On the first evening on #BlogTourNYC – still reeling from visiting Michele Varian’s shop – we were led down some steps in NoLiTa and a wondrous sight met our eyes at Peasant NYC. Wineglasses and goodie bags. What else does a woman need?
The long worn tables were in Peasant – a wonderful subterranean Italian restaurant, full of atmosphere and candles (and fiendishly difficult to photograph as a consequence).
The food throughout was fabulous – an array of gorgeous salads and other antipasti served family style, followed by superb gnocchi and pastas – and the wine kept flowing in the most ridiculous way.
This was the stage in proceedings when I realised that #BlogTourNYC might be a bit heavy on the liver.
The highlight of the evening though (aside from starting to really get to know all my new found friends, natch) was the stunningly good panna cotta with candied kumquats that we were served for dessert. As an Italian I consider myself something of an expert in the ways of panna cotta, but this was exceptional – the smooth, sweet creaminess marrying perfectly with the citrusy bite of the candied kumquats, which I had never tasted before.
After we got back I idly asked Veronika Queen of BlogTour if it might be possible to get the recipe and Veronika being Veronika, the next thing I knew, the owners of Peasant were emailing the recipe to me.
And so dear hearts, here I am sharing with you. You guys, this is SERIOUSLY worth candying kumquats for. You can’t ever say we don’t spoil you on this blog.
- 2 gelatin sheets (I used 1 sachet of powdered gelatin softened in 2 tablespoons of water)
- 4 cups heavy (double) cream
- 1/2 cup baker's (caster) sugar
- 1 vanilla bean (split)
- 1 pound kumquats
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- Soften the leaf gelatin in 1 cup of cool water for 5 minutes and drain. Alternatively sprinkle a sachet of gelatin in the water and leave for 5 minutes until soft and spongy.
- Bring the cream to the boil in a heavy saucepan and remove from the heat before it bubbles over.
- Stir in the sugar and the vanilla bean and then whisk in the softened gelatin, making sure it is thoroughly mixed in.
- Discard the vanilla bean.
- Pour the mixture into six 1 cup (8 fl oz) ramekins, which have been lightly greased with a flavourless oil.
- Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Fill a medium-sized heavy bottom saucepan halfway with water and bring to the boil over a high heat.
- Drop the kumquats into the boiling water and blanch for one minute.
- Drain the kumquats in a colander and discard the blanching water. Clean and dry the pot.
- The little nubs on the kumquats where the stems were can be easily rubbed off at this stage.
- Put the sugar and water into the pot and bring to the boil over a medium high heat.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the blanched kumquats.
- Simmer the kumquats in the syrup for 45 minutes to 1 hour until their skin is soft and translucent. Keep an eagle eye on them to make sure that they only just simmer. If they start boiling, they will collapse and get wrinkly (ask me how I know).
- Remove the candied kumquats to a glass jar.
- Simmer the candying liquid over a medium-low heat for another 10 minutes or so until it turns into a thick syrup (stop cooking before it browns otherwise you'll end up with a delicious citrusy toffee - again ask me how I know).
- Pour the syrup over the kumquats in the jar and leave to sit until cooled.
- Cover and store in the fridge for several weeks.
- Unmould the panna cottas on dessert plates and spoon the candied kumquats over each one.
- Unmould the panna cottas onto dessert plates and top with the candied kumquats and syrup. Eat greedily.