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

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.

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.