Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Devil's Marmalade

Kylie's mother - Pauline Kwong, often comes into the restaurant bearing gifts. She dined with us 3 times last week. 3 weeks ago she brought us some delicious homemade fairy cakes filled with whipped cream and on Monday we were presented with a huge 3kg bag chocked full of homegrown kumquats (organic of course). Chef asked us if we wanted to take any so i dutifully obliged, packing a few handfuls into a plastic takeaway container to bring home with me. I think he plans to pickle the remaining fruits although when he'll find the time I have no idea. I ruined my 80 dollar set of scales after dropping them one night so until I come across another set as ergonomically pleasing, recipes from henceforth will be recorded in volume measurements. Oh! How has the world come to this!

I decided to have a second attempt at citrus marmalade and made it this time using the cut-rind method. Kumquats are quite bitter, with their small size there is a larger ratio of skin to flesh so after chopping them all into tiny segments and removing the seeds, I placed them in a pot with enough water to cover them and brought it to the boil. I repeated this two more times to leach out the most volatile and bitter oils and whatnot from the skins.

The seeds are a great natural source of pectin so to release all that magic stuff, I boiled them up in water with a knob of ginger and cinnamon quills thrown in. While that was bubbling away, I strained the blanched segments and let it soak in a little fresh water. This apparently helps to release extra pectin present in the skins themselves.

After roughly 10 minutes (I was a little impatient) I strained the seeds, discarded them and added the liquid to the pot of segments. I picked out the aromatics and added them back to the pot with the castor sugar. I brought it all to the boil and let it cook out until it reached 105ºC. The temperature of sugar syrup funnily enough relies more on the percentage of water present as opposed to the amount of heat applied. So, if you're a little pressed for time, use as wide a pot as possible to increase the rate of evaporation, start off with just enough water to cover the fruit to ensure even cooking (or you may still be wondering why on earth it hasn't reached the correct temperature before your retirement party comes around) and for god sake don't leave the lid on! Oh and remember when adjusting marmalade recipes - the more sugar you add, the more liquid:fruit you'll end up with and you may need to think about adding extra pectin to gelify the additional mass.
Kumquat Marmalade
3 C. kumquats
1 1/4 C. castor sugar
1 knob ginger
2 cinnamon quills
Slice kumquats and blanch in fresh water 3 times.
Drain and soak in fresh water with sugar thrown in.
Boil kumquat seeds in water with ginger and cinnamon for 10 minutes.
Strain and add pectin water, ginger and cinnamon to segments.
Bring to the boil (carefully now, it may want to bubble over), stirring occasionally until it reaches 105ºC.
Pour into a sterilised jar and seal.
Keep refrigerated.

1 comment:

  1. Mmmm.. I used to have a little potted kumquat plant. I liked popping the fruit straight into my mouth - tangy!


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