I am a citrus girl…the fresh zesty fragrance of citrus fruits can instantly wake me up on my laziest days!! It just has this refreshing effect on my senses J and owing to this affinity towards citrus fruits I have been wanting to get my hands on kumquats for a while now…but as people from my city would know it’s rather difficult, in fact I have never seen them here ever…but I did get lucky a few weeks back, while browsing through the aisles of the food court in palladium I happened to spot a few packets of tiny oval oranges and a ‘whoa’ escaped me. I quickly grabbed some packets and started thinking of how would I eat these..and on my way home I decided to make candied kumquats.
Making candied kumquats is ridiculously easy all you have to do is slice them up and cook it in sugar syrup…and the end result is so yummm, you will not be able to stop yourself from nibbling away this candy till they are over, the only drawback might be that there may be none left to store or refrigerate!!!!!
4 cups of washed and sliced kumquats
1 1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar
· Bring the water and sugar to a boil over high flame. Add the kumquats and simmer for about 20-25 mins.
· Remove the kumquats from the syrup and place them in a single layer on a plate and allow them to cool.
· Return the syrup to the on the heat and let it reduce over a simmer.
· You can put the kumquats in the syrup in a jar and refrigerate or you can cover the kumquats with superfine castor sugar and store, and then use the syrup to make yourself some nice citrus soda.
· Can be stored for up to two weeks in the refrigerator
I could unfortunately not save any of this kumquat candy as half of it was eaten within minutes of it being made and before the rest of it could end up in our stomachs too, I decided to quickly make a baked cheesecake and top it with these lovely kumquats…I would at least have made 2 things to add to my list of things made from kumquats J not that it was the only reason for it. I have been a very lucky girl recently really… my lovely sister-in-law Poornima recently sent me a spring form tin and a oven thermometer!!!! I was so excited to use them. She is living in Canada since a year or so and was going to be visiting her parents in Bangalore this December so the sweet darling she is, she carried these for me knowing my love for baking and the difficulty I had in getting these here. Thanks a ton Poorni…best gift ever J
Since I had decided to top my cheesecake with these gorgeous candied kumquats, to resonate the citrus flavor I added some orange zest & orange juice to my cheesecake batter. The zesty, sweet tart flavors of orange and kumquats were lovely with the rich creaminess of the cake.
The recipe for the cheese cake has been adapted from the cookies & cream cheesecake recipe by Purplefoodie.
1pack/225gms/8 oz. Cream Cheese (I used Philadelphia cream cheese)
70gms /2oz. Cream
70gms/2oz. Powdered Sugar
1 packet of Digestive Biscuits (crushed)
Zest and Juice of 1 Orange
· Line an 8 inch pan with parchment paper.
· Mix together the ground Digestive Biscuits and melted butter and press it into the pan. Use the back of a spoon to smoothen it out and press it tightly in. Pop it in the fridge for about 15-20 mins while you prepare the batter.
· Whisk together the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl until smooth. Add the egg, followed by cream, orange juice and zest until it forms a smooth mixture. Pour it over the crust in the cake pan.
· Cover the bottom and side of the pan with foil and then place it in a larger roasting pan (or additional oven safe vessel with high sides). Fill roasting pan with hot (boiling) water until water line reaches half way up the side of your cake pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C in a water bath for 35-45 minutes. The centre should still be a little jiggly.
· Once cooled top it up with the candied kumquats and some syrup. Refrigerate the cake for at least 3-4 hours before slicing up. The texture and flavor develops even more.
This was my first attempt at a baking a cheesecake and was a little apprehensive because of the disaster stories I had read about them…cracking…over baking..under baking etc…but happy to report I can successfully cross it off my list of things to conquer.
Some tips that will help you bake a fail proof cheesecake:
· Mixing Properly. Mix the batter using a flat paddle attachment on an electric mixer; it incorporates less air than a whipped beater and results in a dense, creamy texture (the goal). If you do use a whip beater, reduce the mixing speed to low or medium-low and mix for less time so the batter is creamed and not whipped. Similarly if you are using a hand blender be careful not to over mix. One trick is to slightly tap the pan once you have poured the batter into it to release the bubbles before baking.
· Ensuring a Creamy Batter. All ingredients should be at room temperature so that you can blend them well. Beat cream cheese until it’s absolutely smooth, with no lumps remaining, before adding other ingredients. Frequently stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters to avoid pockets of lumpy or unmixed cheese or flour.
· Slicing Cheesecake. Dental floss works well. Take a long piece of unwaxed (and unminted, please) floss, pull it taut, and press it down across the cake, cutting it in half. Pull the floss out on one side of the cake, then rotate and press down again, making slices. If you don’t have dental floss, use a knife. Heat the blade by dipping it in a glass of HOT water; wipe it off between cuts, or use a second knife to scrape the first blade clean between slicing.Wrap the bottom of your pan in aluminum foil, this serves two purposes. The first is to keep out all water and the second is to create even heat.