It all started out with me being short on ingredients.
You see, I just wasn’t paying attention to what I had on hand. I decided to make a pound cake and just never noticed that I didn’t have enough granulated sugar. I already had a pound of butter whipping around in my stand mixer and didn’t want to see it go to waste so I made a quick improvisation by subbing brown sugar. And it wasn’t too bad. In the oven, the cake smelled smooth and rich, like caramel and butter. And then, when I tasted it, it was just OK and that was kind of a letdown.
But let me tell you about this sauce! I make a trip to KC to hit up Trader Joe’s and IKEA last weekend. On a whim, I picked up some kumquats. Never had them before so it was an eye opener for me. With tart flesh and sweet skin, they start out with a pucker and then slowly mellow into something sweeter and pleasantly citrussy. While the cake was in the oven, I decided they needed to become a sauce. And what a sauce!
The cake wasn’t anything to write home about so I won’t waste your time by posting it… but the sauce is just too good not to share. It, too, was born of a mistake caused by just not thinking. There was a plumber working in the house at the time and the water was turned off. I had only about 1/4 cup of water in a bottle and I realized this only after I had the ‘quats sliced and in the saucepan with several other ingredients. I added a few glug-glugs of St. Germain elderflower liquor to round out the liquids. I could have, of course, just tossed a few ice cubes into the pan but that thought conveniently only came after I added the liquor. And, truth be told, I probably would have just gone ahead and used the liquor anyway.
The sauce is a bit reminiscent of a loose marmalade with the citrus peel and sweet jammy quality and, with the kumquat and addition of lime juice, you’ll get a nice tartness. The elderflower gives it a nice extra floral dimension. It would be lovely served over a better pound cake than what I produced. (In the pic below, I also included a dollop of heavy cream freshly whipped with some vanilla bean paste.) Vanilla ice cream would also be a good vehicle.
And so, I give you….
- a good-sized handful of kumquats
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup St. Germain elderflower liquor
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- pinch salt
- Clean and thinly slice the kumquats, picking out seeds as you come to them.
- Toss the sliced kumquats into a saucepan with all the other ingredients and stir until well combined.
- Heat the mixture to a boil and then reduce the temperature to a gentle simmer. Let the mixture cook until the kumquat slices are tender and the syrup has thickened, about 20 minutes. You'll want to check on it periodically, stirring occasionally.
- Let cool and then pour it all over whatever goodness you've chosen as a vehicle for the sauce.