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Mystery citrus ... kumquats.

Mystery citrus . . . Kumquats

Pretty but puzzling little gems, kumquatshave thin, aromatic skin that's edible and sweet tasting. But the fruit inside is lemon-sour, with few or many seeds. To enjoy this fruit, you need to eat it whole-- but how?

We approach this tasty mystery with apastry that uses the fruit raw and also cooked as jam (see below). Other kumquat dishes are pictured here in color, with recipes given on pages 162 to 164.

Native to Asia, the kumquat allegedlytakes its name from its Chinese title, chin kan, or golden orange. Although closely related to citrus species, kumquats are of the genus Fortunella. The fruit grows on an evergreen shrub or small tree with bright green pointed leaves and orangeperfumed blossoms.

There are at least six different kinds ofkumquats, but the one you see most in produce markets is the oblong-shaped Nagami, or oval kumquat; it's usually 1 to 2 inches long. Less frequently found is the Meiwa, or large, round kumquat. Other kinds are mostly used as ornamental plants, but fruits of all are edible.

Fruit may cling year-round on establishedplants, but you usually see kumquats in markets from as early as November until as late as June. Kept refrigerated, fruit of good quality keeps well for up to a month after harvest. Late-season fruit is often sweeter.

Kumquat Pastry Tart

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (1/2 of a17 1/4-oz. package)

34 cup microwave kumquat jam(recipe follows) or kumquat marmalade (recipe page 164)

1/2 cup whipping cream

Ginger cream spread (recipefollows)

1/2 pound (about 2 cups) kumquats,sliced about 1/8 inch thick (discard seeds and end pieces)

2 tablespoons orange-flavoredliqueur

Lay puff pastry on a 12- by 15-inch bakingsheet. Cover and let stand at room temperature until pliable, 20 to 30 minutes. Unfold pastry and roll out to make a 10-inch square. Brush evenly with 2 tablespoons of the jam. Bake on lowest rack of a 425| oven until well browned, 12 to 14 minutes (pastry may puff unevenly). Remove from oven and let cool.

Up to 1 hour before serving, beat whippingcream until it will hold soft peaks; fold gently into ginger cream. Spread evenly over baked pastry. Arrange kumquat slices on cream, overlapping slices slightly.

Melt remaining jam in a 2- to 3-cup panover low heat; stir often. Mix in liqueur. Gently brush jam over sliced kumquats. Serve, or chill up to 1 hour. Cut in retangles. Makes 8 or 9 servings.

Ginger cream spread. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quartpan, stir together 1/4 cup each sugar and all-purpose flour. Smoothly blend in 1 cup milk and add 4 slices, each quarter-size, fresh ginger. Bring to boil, stirring, over medium-high heat.

In a small bowl, beat 2 large egg yolks toblend. Stir 1/4 cup hot milk mixture into eggs, then stir all back into pan. Stir on low heat until thickened, about 5 minutes; remove ginger and discard. Let cool, cover, and chill at least 1 hour or up to 3 days. Stir to use. Makes about 1 1/3 cups.

Microwave Kumquat Jam

1 pound (about 3 1/2 cups) kumquats

1 1/2 cups sugar

Rinse kumquats and cut into 1/8-inchslices; discard seeds and end pieces. Chop fruit very coarsely. Mix fruit with sugar in a 2 1/2- to 3-quart nonmetal bowl.

Cook, uncovered, in a microwave oven onfull power until mixture begins to boil, about 6 minutes; stir down bubbles. Continue to cook in microwave, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes, until fruit mixture is thick enough to spread, about 10 minutes. Jam will thicken slightly as it cools. Serve warm or cool; to store, cover and chill up to 2 months. Makes about 2 cups.

Photo: Cool gelato combines kumquats,mellow bananas, and orange liqueur. Recipe is on page 164

Photo: Sparkling kumquat jam is brushedover sliced kumquats on baked puff pastry spread with ginger cream

Photo: Try a handful. Bright yellow-orange kumquats looklike tiny thin-skinned oranges. Skin tastes sweet; fruit is puckery-tart. Eat fruit with skin

Photo: Preserved kumquats make relish to accompany barbecuedpork loin. The meat is glazed with sauce from the fruit

Photo: Microwave kumquat jamtakes 15 minutes to cook. Use it with breakfast breads or on the pastry at far left

Photo: Kumquat meringue pie?Definitely. Thinly sliced kumquats update an old favorite. See page 163 for the recipe
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Feb 1, 1987
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