kumquat-cranberry crisp


I recently came in possession of a bowlful of kumquats. (My grandmother has a small potted tree, which I hear has more fruit on the way: kumquat trees can produce hundreds or even thousands of fruits a year!) These teeny-tiny fruits are the babies of the citrus world, an average one being about the size of a large-ish grape. Bright, sunny yellow-orange and oh-so-tart, this South Asian native is usually eaten whole, rind and all. The small size of these guys makes the skin thin (think clementine) and actually milder than the fruit itself.

So what to do with this big bowl of mouth-puckering sunshine? A little too much to eat as is, though few have attempted it. My first thought was jam, or marmalade, and after perusing the internet searching for "kumquat recipes" or "kumquats" or "kumquat uses," I found food blog after food blog thought the exact same thing. Tart fruit + sugar overload = bearable or even delicious results! But, yawn. I did come across one salad recipe with a sliced kumquat garnish. More ambitious, sure. But also yawn. I mean, Dade City, FL has an entire festival devoted to the kumquat: surely there has to be more than an accessory to our morning toast?

After a trip to one of my favorite local farmers' markets, and one unexplainably necessary purchase of some gorgeously red cranberries, I thought: pie? (The Dade City festival does one.) Maybe. Or a crumble? A coffee cake? A crisp? A CRISP.

I don't know about you, but my memories of crisp-like desserts are some of my fondest. Summertime at my grandfather's house, warm, sugary oatmeal-topped fruit ,vanilla ice cream, blueberries from the backyard garden. Amazing.

So though there was nary a kumquat (or kumquat-cranberry) crisp recipe to be found on the internet (until NOW!), I decided that any ol' crisp concoction would do. I would just swap out the prescribed fruit, blueberries, peaches, apples (good, but YAWN!), for what I had one hand.

For this INVENTION, you'll need:

About 2 cups of medium-sized kumquats, sliced
About 1 cup of fresh cranberries, whole
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
About 4 tablespoons of cold butter, cubed

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Take your sliced kumquats and whole cranberries and place in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in both sugars, granulated and brown, and 1/2 a teaspoon of your cinnamon. Mix thoroughly.

In a separate bowl (SURE, also medium-sized), toss your oats and the remainder of your cinnamon. Take your butter, distributing throughout the bowl, and cut in without over-mixing. You want the crisp topping to be crumbly, not blended.

Spread your fruit evenly in a 9-inch ungreased pan. (I used a 9-inch round because, well, that's all I have. Square will also work just great.) Sprinkle your crisp-oat mixture over the top.

Pop it in the over for about 25-30 minutes. The fruit will be tender almost immediately, but you're looking for a nice golden-brown color on the oat topping. Once you have a color like the one shown below:

Well, then try not to grab a spoon and get started right on the spot. Because it's going to smell really cinnamon-y and good but it's also going to be really, really hot. Let it cool for about 15-20 minutes (because you want to eat a crisp at least warm, after all) and serve with a scoop, or two, of vanilla ice cream. And a drizzle of honey.

Note: Since this recipe is new and made up, a few adjustments could be made, mostly in the sweetening department. Kumquats are not a naturally sugary-sweet fruit; they have a very bright, tart bite. All in all, it could use a little more sugar. Maybe up your granulated sugar to 3/4 cup and your brown sugar to 1/4. If you choose a different fruit, the above sugar amounts should work just great for a sweet but not-too-sweet dessert.