Winter in Florida makes me happy.
Bright blue skies, the possibility to wear my favorite purple scarf, lush landscape, cold breeze coming in through the windows and lots of citrus. Oh the citrus! I told you about my friend N.’s citrus trees and how I usually take the longer route to the mail box just so I can smell the lime tree on her front lawn. It’s just one of the simple pleasures of life.
We started the new year with lots of pints of Florida kumquats. I think this was the first time my parents had ever seen or tasted a kumquat. “What do they taste like?”, asked my mom. “Well, try one!”, I told her. She looked at me in surprise wondering how she would peel such a thing. “There will be no flesh left!”, she followed. So I just took one and put it in her mouth. She was taken back by the sour punch as she expected something sweeter, perhaps like a clementine, but she soon got used it.
We poached most of the kumquats in simple syrup and used them in different desserts we made throughout the days. First a pistachio pavlova with lemon curd made with N.’s fruit fresh clementines and the poached kumquats. And later, inside some gluten free chocolate financiers that were as fudgy and moist as the best brownies you have ever tasted.
Our little boy’s best friend D. came over for a play date one afternoon and they loved the financiers which made me the happiest mother on earth. They wore they favorite costumes, as always and covered their mouths in chocolate. Spiderman and the princess. Never fails.
We used the rest of the two pints of kumquats to make a marmalade that is out of this world. It reminded me of the bitter orange marmalade I use to eat in London every morning for breakfast.
I hope everyone had a great start to the new year and that you are sticking to your resolutions. I certainly did as I broke a new record. Yes, I will confess. I fell asleep at 8pm on New Year’s Eve while I was lying in bed nursing M. We both fell asleep comfortably under a cozy blanket. So peacefully.
Pistachio Baked Meringue
makes 6 small pavlovas
155 grams egg whites
pinch of salt
155 grams sugar
155 grams powdered sugar, sifted
35 grams chopped pistachios
Place the egg whites with the pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whip until peaks start forming. Slowly sprinkle in the sugar. Whip for 2 minutes until shiny and stiff.
Combine the sifted powdered sugar and the chopped pistachios and fold them into the meringue base.
Make six mounts of meringue on a sheet pan lined with parchment. Bake at 225F for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 min.
300 grams sugar
300 grams water
1 pint of kumquats
Blanch the kumquats in boiling water 3 times using clean water every time.
Make a simple syrup by boiling the sugar and water together until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to low and add the kumquats. Simmer them on low heat with the lid half on for about 20 minutes or until soft.
Store them in the poaching liquid in the refrigerator.
100 grams eggs
50 grams sugar
100 grams lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
50 grams butter
Whisk the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest in a medium bowl. Place this over a water bath and cook until it thickens. Strain the curd through a fine sieve. Let it cool slightly.
Add the room temperature butter one teaspoon at a time and blend using a submersion mixer. Let it set in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
Gluten Free Kumquat and Chocolate Financier
120 grams egg whites
125 grams sugar
100 grams almond flour
15 grams cocoa powder
pinch of salt
150 grams brown butter, cooled
Mix the whites and the sugar with a hand whisk. Add the almond flour, cocoa powder and pinch of salt. Add the cooled brown butter and whisk until well combined. Let it rest in the refrigerator overnight or at least 4 hours.
Pipe the batter into molds and place half a poached kumquat on top. Bake at 350F for about 8 minutes or until done.