Brandied Kumquats

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This recipe is a bit of a cheat, because it's not actually IN the Recipe Box. All I have from the Box is the title of the recipe, at the bottom of a torn-off piece of newspaper that included the recipe for Cinnamon Pecans that let me down way back in 2015. But I was immediately taken with the idea of Brandied Kumquats- I adore brandied cranberries and I positively relish citrus fruits, so I figured this would be totally up my alley.* What I didn't account for was the fact that I no longer live in Florida, the land of kumquats, where they grow so plentifully that people throw them instead of candy in parades, and instead I live in Scotland, where the only thing that grows between the months of September and May is neeps.

For the last two years and two months, ever since I found the name of this recipe in the Box, I've had my eye out for kumquats, and this week I finally found them, at the rich people supermarket, of course. I came home and googled recipes for brandied kumquats but none of them sounded like exactly what I wanted- a citrusy version of cranberry sauce, the perfect mix of sour, sweet, bitter and boozy. So I invented my own recipe.

I'm not really sure what to do with these now that I have them- I love the flavour enough to just snack on them, but I've also made a citrusy riff on an old-fashioned with them, adding a sliced kumquat and two spoonfuls of the sugared brandy to a glass of bourbon and serving over ice. I served some with pork chops and they were great that way too; I think they'd be lovely chopped coarsely and stirred into scone dough, or sprinkled on top of a cardamom bun, but I'm happy enough eating them straight from the jar or mixed into cocktails.

These will last forever in the fridge, so make them when you find kumquats and then use them to your heart's content!

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*When I saw I love citrus, I mean it: one of my favourite snacks is citrus peel, and Judson finds it repulsive that my preferred method of eating an orange is whole, like an apple.

The verdict:

5 spoons out of five. These are slightly more on the sweet side than cranberries treated in the same way would be, but they still have that essential tartness and most importantly, the edge of bitterness from the peel and the alcohol. They work well in cocktails (I can't wait to try one as a garnish for a gin & tonic!) and even better as a side dish or topping to pork, pastry and more. Plus, they're a cinch to make- what more could you want?

One year ago:Toll House Marble Squares
two years ago: Happy New Year!

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The recipe:

Brandied Kumquats

the directions:

Prick kumquats all over with a wooden pick or the tip of a paring knife (you want AS MANY HOLES AS POSSIBLE, so don't skimp).
Heat kumquats, sugar and brandy over low heat, stirring constantly, until all sugar has dissolved.
Continue cooking for 3-5 more minutes until syrup has thickened and kumquats are softened.
If any of your kumquats are still stiff, poke them with a paring knife in the pot and keep stirring.
Leave to cool slightly in the pot, stirring occasionally.
As they cool, they'll become translucent.
After 30 minutes, add ¼ c more brandy and stir into mixture.
Pour mixture into a jar and refrigerate or use.

Will keep in refrigerator for at least one month, probably longer.

the ingredients:

1 lb (500g) kumquats, washed and stems removed
2 c (250g) sugar
½ c (4oz) brandy, plus additional for topping up