Lemon Curd Shortbread with Candied Kumquats


I know you’re like me – looking at this post and wondering who in the hell has time to candy their own kumquats. I once did. I harvested my own kumquats while visiting my parents in Florida and leisurely reduced slivers of them in sugar water until they were sticky. While simmering, I pondered  how interesting it is that sour citrus has high volumes of pectin. I had the backdoor open, barefoot, not wondering (worried or annoyed by) how many times I’d have to wash the Cuisinart while making numerous batches of shortbread. Oh, the holiday.

That was before we were all back into our work shoes and socks …and more socks…layering for this brutal weather and hoping that seasonal depression won’t settle in early this year (I jest – with concern). These are the months I leave in the cold dark morning (hello 18 degrees today!) for the gym  and return home in the cold and dark to my pajamas and recorded Anthony Bourdain shows. Believe it or not, I don’t want to be “forever lazy” as those commercials suggest. As the what-seems-like never-ending regular uniform of pajama pants and slippers seem overwhelmingly depressing, I’ll always have the memory of 70 degree December afternoons spent candying freshly harvested Florida kumquats.

In the meantime, won’t you write me and let me know about your favorite ways to pass the cold dark times and days when all your friends are on annoyingly strict diets?

Save this recipe for when you have time to make short bread and candy kumquats. They are quite beautiful and fairly simple to make. I served them on a long glass tray at my New Year’s Eve Party. Blame the champagne for this tupperware photo as I took none at the party.

Lemon Curd Shortbread with Candied Kumquats from the Heart of an Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys by David Tanis

Lemon Curd Shortbread

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • another 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • one lemon, zested
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, combine flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, salt and cold butter. Pulse until the mixture looks like cornmeal. Pour in to a baking pan and press down with your fingers. Bake until golden brown – about 20 or so minutes.

Meanwhile, make the curd. Whisk together eggs, additional yolks, additional 1/2 cup suagr, cornstarch, lemon zest and juice. Pour the curd over the golden short bread and bake for another 30 or so minutes. Allow to cool – be patient – allow them to cool! Then cut into small squares (smaller than you think – it’s zesty!). Top with slivers of candied kumquats.

Candied Kumquats

  • 12 or so fresh kumquats (lord know where you find these outside of your neighbor’s trees in Florida)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

Cut the kumquats crosswise into thin circles. Remove the seeds (if you have the patience – I didn’t). In a saucepan, add the water, sugar and kumquats. Bring to a simmer, allow the sugar to dissolve and reduce to low. Cook for thirty minutes. Cool in a jar and they’ll keep for a month!

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