Poached Kumquat Jam
Kumquat Jam! Yeah so what's a kumquat you're probably asking... i kind of asked myself the same question every time I popped into the supermarket and found these mini little orange-wannabe critters sat all lonesome on the fruit shelf. Not super popular here in Egypt, so they're very reasonable priced and always in abundance during the winter. I have passed these little citrussy things many times in the past few years but only a week ago decided to grab a little net-full and see what it was they really were.
Think of the kumquat as a little grape-shaped inside-out oranges -- but there's a catch -- on the outside, their skin is a pleasant bitter-sweet; but on the inside, sour as f**k (pardon moi :)). Apparently you nibble your way around the skin, leaving the pith and the inside if you can't handle the sourness. Since my acquaintance with this little Asian fruit is fairly new, I played it safe and dug up the easiest recipe I could. With a little tinkering and mish-mash of the recipes I found online and in my beloved 'Encyclopedia of Fruit' (yes, for real), I came up with this... well... poached kumquat jam. Can't say I regret this at all! If you're into marmalade, you'll love this... bitter-sweet with the likes of orange, but strangely sweeter with a touch of cinnamony-spice, this jam is a winner and I cant wait to eat it on toast AND pop it into pastries and cakes. Later later... just enjoying it straight from my jar with a spoon for now :). As should you!
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick cinnamon
2 pieces of star anise
1 1/2 cups water
Slice the Kumqauats in half lengthwise
Place all your ingredient into a deep stovetop pan, and simmer on high heat until sugar has dissolved.
Lower heat, and leave to simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, until the liquid is reduced and the skins are tender.
Mash the kumquats with the back of a spoon or potato masher, to make it a bit pulpy.
Remove the anise and cinnamon, and ladle into clean jars. Enjoy it cold!