Candied Kumquats?!? Thought you were going to do something with all those candied orange peels…
I will, I will, but first let me tell you all about my candied kumquat tart. What can I say? I’m a big fan of citrus. Especially this time of year and especially when it is candied. Big fan.
Also, I’m a big fan of concocting desserts tailored specifically to my taste buds. Today we’re looking at a spiced chocolate crust filled with lightly sweetened mascarpone and topped with cinnamon ‘n clove glazed kumquat slices. This tart has my bases (and dessert biases) covered: just enough chocolate, creamy and decadent without being too rich, and bright with citrus. Added bonus, the kumquats are super shiny and I would bet if you parked this tart near a twinkling Christmas tree, it would positively sparkle.
First things first, let’s make the crust. You could make this the day before you put it all together. In fact, it would behoove to make it ahead of time as the spices in the crust take a day to really blossom.
Break out the food processor, your pastry cutter, or just a bowl and a couple of knives. Flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cloves, and anise seeds get pulsed; butter is cut in. Pulse, pulse, pulse until you’re looking at a crumbly mixture.
Drop in a couple yolks, mix. Drizzle in cream and mix.
Toss it on the counter and smoosh all the pieces together.
No rolling required with this crust. Nice. Just press the dough into a tart pan and pop it into the freezer while you preheat the oven. Bake, cool, and continue.
While your tart shell is baking and your house is filling with the aroma of brownies and gingerbread, sugar n’ spice, candy your kumquats. Somehow, I neglected to take photos to guide you through this journey but its not terribly unlike what we did with the orange peels a few days ago. Just thinly slice the ‘quats and pull out their seeds. Dissolve some sugar in water and toss in cinnamon sticks and cloves to make a spiced simple syrup. Add the sliced kumquats and simmer until they are soft and totally irresistible. You’ll be tempted to skip the tart and just spoon these little gems over toast or warm biscuits, but hold back. Drain, reserve the liquid, and cool the ‘quats. If you feel inclined to use the citrus syrup to make yourself a spiced Sidecar while you finish assembling the tart, your secret is safe with me.
When your tart crust and kumquat topping have both cooled completely, whip mascarpone with heavy cream to make the filling. Use the cooled syrup or honey to lightly sweeten the fluffy mascarpone.
After your dog has approved of your creation, fill the tart shell with swirly clouds of whipped mascarpone and scatter the candied kumquats over the top. Voilà.
- FOR THE SPICED CHOCOLATE CRUST
- 1 c. All Purpose Flour
- ¼ c. Sugar
- ¼ c. Cocoa Powder
- ½ tsp. Salt
- ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. Ground Cloves
- ½ tsp. Anise Seeds
- ½ c. Unsalted Butter, cold and cut in small pieces
- 2 Egg Yolks
- 4 Tbsp. Heavy Cream
- FOR THE CANDIED KUMQUATS
- 1# Kumquats, thinly sliced, seeds removed
- 1 c. Sugar
- 2 Cinnamon Sticks
- 8 Cloves
- FOR THE MASCARPONE FILLING
- 8 oz. Mascarpone Cheese
- 1 c. Heavy Cream
- 2 Tbsp. Reserved Kumquat Syrup (or honey)
- To make the crust, pulse together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and anise seeds in a food processor until well combine. Scatter cold butter pieces over mixture and pulse until mixture has a crumbly appearance. With motor running, add egg yolks and cream until mixture starts to come together. The dough won't quite form a ball, but will be moist enough to press together to make the tart shell. Press into a tart pan with removable bottom and chill in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to minimize shrinking. Bake in a 350° oven until set but still slightly "fudge-y", 16-18 minutes. Cool completely before filling.
- To candy the kumquats, dissolve 1 c. sugar in 1 c. water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, add cinnamon sticks, cloves, and sliced kumquats. Reduce heat to low and simmer until kumquats are soft and sweet, about 45 minutes. Drain and reserve liquid. Cool kumquats completely before assembling tart.
- To make the filling, whip together mascarpone and 1 c. heavy cream until soft peaks form. Sweeten with reserved kumquat liquid.
- Spoon and spread whipped mascarpone into cooled tart shell and top with candied kumquats.