Being a foodie, I like to be intrigued by trying foods I’ve never had before. The kumquat suddenly intrigued me. For years I had always walked by that little mysterious orange fruit and never paid it any attention. This year though something happened that was unexpected. It was kind of whispering my name from afar. Just me and the little fruit in the produce aisle. Beckoning me to come over and say hi. A slight flirt and tease-as to say, well hello there-why have you not noticed me before? Kind of like the quirky guy in chemistry class who you suddenly notice one day is kind of cute and a lot less quirky and lo and behold he was there all along. You just never noticed before because you were too busy with your bunsen burner. Sorry for the ninth grade flashback. Anywho~ the kumquat. It was daring me to buy it and take it home and make something yummy with it. So I did. It was cute and quirky, but very tasty.
Tangerine Mini Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream & Candied Kumquats
1 pint kumquats, washed, stems removed
1/3 Cup water
1 Cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. corn syrup
Slice the washed kumquats into thin slices; about 3-4 slices for each kumquat, being careful to discard all seeds. In a heavy saucepan combine the water, sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a boil and add in the sliced kumquats. Reduce to simmer and simmer for about 5 minutes until the slices are translucent. Turn off the heat and remove from the heat and allow the kumquats to cool in the syrup. Store kumquats in the syrup in a glass jar in the refrigerator. They will keep for several weeks. (The citrus syrup is great over crepes or drizzled over a warm biscuit with butter).
(yield: ~ 36 mini cupcakes)
1 1/2 Cups cake flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 Cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 Cup granulated sugar
2 Lg eggs
zest of one tangerine
3 Tbsp. fresh squeezed tangerine juice
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp. vanilla will do)
1/3 Cup milk
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a mini muffin tin(s) with paper liners or use a silicon pan if you can.
2. Sift (or whisk) together the dry ingredients and set aside.
3. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy on medium high speed until fluffy; about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Stop the mixer from time to time to scrape the bowl as needed. Add in the zest, orange juice and vanilla and beat to combine. Reduce the speed to low and add in the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk in two additions; ending with the flour. Mix until just combined.
4. Fill each cupcake well to 3/4 full and bake for 18-20 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for about 7 minutes then remove to a wire rack to continue cooling. Frost with buttercream when cooled and garnish with a slice of candied kumquat.
2 Lg. egg whites
1/2 Cup sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
orange gel food coloring paste (optional)
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine egg whites and sugar. Set over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk until mixture is hot and sugar is dissolved. Remove bowl and place on mixer and beat until stiff meringue forms and bottom of mixer bowl is cool to touch; about 5 minutes. Add softened butter one tablespoon at a time until all is incorporated. Add vanilla, then beat until smooth. Add the optional orange food gel paste if using, stir to combine.