Candied Kumquat and Pistachio Financiers

Citrus season is in full bloom here in Florida and you will be seeing a lot of it in this blog. Tangelos, grapefruits, navels, key limes, kumquats… all of it. After several weeks of chocolate, big dinners and over-indulging, I am so excited to be making lighter and more refreshing desserts. Just the colors alone can lift up anyone’s mood and kumquats are particularly beautiful to look at. It’s almost like nature knows we are in great need of a good detox right after the holidays.

Kumquats are small with a sweet skin and very tart flesh and for those of you who have never tasted them, you will be surprised to know that they are eaten whole, skin and all. They are filled with tons of seeds so I find that the skin is often times more appetizing than the flesh itself and they are perfect for candying.


My 2 1/2 year old son has been helping me around the kitchen lately. As soon as he sees me take out eggs out of the refrigerator, he brings over his step stool and says “I want to help”. It is so adorable… We worked on a simple chocolate cake together a few days ago and I will share those photos with you soon.

Financiers are so so simple to make that I thought they were the perfect little cakes to make with him. He got on his step stool, helped me weigh and mix the ingredients and felt like it was the biggest accomplishment of his life. The following day when I baked them, he stuffed about three in his mouth and couldn’t stop eating them. Just priceless. So if you have children, I encourage you to bake with them. It can be great fun.

I also want to apologize for the overuse of pistachios in this blog, but I just cannot help myself. They make everything so much better…

Candied Kumquats

100 grams sugar
100 grams water
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeded
1 pint of kumquats

Bring some water to a boil in a small saucepan (enough to cover the kumquats) and add the kumquats. Blanch them for about 30 seconds and drain them. Discard the water. Repeat the process two more times. This will eliminate any bitterness from the kumquats.

Make a simple syrup with the first three ingredients by bringing them to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the blanched kumquats and simmer for about 15 minutes in low heat. You can drain them, let them dry and coat them in sugar or you can store them in the simple syrup in the refrigerator.

Pistachio Financier

120 grams egg whites
125 grams sugar
Zest of half a lemon
55 grams flour
25 grams almond meal
30 grams pistachio meal
150 grams unsalted butter, browned and strained, cooled

Cook the butter in a small saucepan until it starts to foam and dark particles start to form on the bottom of the pan. It will smell nutty. Strain the butter and let it cool.

Whisk the first six ingredients together in a bowl. Slowly add the brown butter and whisk until it is incorporated. Let the batter rest in the refrigerator overnight.

Pipe batter into silicon mold, top with candied kumquat and bake at 375F for about 10 minutes or until golden. Time will vary depending on the size of the mold.


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53 Responses to “Candied Kumquat and Pistachio Financiers”

  1. Rita says:

    The photos are so beauiful Aran! I am one of those who never tried kumquats 1) because I saw if for first time last year and 2) the idea of eating the skins freaks me out! But I do want to try it someday.

  2. Y says:

    I used to have a pot of kumquats growing on my balcony. It was exciting to see them grow, and I loved popping the fruit straight in my mouth. Lovely to see them in financiers – I bet they taste great.

    By the way, no one should ever ever apologise for using too many pistachios, because there’s no such thing as too many pistachios! ;)

  3. nadia says:

    Gorgeous picture aran, so fresh and crisp.

  4. morgana says:

    ¡¡ Que bellezas !! Amén de que tienen que estar buenísimos.

    Todavía ando a la caza de pistachos crudos pero no he tenido éxito (aquí los venden salados y tostados), con los kumquats ni lo intento. Así que me contentaré esta vez con ver las fotos o adaptar una versión con mandarinas y sólo almendras pero no sería lo mismo… :-((

    Y hablando de fotos, estaré atenta para no perderme las de tu peque ayudándote en la cocina, que estas cosas me encantan.

    Un abrazo.

  5. uhhhhhhhhhhhg youre so lucky, that looks like summer, no fair! but your photos are absolutely beautiful so it allows me to pretend that im not here. we’re in a bit of a pickle here, my dinky-town actually made it on the Today Show this morning. hmmmmmm never had a kumquat before, but im already sure that i love it. now i am determined. yes im going to go look for them.

  6. Mmm..between Dheeba from Passionate About Baking, and now you, I am madly getting a yen to go candy some citrus. Madly.

  7. Mobula says:

    Por mi puedes usar los pistachos una y mil veces, me encantan!!! los kumkustas, tengo que esperar a que el arbolito que tiene mis padres de unos cuantos, que no será muchos pero prometo que lo intentaré…

    Otra cosa, como hiciste los moldecitos de papel del roscón de reyes… me chiflan este tipo de coisas pero por ejemplo los cordones en rojo y blanco o como el anterior solo blanco que tanto Tartellete como tu usan en las fotos me es difícil de encontra en las islas y quedan tan monos… será cuestión de mirar por internet…

    Besos,

    ana

  8. What stunning and refreshing pictures! I love your shots!

    These Financiers look delightful and refined tasting!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  9. I totally agree about the pistachios, I just can’t get enough of them! This looks goegeous and fresh, would love little moulds like you have for these!

  10. la rechula says:

    Helou! tengo una amiga en Amorebieta que desayuna los domingos en la pastelería de tu familia… cualquier finde me desplazo y me doi un capricho o dos…

    como el sorteo del niño no nos dejó nada tengo sorteo en el blog, pásalo!
    suerte!

  11. gkbloodsugar says:

    You hardly ever hear of people using Kumquats; Chutney, maybe.

    They look great, and your photography is beautiful, as always. :)

  12. Joyce says:

    This little desserts is perfect for this time of year. Great photos!
    I think you will be having someone follow in your footsteps. How cute to have your little one share your passion at a early age.
    No need to apologize for pistachios. I love pistachios!
    Enjoy… xoxo

  13. VeggieGirl says:

    I too adore pistachios :-)

    SPECTACULAR creation!!

  14. I love pistacchios and these look great :)

  15. rainbowbrown says:

    Oy. I’m being over-run by envy, citrus season in Florida! Those are very pretty and must have been fun to make.

  16. Oh…kumquats. I haven’t seen them here in UT yet.

    I heart your blog so much, Aran. What a treat to look at. I always imagine that I’m tasting your creations while I’m reading your blog.

    And congrats on the magazine article. I meant to tell you that a few days ago.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I love pistachios as well. Too many? No way! These look wonderful!

  18. Michelle says:

    Oh wow, sooo delicious, and I never know what to do with a kumquat! oh man, I got a project this weekend.

  19. sweetalmond says:

    Beautiful! financiers and pictures! Your work is over the top, always!

  20. Mrs.French says:

    oh sweet aran, I just love the way you look at things…”nature knows”. Amazing as always, but I have to say the kumquats in the blue bowls makes me weak in the knees..xo t

  21. Don’t ever apologize…pistachios are too good not to use all the time!

  22. Ash says:

    These are so cute!

  23. IRENE says:

    So lovely! I love your blog, pictures and words but I haven’t tried your recipes yet:-(
    Kumquats are a favorite traditional sweet on the island of Corfu, Greece. Apart from sweets, they’re also used for cooking, making a special sweet/bitter sauce for meat.
    Have a delicious New Year.

  24. Seanna Lea says:

    Those look really good. Are most fruits amenable to the same treatment as the kumquats for candying? I have a few others that I would love to see this way!

  25. mycookinghut says:

    Kumquat financiers!! Great! I love kumquat… I think I will make this dessert for the coming Chinese New Year! Kumquat plants are very popular during Chinese Near Year because ‘Kum’ means ‘Gold’ in Cantonese. It symbolises auspicious, fruitful and prosperous. So, I think this is definitely a MUST bake for the coming Chinese New Year on the 26th Jan!

  26. lynda says:

    Aran,

    I just discovered your blog a cfew days ago and have been back to visit many times since. I am trying to catch up on the old blogs I missed. In your violet marshmallow blog of 4/08 you stated you didn’t think you were very artistic. I certainly beg to differ! You are incredibly talented and creative. Your desserts are so original and unique, and the presentation is exquisite! In an interview I found with you and Cake Spy, they called your pictures food porn. I know it was meant as a compliment, but I hate to see them referred as such. They are nothing short of fine art, so beautiful and elegant, playful and sophisticated. Yours is the finest food photography I have ever seen. Someone should be knocking on your door offering you a book deal! I’m waiting!As a presently unemployed foodie looking for work, I just started my own food blog as therapy to give me a food outlet. I quickly added you to my list of favorites! I can’t wait to catch up on your older posts and see what new ones come along. Thank you for gracing the web with such beauty and inspiration. Best wishes to you in 2009!

  27. Aran says:

    Seanna Lee- all citrus can be candied and in fact, it’s one of the best fruits to candy!

    Lynda- so sorry to hear about your business. i wish you best of luck and hopefully you will find work in the field you love. best!

    thank you everyone!

  28. cindy* says:

    yumm…citrus! i envy the abundance florida must have. one day i will have a meyer lemon tree (at the very least)…i have promised myself that.

    i am sure it is so sweet to have your son help you in the kitchen, i am a preschool teacher and two-year olds are my age group (and favorite at that) they are always so full of wonder!

    and as for the pistachio use…i think we all have our favorite ingredients that make appearances often. beautiful as always aran!

  29. Christy says:

    When I read a few days ago that Helen eats kumquats whole, my first reaction was: what??!!! I’ve never eaten them fresh like that–in asian cooking they are mostly used for their juice to add fragrance to a dish, or to infuse in water for a sore throat curing drink. But now that I’m learning that the skin is sweet and not bitter as I had thought, I can’t wait to try them!!

    Your son is sooo cute!!! I wish I ahve a little helper in the kitchen too—maybe an elf for now, eh? I’m happy to hear that he’s inheriting your family’s passion and talents for baking!! Can’t wait to see those photos!!

  30. Cherie says:

    I wish I was in Florida right now( no wonder, with -20 outside, here in Toronto). I love the taste of kumquats, but you can’t find any organic ones up here. so I try not to eat them too often, as you have to eat them skin and all.
    Are organic kumquats available where you live?

  31. Aran says:

    Cherie- Unfortunately I have not seen any organic kumquats just yet. Maybe soon. I keep my fingers crossed!

  32. Camille says:

    I love the photos of the kumquats in the bowl. These financiers like they would be perfect for afternoon tea. I used to get a lot of kumquats when we lived in southern CA. I miss them.

    Since I home school my boys we spent the first part of the year having an art “class”. Now we are on to baking “class” This part of the year. They made a cake and the frosting this week. It was a joy to watch them in the kitchen. I recommend baking with your children, too!

  33. Sere says:

    Thanks for sharing that story with us all. Baking with kids must be great! :)

    And oy, pistachios are good! Pfft, as we’d be complaning?!? Keep the recipes coming ;)

    PS: as usual, the pics are stunning.

  34. Zerogluten says:

    Los financiers me encantan y con pistachos más aún. Los kumquat no me ha dado nunca por problarlos, pero despues de ver tus fotos, dan ganas de comerse unos cuantos.
    No te puedo decir más de tus presentaciones y tus fotos. Imposibles de mejorar.
    Un beso enorme Aran

  35. How beautiful Aran, & how precious that the little one is following your footsteps. They are so sweet at this age! I miss mine at 2 years old. now they are too old (13 & 9 is old for me)! I don’t think there can ever be too much pistachio anything; my FAVOURITE nut & quite the most expensive one here! I love the lightness of the financiers!

  36. corine says:

    I nominated you for the bloggies 2009 today as best food blog.

  37. chelsea says:

    marvelous photo like always. just gorgeous.

  38. Lucy T. says:

    Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your blog–you seem like a real flavour genius!
    I’ve been lurking here for a while and thought I should say thank you! The pics are really gorgeous.
    And I agree that you can’t have too much pistachio.

  39. Foodista says:

    Your photos are beautiful Aran, I also bake with my 9yo son. Love your recipes!

  40. Joslyn says:

    i am crazy about kumquats. we used to “snatch” them off a neighbors tree when i was a kid in california.

    aran,
    you never cease to amaze me. your work is so incredibly stunning!

    happy new year
    xo

  41. oh kumquats! how sweet and bitterly delicious you are!
    these look delicious aran, with my favorite treat: kumquats!
    i love them! and what a gorgeous sunny photo compilation for a gray north east january day…

  42. What fun that he just wanted to help and how great that you let him – can’t wait to see those pics. These look tasty. I admit, never tried a financier. I need to!

  43. maite says:

    qué buena pinta tiene todo!

  44. diva says:

    i really like kumquats! thanks for putting this up, now i know what to do with the fruit just falling off my kumquat tree :D

  45. financiers are one of my favorites – its the brown butter that wins me over. the delicious smell and then with the addition of nuts. I’ve actually never made it with pistachios so looking forward to trying this recipe. beautiful pics!

  46. I have a bag of pistachios at home and, since they are very expansive in here, I need something special to use them in. These are perfect, Aran!

  47. Chez Us says:

    My god-daughter is 2 1/2 and is a foodie already. Not only loves to eat everything (we are talking everything) she is loving to cook. Comes over very often and wants to help me in the kitchen. I will have to make her these or have her help make these. I was just thinking it was time to start making candied kumquats again!

  48. FOOD IS LUV says:

    hi aran,
    i want to make these financiers but don’t think i can wait while the batter rests over night!! is it absolutely necessary? thanks!!

  49. Shoshana says:

    These look amazing and I have some kumquats candy-ing on the stove as I type so these would be perfect to make. I have a question, though. Is there a substitute for the silicone molds? I don’t have any and have no more room for more baking equipment. Can I still make the recipe?

  50. Aran says:

    Shoshana- you can use any mold you have. It can be non stick or aluminum. Financiers are usually mini size so it’d be best to use that. Thanks-

  51. { uMy } says:

    is it okay to use pistachio totally instead of mixture of flour, almond & pistachio?tq :)

  52. uMy- they are slightly different in fat but also, almond meal i buy tends to be finer than the pistachio meal i make at home (hard to find good green pistachio meal). but you could most certainly use all pistachios. thanks.

  53. Anonymous says:

    I just made these and they are absolutely delicious. Its such a great recipe, so easy to follow for an amatuer like me. Thank you for sharing this recipe with all of us.

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