Recipe: Kumquats are delicious and in season now, so make this custard

For years I ‘ve had three kumquat trees in my yard. They were lazy, producing only a small handful of fruit each year. But kumquat production took a big uptick during the COVID-19 lockdown and continues to this day, showing off drooping tree branches laden with tasty orbs. The fruit is like inside-out oranges, sweet on the outside and sour on the inside.

When working on my second book I discovered how delicious it is when a small portion of chopped kumquats are added to the mix. Kumquats are in season, so now it the perfect time to whip some up.

Kumquat Spiked Custard

Yield: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

6 kumquats, washed, dried

2 1/2 cups milk

3 large eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

PROCEDURE

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat to 350 degrees.

2. Cut kumquats in lengthwise quarters. Use small pointed knife to pluck out seeds and finely chop. Set aside.

3. Place milk in large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Scald milk on medium-high heat. To scald means to heat below the boiling point. Remove from heat.

4. In large bowl, whisk milk, eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla to combine. Whisking constantly, add hot milk little by little to egg mixture. If you add the hot milk too quickly, it might curdle the eggs. Stir in kumquats.

5. Ladle mixture into 6 (1-cup) custard cups. Place cups in 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Add enough hot water to the pan to come 1 inch up the sides of the cups. Place in oven and bake 40 minutes or until set and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm or chilled.

Source: “Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce” by Cathy Thomas (Wiley, $29.95)

Cooking question? Contact Cathy Thomas at cathythomascooks@gmail.com

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