I don’t like brie cheese. It’s boring.
There. I said it, I meant it, and I’m ok with you despising me for it. But before you send off that nasty email, I must clarify, I’m not talking about the real deal, raw milk, wheels of wonder that are true Brie cheeses. Cheeses from milk so pure you can taste what moseying bovines feasted upon.
If only most “Brie” cheeses were so divine… But they’re not. Most are a bunch of bloomy rinded discs of boring. However there is salvation. Salvation in a little orange jar and a cast iron pan.
Normally I’m more of a cave aged Cheddar and a pungent Blue Cheese boy, but they will get passed up in a second if I’m served a plate of fried bread with brie and a sexy little marmalade. A Seville Orange marmalade is always nice, but this citrus season we’ve been making another sweet little number which has us begging for more… Kumquat Marmalade.
A tinge of bitter is such a nice counter balance to the sweetness of the sugar and citrus, but Seville Orange marmalades are almost a touch heavy on the bitter for my taste. It is a bitter orange after all. However, kumquats are perfect. Plus the skins are delicately thin, perfect for the marmalade after they’ve been soaked overnight to soften them up.
We’ve become such fans that the fruit from our kumquat tree has little hope but to be soaked, sliced, sugared and simmered, then bottled in our cute little Weck jars. No Kerr for these little ones. They are getting the star treatment.
For anyone interested in jamming, we can’t recommend The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook enough. The instruction is fascinating and thorough. The recipes are exciting, seasonal and useful throughout the year. She lays the foundation for the user to understand the principles then have the freedom to impart their own vision into their preserves. And her recipes are inspiring and drool worthy. The book is laid out based on the seasons, perfect for the home gardeners like us.
For this Kumquat Marmalade recipe, we crafted the marmalade in a simple fashion, keeping the ingredients to just the kumquats, sugar and water. Then we used The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook as our guide in the cooking and testing. We loved how the marmalade came out. Brie became sexy once again.
cooking with the kumquat seeds for the natural pectin
fry the bread, layer brie cheese & lather on the marmalade
enjoy the beauty of your fruit
Cooking and testing instructions adapted from The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook.
Since the sugar content is based off of the weight of the fruit, we wrote out the recipe based off of 1 lb of kumquats to make everything easily scalable. The kumquat to sugar ratio is 1:.75. 1 cup of sugar weighs approx. 200g if you need to figure out adjustments for measuring by volume. The seeds provide the pectin for you, so make sure you don’t throw them out when squeezing the kumquats.
- 1 pound (455g) Kumquats
- 3/4 pound (1 2/3c) (340g) Sugar
- 2 cups (470ml) Water
Slice the kumquats in half lengthwise. Over a bowl covered with a mesh strainer, squeeze the kumquats and rub back and forth between your fingers. This will help loosen the fruit segments from the rind. Remove segments from rind and set both aside.
After squeezing, wrap segments and seeds from the mesh strainers in cheesecloth. Slice kumquat rinds into thin strips. Combine cheesecloth bundle, rinds, and kumquat juice all into the same bowl, and add the 2 cups of water. Cover and set aside in refrigerator for at least 12 hours to help soften the kumquat rinds.
Put 5 metal spoons in a flat part of your freezer for testing the marmalade at the end of it’s cooking.
Put all of previous day's contents (liquid, rinds, and cheesecloth bundle) into a medium saucepan. Add sugar.
Bring contents up to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium high and boil for at least 45 minutes, but it may take longer depending on your heat, pan, and quantity of kumquats. Do not stir during the initial bubbling, but after it starts foaming, stir occasionally to prevent the marmalade from burning.
Test the marmalade. Remove it from the heat and put half a spoonful in one of the frozen spoons. Put the spoon back in the freezer for 3 minutes. Then remove and feel the bottom of the spoon. It should feel neither hot nor cold. If still warm continue freezing for another minute or so. Tip the spoon to see if the marmalade runs. If the top layer has set to a jelly consistency it is done. If it runs, continue cooking for another few minutes and test again.
When finished cooking, using a stainless steel spoon, skim off any surface foam. Let kumquat marmalade rest for 10 minutes. Pour marmalade into one jar. Wait for a moment to see if rinds float to the top. If so, let marmalade rest for another 5 minutes. If not, then pour kumquat marmalade into the rest of the jars and process according to manufacturer’s instructions.