December 30, 2010

Kumquat Pie...a puffy, fluffy, orangey cloud

Do you know what a Kumquat is?
It's a small oval shaped fruit, the size of a large olive, that resembles an orange...a teeny, tiny orange! It has a thin, sweet skin with tart flesh...very tart flesh!

The kumquat is believed to be native to China. The fruit is grown in China, Japan, Florida and California. They grow on shrub-like bushes that resemble tiny orange tree. Kumquats are frequently candied or made into preserves and jelly.

I had my first experience eating a Kumquat just the other day.
It was......TART! Yowza! This little thing has some serious pucker power! I had no idea what to expect though, so I just went for it. It tastes like an orange, but sour like a lemon...and you can definitely taste the rind.

Some like to cut them in half...

and dip them in sugar.

This method was much more palatable!

So the interesting thing about Kumquats is you can eat the entire thing..except for the seeds. This alone intrigued the heck out of me. It just seemed so odd to eat a teeny, tiny "orange", rind and all. How could that be possible...let alone, taste good?

My curiosity had the best of me. I bought the package of Kumquats without knowing what I would make with them, but figured I would be doing some investigating very soon. Low and behold, there was a recipe for pie on the inside of the container. If this was the recipe the growers decided should be on their could I go wrong? I went for it!

Getting down to business, I washed the kumquats and pulled off the tiny green stems.

Silly me...I forgot to slice the Kumquats open to de-seed them before I threw them into the food processor to be pureed.

As I began to pulse them and chop them into oblivion, I screamed "AAAHHHH! THE SEEDS!"

Dude, how could I have forgotten! So...I began pulling handfuls of pulp out of the food processor bowl and picked out all of the seeds. Luckily 98% of the seeds were still intact and were very easy to spot and discard. A few had been cut through, but even still, they were easy to pick out. Don't ya hate when you make a stupid mistake and then correcting it takes double the time to fix?! However, despite this small mishap, this pie is sooooo easy to make!

I followed the recipe to the "T"...I wasn't about to make any changes with an ingredient I knew nothing about. I figured I'd make it this way, try it, then make adjustments or enhancements next time if I felt so inclined.

By the way, there is no baking required...this is a refrigerator pie! Easy, Easy!

I love this photo! It's whipped topping and sweetened condensed milk. It's so beautiful! I could just get a spoon and eat it and be happy!

The first step is to cream the whipped topping and sweetened condensed milk together.

Next, add the kumquat puree.

blend that together...

Scoop the beautiful, fluffy goodness into a pre-baked pie shell, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

After a night in the fridge, the pie was perfectly chilled and I was ready to taste the first slice...and I was pleasantly surprised!

So light and airy! So very, very creamy! The orange flavor was full bodied but well rounded out by the sweetened condensed milk.

I really like this pie!

I would put this pie in the same family as lemon meringue and key lime pie. In fact this would be like Key Lime's cousin...lemon meringue's baby sister!

When you want a fresh and light dessert to cleanse the palate after a seafood dinner or pork roast meal...Kumquat pie would make a wonderful choice!

I think this was a great recipe...but the amatuer pastry chef deep inside of me is wanting to put her own twist on this pie...something like a thin layer of chocolate at the bottom of the pie! Something like a touch of pretty chocolate shavings to garnish the top of the pie! Sounds good! We'll see!

But until then, I think I'm going to go enjoy another slice of this pie with a cup of tea and think about the new year to come.

Happy New Year Bloggy friends! Here's to 2011...may it be a good one!

*for pie crust, use this recipe


1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. cold water

Mix flour, sugar and salt. Remove 2 Tbsp. shortening from the 1/2 cup and set aside. Cut in the remaining shortening with two knives or a pastry blender into the flour mixture until mixture resembles course meal. Cut in remaining 2 Tbsp. shortening in pieces the size of large peas. Add lemon juice and mix with fork. Add cold water one Tbsp. at a time and mix with fork. Form into a ball. Roll out on lightly floured surface. Fit loosely into pie pan, pat out air bubbles and flute edges. Prick sides and bottom of crust with a fork. Bake in oven 450 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool. Makes one 9 inch pie shell.