chops and tons of thyme. And they'd certainly be a winning topping to my next round of carrot muffins. But the reality is I eat every kumquat I encounter long before I ever get around to cooking it.
This winter I finally mustered the restraint to hold off on my kumquat consumption just long enough to candy them. For years I've had this image of a gorgeous chocolate tart topped with little orange jewels of candied kumquat. And the first step to that tart is to actually candy the kumquats, of course. While candied citrus is delicious enough as is, I couldn't help but add in a little somethin', somethin'. One go 'round I stirred in a few pods of star anise, another time I snuck in a pinch of saffron, but I've found the most versatile variation to be the classic combination of cinnamon and vanilla. Which is especially perfect for that chocolate tart I finally got around to making.
halved lengthwise and seeds scraped
halved (about 3 cups)
Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the kumquats, cinnamon, and vanilla bean and seeds, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until fruit has let off liquid and the skins are knife tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove saucepan from the heat and set aside until the fruit and simple syrup are room temperature and the cinnamon and vanilla flavor are apparent, about 2 to 4 hours.
Strain the fruit from the syrup and cook the syrup over medium heat until it is reduced and thickly coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes more. Pour the syrup over the fruit and spices and use or store refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use.
Kumquats can be stored in their syrup refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
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