Mar 25

Kinkan Kanro-ni (Japanese Candied Kumquats) with Panna Cotta

in Dessert, Fruits & Vegetables, Honey, Italian, Japanese

I love kumquats—the funny little bright orange citrus fruit that has a sweet peel and sour flesh.

Kumquats ready to be made into kinkan kanro-ni

In Japan kumquats are a common site during winter and are often eaten candied.  I LOVE them.  When I saw a basket of them at a local market recently I had to have them.  I haven’t had kinkan kanro-ni (Japanese candied kumquats) since we lived in Japan, and seeing those kumquats gave me a fierce craving for some.

Kinkan Kanro-ni (Candied Kumquats)

Kinkan kanro-ni are simple to make, but take a bit of time because you have to wait for the sugar syrup that you cook them in to reduce down.  The method for making the candied kumquats that I’m familiar with uses a combination of granulated sugar and wasanbon, a very fine powdery Japanese sugar that is expensive and tends to be hard to find here in the US.  I didn’t have any on hand, and I wanted to make the candied kumquats while the kumquats were still at their prime so I decided to try making them using only granulated sugar, which ended up working beautifully.  I also added a some freshly grated ginger to the syrup to add a bit of spice.

You start by washing and drying the kumquats and then use a sharp pairing knife to cut vertical slits into the fruit (between 5 to 8 slits depending on the size of the fruit).

Cut vertical slices into the kumquatsKumquats with vertical slices cut into them

Then you boil them for a few minutes (if they are extra bitter, you repeat the boiling process), and then soak them in cold water.  This boiling and soaking process helps to remove some of the bitterness from the flesh.  Then you lightly squeeze open the fruit and use a bamboo skewer to remove the seeds.

Remove the seends from the kumquats with a bamboo skewer

Once that is done, you make a syrup out of sugar and water, add the freshly grated ginger and kumquats and let it all simmer, occasionally skimming off the white scum that collects on the surface.

Skim off any scum as the kumquats cook

You continue cooking it until the fruit is shiny and glassy and the syrup has simmered down until it barely covers the fruit.

Finished candied kumquats

Then all you do is transfer the fruit and syrup to a glass jar and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it!  In a tightly sealed container, the candied kumquats will keep for about 6 months in the refrigerator.

Store the candied kumquats in a glass jar

Candied kumquats are delicious eaten alone, chopped up and added to breads and muffins, minced and sprinkled on top of ice cream, etc.  I used a few of them to make a topping for Italian panna cotta.  I thinly sliced a couple of them and then added some honey and water to make a very thin syrup, which I then drizzled over the top of the panna cotta.

Thinly slice the candied kumquats

The slight tartness of the candied kumquats paired beautifully with the rich creamy sweetness of the panna cotta.  I also loved the look of the bright orange against the creamy white of the dessert—very elegant looking.  Paula of Bell’alimento has an incredibly easy (and incredibly delicious) recipe for panna cotta that is my go-to recipe.  If you can boil water, you can make her panna cotta.  Plus, it takes less than 10 minutes to make (and then a minimum of 2 hours in the refrigerator to set), so this is a great dessert to make when you don’t have hours to spend or you need something that can be made in advance.

Panna Cotta with Honey and Kinkan Kanro-ni

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Kinkan Kanro-ni (Candied Kumquats)

12 ounces kumquats
1 1/3 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1. Wash and dry the kumquats, then use a sharp pairing knife to cut vertical slits into the fruit (between 5 to 8 slits depending on the size of the fruit).

2. Bring a pot of water to boil, add the kumquats, and boil them for three minutes.  If they are still very bitter, repeat the boiling process with fresh water.  Soak the boiled kumquats in cold water for 5 minutes and then drain them.

3. Lightly squeeze open the fruit by pinching it open between your thumb and forefingers and use a bamboo skewer to remove the seeds.

4. Bring the 1 1/3 cups of water to a boil and stir in the sugar.  When the sugar has dissolved, stir in the freshly grated ginger and the kumquats.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer, occasionally skimming off the white scum that collects on the surface.  Continue to simmer until the fruit is shiny and glassy and the syrup has simmered down until it barely covers the fruit.  Transfer the fruit and syrup to a glass jar and store it in the refrigerator.  In a tightly sealed container, the candied kumquats will keep for about 6 months in the refrigerator.

Enjoying some panna cotta

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Kinkan Kanro-ni Sauce for Panna Cotta

2 candied kumquats
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons water

1. Thinly slice the kumquats with a sharp knife.

2. Mix the honey and water together and then stir in the kumquat slices.  Spoon over panna cotta when you are ready to serve it.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

A Bowl Of Mush March 25, 2010 at 10:41 am

Such a beautiful dessert! :)
Those candied kumquats are amazing!


diva March 25, 2010 at 10:57 am

candied kumquats are delish! great photos! i miss my kumquat tree.


Maria March 25, 2010 at 11:11 am

Fabulous dessert!


Elsie March 25, 2010 at 11:11 am

Oh. My. God. They look delicious. What do you do with the syrup they were cooked in? I really like tapioca pudding made with pearl tapioca and I bet they would go well with that.


Fuji Mama (Rachael) March 25, 2010 at 11:17 am

Thanks Elsie! You put the syrup in the jar with the candied kumquats. A spoon of it is delicious stirred into a cup of hot herbal mint tea.


Bob March 25, 2010 at 11:17 am

Those look so cool, I’ve never had a kumquat although I’ve seen them before (for once! heh). You eat the peels too, right?


Fuji Mama (Rachael) March 25, 2010 at 11:19 am

@Bob, Yep! AND the seeds! (If you want…you can spit them out too, but in my opinion that’s just a pain and I’m lazy!)


Paula - bell'alimento March 25, 2010 at 11:17 am

Okay now I wish I had picked up a container of kumquats at the store this morning : ) Gaw-geous Rachael!


Donna - Dishy Goodness March 25, 2010 at 11:51 am

I will say that I’m not a fan of kumquats, but this recipe makes me rethink that. It’s gorgeous and simple….Wonderful to have on hand. And putting the syrup in tea — that sounds amazing!

Thanks, Rachael!


Kate @ Savour Fare March 25, 2010 at 12:04 pm

These are beautiful ! I just bought some kumquats the other day because the Nuni had never tried them — I was actually kind of surprised that she seemed to like them. But now I want to candy them.


redkathy March 25, 2010 at 12:22 pm

What a fabulous display!! I do so enjoy your posts Rachael. There is always something “new to me”, like these Japanese candied kumquats. Now I’ll be craving Panna Cotta and wondering how divine those kumquats would be on top!


Denise @ There's a Newf in My Soup! March 25, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Excellent and beautiful – I need to make me some of those babies!


Sara March 25, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Bravo! Such a gorgeous dessert! :-)


Valen March 25, 2010 at 6:58 pm

This looks delicious! I’ve never had panna cotta before, but I like kumquats! I love custards and such things, so I’m sure I would love panna cotta


Cookin' Canuck March 25, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Absolutely beautiful and so innovative! I am in love with those little kumquats.


Fuji Papa March 25, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Wow, I just ate some of that stuff. The panna cotta is really good. The cumquats go perfectly with it. Definitely a keeper.


Raina at The Garden of Yum March 26, 2010 at 5:44 am

I have never heard of these, but they sound really great! Thank you!


bunkycooks March 26, 2010 at 5:57 am

I love panna cotta, but have never had this combination. I will have to get some kumquats and give it a try!


Christine @ Fresh Local and Best March 28, 2010 at 9:00 pm

The glossy shine against the tantalizing deep orange color is simply irresistible! What a beautiful addition to a classic dessert!


Jen @ Tiny Urban Kitchen March 29, 2010 at 10:52 am

Great post! I’m really impressed with the effort you went through to make this! I had no idea it was so complicated.


Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite April 4, 2010 at 6:00 am

How beautiful! Even though I am not a kumquat fan, this might convince me… I just coaxed a friend into giving me her “go to” panna cotta recipe and can’t wait to try it out in warmer weather….


Kitchen Butterfly April 11, 2010 at 11:35 am

I LOVE Kumquats and Limequats. I love the addition of ginger…..hmmm, would go swimmingly well with a sprinkling of cumin on ice-cream! Yummy


Brenda September 2, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Is the candied kumquats and honey the same that the Iron Chef used in The Horsehair Crab Battle? A Iron Chef video section 2 & 3 mention Kinkan & honey for sauce. It’s said they usually use sauce on pork roast. If it is, can you please let me now. Contact me on my email.


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