Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pistachio Financiers with Candied Kumquats

On my weekly trip to the Chinese Markets, some Kumquats caught my eyes.  For those who are unfamiliar with Kumquats, they are little citruses that really resembles oranges, except in oval shapes and is much smaller in size. In many cultures Kumquats are grown in pots and put around the house as an ornamental plant,  I'm of Chinese heritage, so these little citruses are not a unfamiliar sight as I was growing up.  Kumquats normally tend to pop up in the markets around Chinese New Years since the name in Chinese meant "Good Luck" "Good Fortune" or something similar.   I remember when I was young, Kumquats were bought and put around the house during New Years, and after a week or so, my parents tend to put them in a huge glass jar and preserve them in salt. Over time, all the juice from the fruit is diffused into the salt. Then throughout the year they appeared again many times, and why? because I was told that a few salted kumquats with a few teaspoons of the brine/juice may be mixed with hot water to make a remedy for sore throats.  A jar of such preserved kumquats can last several years and still keep its flavor, so I guess it's a pretty good investment.
However, I'm born the States so I never really have the tendency to buy or preserve these Kumquats, and OH MY! it's been like 10 years since I even touched one of these! hahaha, gosh and I thought I was more Chinese than most of the ABCs  [American Born Chinese] that I know.  I mean, I cant survive one day without eating rice! Chinese enough? XD 

Normally I'd pass them in the market without giving it a second look, but this time, upon seeing these Kumquats, I suddenly really missed Mom and even those not so good childhood memories.  In the mist of memory recalling I mindlessly put a package of these little orange-y goodness in my cart and brought them home.  Since the Lunar New Year, which was the end of January, has long passed, there isn't a lot for me to buy to preserve in salt.  So I decided I'm going to candy the Kumquats because, gosh, as a sweet/pastry lover, it's not surprising that when I look at everything I tend to think of a way and try to incorporate it into a dessert. ^.^  I never thought I can use it this way!  I'm actually all late into the excitement of Kumquats since it has made a decent impact in the food industry in these past couple of years, I see them in desserts, food, cocktail drinks and even once in a Japanese restaurant I dined in!  Sushi & Kumquats? heck yea! it tasted really good, surprisingly.

So I saw these delicious looking Pistachio Financiers at the Cannelle et Vanille blog and yes...with Candied Kumquats!! I got so excited and decided to try her recipe! I was sooo excited! It was also really good!  Next time I want to try it with All-Purpose Flour since it didn't list what flour she used and I tried it with Pastry Flour like we did in the French Pastry School. 
I also want to say how much her blog inspire my baking AND photography, amazing lady!

 Candied Kumquats

200 grams sugar
200 grams water
1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
1 pint of kumquats

- Bring some water to a boil in a small saucepan (enough to cover the kumquats) and add the kumquats. -Blanch them for about 30 seconds and drain them. Discard the water. Repeat the process two more times. This will eliminate any bitterness from the kumquats.

Make a simple syrup with the first three ingredients by bringing them to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the blanched kumquats and simmer for about 15 minutes in low heat. You can drain them, let them dry and coat them in sugar or you can store them in the simple syrup in the refrigerator.

Pistachio Financier

120 grams egg whites
125 grams sugar
Zest of half a lemon
55 grams flour
25 grams almond meal
30 grams pistachio meal
150 grams unsalted butter, browned and strained, cooled

- Cook the butter in a small saucepan until it starts to foam and dark particles start to form on the bottom of the pan. It will smell nutty. Strain the butter and let it cool.
- Whisk the first six ingredients together in a bowl. Slowly add the brown butter and whisk until it is incorporated. Let the batter rest in the refrigerator overnight.
- Pipe batter into silicon mold, top with candied kumquat and bake at 375F for about 10 minutes or until golden. Time will vary depending on the size of the mold.

Source: Cannelle et Vanille

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