Tag Archives: Cumquats

Two great uses for Cumquats / Kumquats

Two Great Recipes Using Cumquats / Kumquats | Gather and Graze

With 78 vibrant little cumquats/kumquats growing on my tree this year, I must admit to being a touch proud – my bounty is surprisingly up by 77 from last season! She is of the petite, potted variety, that until now has done little more than grow leaves and look rather sickly. This is my fault of course, for not always tending to her needs… water is usually helpful… as is a place to bask in the sun… Continue reading

Candid about Cumquat(s)

Perfect Cumquat | Gather and Graze

For a little while there, it was like having a third child… I gazed upon it, protected it, nurtured it and when it was fully grown and ready, I eased it out gently into the real world. Surely, there has been no other cumquat as well-loved and as well-photographed as this one here. You can more than likely tell that we don’t have many other fruit trees supplying us with nature’s bounty.

So, what did I end up doing with my one little cumquat? After requesting (and gratefully receiving… thanks girls!) advice on my previous post, thumbing through cookbooks and perusing numerous online images and recipes, a decision was finally made. Candied Cumquat was the unanimous consensus. A dear friend of mine mused that dark chocolate would be the perfect base… and as much as I knew that the flavours would work brilliantly together, I was unsure of the visual aspect in placing caramel-coloured candied cumquat atop the darkest of chocolate. I was picturing brown upon brown and felt that the cumquat might get a little lost. Lemon or orange syrup cake had entered my mind, but no amount of searching for attractive images online could confirm that this idea would create the beautiful result I was after. I searched and searched, but was surprisingly nonplussed by all that I came across.

In the end, flavour took priority and I decided on making some ‘Pots de Crème au Chocolat’ with a spot of cream to both highlight the cumquat and cut through the richness of the chocolate. I particularly thought to use a mixture of milk and dark chocolate in the Crèmes, to soften the flavour somewhat for my children’s palates… others may choose to work with purely dark.

I have a little confession to make though my friends… I have come to comprehend why our cumquat tree has hesitated in producing fruit for us before. It’s now really quite clear! Our family… all four of us it seems… DON’T actually like cumquats! Their appearance – yes! – by all means, what could be better than a fruiting ornamental cumquat to sit and admire? The candied cumquat that I made was all too reminiscent of the cloyingly tart marmalades I’ve tasted in the past. I ate it, but regret to say that it wasn’t altogether enjoyable. My youngest child passed his nibbled-at slice of cumquat to me, to finish on his behalf, while the others chewed furiously fast, just to make the taste go away… Thankfully the dessert sitting underneath was there and waiting. Within a moment the decadent taste of chocolate had wiped away the bitter ending to our prized cumquat.

This really wasn’t the outcome I’d hoped to be sharing with you today, but unfortunately it is the simple and honest truth. If we are graced by any more cumquats in the future, I will certainly try to find another way of enjoying them through cooking, in a savoury dish next time… like a tagine perhaps. Or maybe even amongst a salad…

The Pots de Crème au Chocolat that I prepared are adapted slightly from a recipe I found, by The Plantation House Restaurant in Hawaii (which looks an idyllic location!). Being way too generous and enthusiastic in my portion sizes of these, I’ll know now for future reference, that this quantity will provide dessert for six to eight people, instead of a greedy four. They are lusciously creamy in texture, rich in chocolatey goodness and go beautifully with a scoop of chantilly cream on top. An adornment of fruit is still I think required, though depending on what’s in season, perhaps the likes of raspberries (or any berry for that matter), kiwi or banana. A sprinkling of chopped toasted nuts would also be fabulous…

Pots de Creme au Chocolat | Cumquat | Gather and Graze

Pots de Creme au Chocolat (with Candied Cumquat)

For the Pots de Crème:

  • 100g Dark Chocolate
  • 100g Milk Chocolate
  • 4 Tablespoons Raw Sugar
  • 375mls/1½ Cups Thick/Heavy Cream
  • 4 Free-Range Egg Yolks
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch of Salt

Gently melt the two types of chocolate over a double boiler. At the same time, warm up the cream in a saucepan, until it almost comes to a boil (do not let it boil). Add the sugar and heated cream to the chocolate, stirring carefully until smooth. Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl, then add a spoonful of the chocolate mixture and whisk to combine (this will hopefully help to avoid having scrambled eggs in the next stage!) Now add the egg yolks, vanilla extract and salt to the chocolate and again stir carefully until silky and smooth. If you feel at all that your mixture is a little lumpy, strain it through a sieve before it cools down.

Allow to cool a little before pouring into your chosen pots/glasses/ramekins. Refrigerate for about 3 hours, before serving with whipped (Chantilly) cream and a slice of candied cumquat.

For the Candied Cumquat: Cumquat | Gather and Graze

  • 2 – 3 Fresh Cumquats (if you happen to have that many…)
  • 125mls/½ Cup Water
  • 110g/½ Cup Sugar
  • 1 Star Anise (optional)

In a small saucepan, stir the water, sugar and star anise (if using) over medium heat until it comes to a gentle boil, allow the syrup to simmer for a minute or two. Slice the cumquats thinly and add them to the syrup. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring gently every now and then.

Candied Cumquat | Gather and Graze

Remove cumquat slices (and a little of the syrup) to a bowl to cool down, ready to garnish the Pots de Crèmes…

Pots Creme Chocolat Cumquat Gather and Graze

Vanilla Sundae Cupcakes and a Cumquat Quandary

Vanilla Sundae Cupcakes | Recipe | Gather and Graze

What to do… when your cumquat tree decides to bear just one, solitary cumquat? I wouldn’t be asking this question if it wasn’t the most beautiful cumquat I’d ever seen and as it’s the only cumquat my tree has ever deigned to produce, it truly deserves to be celebrated! My little citrus gem is ready to be plucked from it’s branch in the next day or two, before the birds discover my hidden treasure, so your thoughts and advice on how to best savour and venerate this lone piece of fruit would be ever so welcomed! I get the feeling jam is out of the question…

Cumquat Gather and Graze

From cumquats to cupcakes… Both, worthy of celebration and each so endearing in their miniature sizing. Though, unlike the cumquat, I’ve had a glut of cupcakes practically spilling out of the oven over the past few days as the Birthday celebrations of our eldest took place. Two dozen decorated cupcakes to share with classmates at school and then another dozen or so (slightly more dressed-up) for party day!

It was perfect timing that I’d done a ‘Cupcake Decorating’ course with a few girlfriends just recently, so unlike the many years gone by, I was now well-taught (though not terribly well-practised) in the techniques of frosting with a piping bag. It was so much speedier (and I must say, a little more elegant…) than slathering them with a palette knife! In our course, we also spent time decorating with fondant icing – forming piggy faces, roses, ribbons/bows and somewhat creepy-looking babies (well, mine was anyway!) A lesson of basic tips and tricks that will be fabulous to know for the family Birthday cakes yet to come. A few Photos…

There really is something indulgent and slightly magical in the eating of these miniature cakes, that can transport you back to childhood in an instant. Something decadent in being able to consume a whole cake, in it’s entirety, in a matter of seconds… without feeling too guilty. The flavours, colours and designs are limited only by your imagination.

Enjoy the following classic recipe for Vanilla Sundae Cupcakes with vanilla frosting, which are then made even more delicious with a topping of melted chocolate and a little crunch from coloured sprinkles. My children loved them… and I must admit, so did I!

Vanilla Sundae Cupcakes | Gather and Graze

  • Servings: Makes 12-15 Cupcakes
  • Print

  • 125g/½ Cup Unsalted Butter (softened)
  • 175g/¾ Cup (Raw) Caster Sugar
  • 2 Free-Range Eggs
  • ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 225g/1½ Cups Self-Raising Flour (Sifted)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 125mls/½ Cup Full-Cream Milk

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and place paper baking cups onto a tray.

In an electric mixer, cream the softened butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the sifted flour and salt, in two lots, alternating with the milk until combined. Spoon the batter into the paper baking cups and bake for approximately 15 – 25 minutes (depending on the size of your cupcakes), or until a skewer comes out clean from the centre of your cupcakes.

Allow to cool completely before decorating. The recipe for frosting and tips for decorating are to follow…

Vanilla Sundae Cupcakes | Recipe | Gather and Graze

Vanilla Sundae Cupcakes | Recipe | Gather and Graze

Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting

  • 250g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
  • 500g Pure Icing Sugar
  • ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tablespoons Full-Cream Milk

Place all ingredients into an electric mixer and beat, initially on slow speed (until the icing sugar has been incorporated into the butter), then on medium/fast until frosting is fluffy.

Using a Wilton 1M Piping Tip (or similar) and a piping bag, pipe swirls over each of your cupcakes, working from the outside in.

Vanilla Sundae Cupcakes | Recipe | Gather and Graze

To transform into ‘Vanilla Sundae Cupcakes’… drizzle carefully with melted chocolate (I used 100g of good quality Milk Chocolate mixed with 1 Tablespoon of Vegetable Oil – heated gently and stirred over a double-boiler… or extra-carefully in short bursts in the microwave). Top each cupcake with a lolly/candy raspberry (or a glacé cherry for authenticity) and scatter with some coloured sprinkles.

Vanilla Sundae Cupcakes | Recipe | Gather and Graze