I have had a bumper crop of cumquats this winter from one little tree – best ever! So I have had to be inventive with ways to use all the wonderful fruit – hence there a few cumquat recipes recently posted on this blog.
I made a few jars of cumquat marmalade early in the season, and then the tree delivered a second fruiting. I rather fancied having some candied cumquats at hand, and began to consult my preserving books for recipes. True candied cumquats seem to be whole fruit that has been cooked in a sugar syrup several times over a number of days. A rather lengthy process.
However I found a couple of recipes that simply involve cooking the cut fruit once in a sugar syrup, letting the fruit soak in the syrup for a couple of hours, then draining the fruit and reducing the liquid to a sticky preserving consistency. Much simpler, but Cumquats in Sugar Syrup is a better description than Candied Cumquats for this method.
1 kg cumquats
3 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 vanilla bean (optional)
Cut the cumquats in half, leaving very small fruit whole.
Place sugar and water in a large saucepan and dissolve sugar over a medium heat. Bring the syrup to a boil, and place cut cumquats in the saucepan.
For a vanilla infused syrup, add the vanilla bean, cut in half longways, scraping the seeds into the syrup. Simmer the fruit until it is tender, about 20 minutes.
The fruit will have softened but will still have some resistance when cut with a knife.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave the fruit to cool in the syrup for at least 2 hours.
Strain the fruit from the syrup into a bowl, and return the syrup to the saucepan. Boil gently for 5-10 minutes until the liquid has reduced slightly and is thick and “syrupy”!
Place the fruit in sterilised jars, including part of the vanilla pod for extra flavour. Pour the hot syrup over the fruit. Seal the jars and store with your other preserves, then once opened, store in the refrigerator.
The fruit is both sweet and slightly bitter and can be used as a dessert over ice-cream, or with cream, or in steamed puddings, or baked into tarts and cakes. eg Blueberry and Cumquat Cake with Sugared Pecans:
The cumquats are also great as a sweet/ sour relish with ham, chicken or even fish.