Sunday, December 13, 2009


Kumquats are citrus fruits that are as deliciously sweet as they are sweetly fragrant.

They look very much like over ripe kalamansi limes. And that's what I thought they were when Terri of Hunger Hunger first introduced them to me.

As soon as I got home from meeting Terri I ate a ripened one and allowed the rest to shed their last tinge of green over the next few days before I turned them into candied fruit. Because, as delicious as they were, I felt they were deserving of being displayed and admired in the form of an elegant dessert.
It was in a beautiful blog by Vera of Baking Obsession where I saw this beautifully elegant cheesecake topped with a kumquat jewelled crown. It sang to I yielded. 

The cheesecake was creamy, dense and rich with only a slight orange flavour since I had omitted using the rind of an orange as stated for in the recipe. But it was delicious nevertheless. And the kumquats? They topped it all.

Candied kumquats are ridiculously easy to make especially since I relented to Simply Recipes' version because it required less boiling time.

Unfortunately, when the 10 minutes of boiling was up the kumquats were not yet as translucent as I had hoped they would be. I faltered. But not trustung my own instincts I took them off the heat and drained them of the syrup. I bottled them and chilled them in the refrigerator while I made the cake.

And when, later, I read Vera's version of candied kumquats it made me wish that I had done as she did. Boiled them for 30 minutes instead of 10 until they turned truly translucent, looked preciously fragile with a sparkling crystal-like quality to it. 

But it was done. So I proceeded and, as you can see, it is not as translucently beautiful as it could have been. But please........ do imagine it to be. 

I may also mention that I halved the recipe, it being very rich, and divided the halved mixture between 2 4 inch pans so that I could give one away to avoid the family consuming too much cake.

The Vera of Baking Obsession

For the candied kumquats

2 cupswater
2 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
9 oz kumquats, or 25 medium, thinly sliced crosswise and seeds removed (I used a toothpick to push the seeds out)

Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean. Add the bean. (I used vanilla extract). Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and then add the kumquats and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 30 to 35 minutes until the slices are translucent. Drain, place kumquats in a bowl and add 1/4 cup of the syrup to it.Keep aside.

Return the remaining syrup to a medium heat and let it simmer until it reduces to about 1/4 cup. About 8 minutes.

The Crust ......( I had made my own without measurements but this is Vera's recipe.......

2 cups vanilla wafer cookie crumbs (from about 9 oz cookies and finely ground in a food processor)
1/3 cup packed golden brown sugar
7 T butter, melted

Set the oven ad 170 C. Line a 9 inch spring form pan with parchment paper. The pan should have 23/4 inch high sides.

Combine all above ingredient for crust. Mix well with fingers and pat and press into pan and up the sides about an inch. Bake for about 20 minutes until the crust is golden brown and set. 

Wrap the bottom half of the pan well with heavy duty aluminium foil so that water from the water bath does not leak in when baking. 

(I did not use a water bath and the cheesecake turned out perfectly baked).

(I used 2, 4 inch removable bottom pans, unlined and pressed the crumb crust only on the bottom and did not bake them). I may, also, have omitted to mention that lazy is my middle name.

The Cheesecake............

1 cup fresh orange juice 
1 cup sugar, divided
2 T finely grated orange peel (please do add for beter flavour)
4 8 oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
3 T all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs

Combine 1/4 of the sugar and orange peel in the saucepan. Rub with your fingers until the sugar is moist and aromatic. (I wished I had an unwaxed orange so I could have done this. I suggest that you do not omit this step at all)

Add orange juice and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer about 8 minutes until the syrup is reduced to 3/4 cup. Cool completely.

With an electric mixer beat cream cheese, remaining 3/4 cup sugar until creamy and smooth. Add in flour, salt and eggs one at a time. Combine well. Finally add cooled orange syrup/juice. Stir well to combine.


Pour the cheesecake batter over  the crumb bottom. Place the pan in a roasting pan and fill with hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until softly set about for 1 to 11/4. When baked leave the cake in the oven for an hour to cool down and to prevent cracking the top. Chill overnight and loosen the edges with a knife the next day and unmould.

Arrange the candied kumquats in circular rows on the top. Serve.



La Table De Nana said...

Beautiful! And don't you find there is such a sweet feeling when we prepare something with ingredients offered by a friend? Or presented on something dear?

You made her very proud and happy I am certain!

Pei-Lin said...

Zurin, this looks very good! No matter what happened during the preparation process, I'm sure it tastes just as good as it looks! I'm sure it'll be a charmer at a potluck! A good idea for Christmas!

Mary Bergfeld said...

What a unique and beautiful cheesecake. It looks most appetizing.
You have a lovely blog. I'll be back often to visit.

Angie's Recipes said...

That's a scrumptious citrus cheesecake! I love kumquats!

Xiaolu said...

Very pretty. I can't remember the last time I had kumquats really. Time to remedy this!

Anonymous said...

i've never tried kumquats before!
these look delicious though.
looks like they compliment the orange cheesecake a lot!
love how the kumquats look like they're glowing :)

tracieMoo said...

Hi Zurin, the cake looks amazing. I love the way you decorated it with the kamquats! I've never had them on a cake. It's just so beautiful. It's really rich in cheese, yeah? about 1kg of cheese there.. ha ha..

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

I look at your cake and I think "Audrey Hepburn". LOL. It's breathtakingly beautiful. And very classy and elegant. You're right, Zu, the candies kamquats are like jewels. I couldn't bear to cut into it!!!

Zurin said...

Monique, tq .Yes indeed, it feels warm n sweet and satisfying.:)

Dodol;Mochi,tq :) yes it was good.

Mary, tq, i love your blog too....its beautiful and I visit pretty often too :))

Angie, tq i love kumquats too! :)

Xialu, kumquats are such pretty fruits and with a cute name :)

Felicia, do try, theyre lovely n sweet :)

Tracie, oh yes pretty rich indeed. thats why I halved the recipe and gave half of that away!! lol

Ju, tq, yes a very elegant looking cake...the very reason I had to make it when I saw it on Vera's blog :))

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

this cake look so refreshing with all kamquats place on top of the cake, friend, this look really delicious !! Good job.

Gayl Koh said...

wah! i never thot to cook kumquats. this is real pretty n i bet superyummy too.

Anonymous said...

Translucent or not, I think you did a great job with the candied kumquats! While I don't eat cheesecake, I can totally imagine this to be a signature dessert of some cafe. Perhaps yours, one day? ;)

3 hungry tummies said...

wow what a cake you have there yum!!!

Federica Simoni said...

ciao! complimenti per questa delizia!!anche la foto è meravigliosa!

Pam said...

The cake looks beautiful. What a lovely end to meeting an "Old New Friend". I just saw kumquats in the market and have nothing on my list today, so I think I'll try this recipe. Thanks for introducing me to 2 new blogs! Pam

fimere said...

de très jolies photos et le gâteau doit être divin, j'adore
à bientôt

Unknown said...

Oups !!!
Wonderfull photos, it's really gorgeous
And surely so delicious

Zurin said...

Sonia, tq :)

Terri, Oh my I had to figure out who u were at first! LOL...they are delicious candied and 'caked'. I thought, they being so pretty, deserved it. :)

Oven haven, cafe? lol not likely! lol

Hungry tummies, tq :))

Federica, TQ :))

Gypsy chef, I do hope u try :))

ADDG tq, :))

Chapot, TQ :))

Through My Kitchen Window said...

Oh yummy. I absolutely love cumquats. We spell them with a "c" over here. I have no birthday cake today and I could really down a piece of your beautiful looking cheesecake. These are exactly the flavours I adore. I can almost taste it. Wish I really could though.

Barbara said...

It's a gorgeous cake whether the kumquats were translucent or not! They look (but in no way taste) like apricots at first glance. I often use kumquats for Christmas decoration too.

Nadji said...

I would like to try it. Very beautiful cake.
Très belle réalisation. BRAVO!!!

Marysol said...

Zurin, you're not only a prolific baker, you're also an artist, and a psychic.
I always have kumquats (and all other citrus fruits), dancing in my head around the holidays.

And your dessert is a delectable still life! And one I intend to make.

Ozoz said...

I am a kumquat the core!This looks lovely.....really, lovely

Zurin said...

TMKW, happy birthday and I really wish you cld have the cake!:)

SeG, TQ I wish I could give you some too! :)

Marysol, aawww tq, now you're making me blush. I hope i can get over it.:)

Ozoz, tq, kumquats are really lovely fruits. I love them.:)

Anonymous said...

Oooh my heart skipped a beat in excitement when I saw your pictures! They look simply wonderful! :D

Quinn said...

Zu, this is perfection. You've plated a perfect cheesecake. The kumquats looks good to me!

Anonymous said...

Kumquats and orange. What a lovely combo. Love the arrangements of the kumquats. so pretty!

Cathy said...

Your cake is beautiful, Zurin. I don't know if I've ever tried a kumquat. I can imagine your candied ones are perfect with the creamy cheesecake filling.

Lovely photos too.

Kate at Serendipity said...

This is GORGEOUS! It positively sparkles in the sunshine! Thanks for the recipe for candied kumquats--I've been looking for one.

Faida said...

They look so sweet aunty. What a creative thinking.

Deana Sidney said...

They are orange jewels...brilliant. I love the water-color picture of them! Thanks for the great post!

nuhaafnan said...

i've been looking for an orange cheesecake recipe and this seem to be easy enough for me. fantastic looking cake, as always.

Cakebrain said...

wow! the candied kumquats look like gorgeous jewels! so yummy!

Anonymous said...

Looks gorgeous, even if you think it could've been prettier. I assure you, it's absolutely gorgeous. The color is reminds me of jewels! Funny, you do the same thing I do--half recipes and give bunches away.

S said...

zurin, this cake requires such meticulous effort- which i dont have. i admire pastry chefs so much- the kumquats are perfect. cheesecake is one of my favourite desserts- i eat the creamy inside and leave the crust :)
have a lovely weekend. best wishes, shayma

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

Hi ZurinThanks for passing by your recipes on cakes..very good information..a must try for me...

Unknown said...

hi zurin
the kumqats we have in france are much smaller but they are so ggod i love to cook them cheers from snowy Paris !! Pierre


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