An adaptation from something I tried first of all with some chinotti in syrup that the Pauli gave us at New Year - chinotti are a small citrus, which I think one is supposed to spear with a cocktail stick and eat carefully (beware heavy drips of syrup!) along with a cup of coffee, but which in fact are too sweet for modern taste to do anything of the kind. Much better to cut a couple of them into fine dice and add, along with a spoonful of syrup, when churning some homemade vanilla ice cream. The end result is delicious. As it is with the spiced kumquat version. The Brancolis gave us a bag of kumquats from their tree when they came to dinner, several weeks ago, to which I decided to give the same treatment. Simmered for twenty minutes in syrup (for one pound of kumquats, use two cups of water and one of sugar) to which has been added five cloves, three crushed star anise, half a tablespoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of vanilla, the kumquats should then be bottled; reduce the syrup by about half, until noticeably thickened, then strain and cool slightly before pouring over the bottled fruit, along with a quarter cup of brandy. Seal, shake to mix the syrup and brandy, and refrigerate for a fortnight before use.
To make the ice cream:
For four servings:
Ingredients: 6 egg yolks; 250 ml milk; 250 ml cream; 50g sugar; half a vanilla pod, or a teaspoon of good vanilla essence; 2 kumquats, preserved as above, along with a tbs of their syrup.
1. Heat the milk and cream together in a bain marie or simmertopf. If using vanilla bean, then carefully scrape out the innards and add them, along with the scraped bean, to the combined milk and cream.
2. Beat together the egg yolks and sugar until light yellow in colour, and thickened. To this, add the heated milk and cream, mix, and return to the simmertopf. If using vanilla essence, add it now. Cook over gentle heat, stirring constantly, until thickened sufficient to coat the back of a spoon, then return to the mixing bowl to allow to cool down.
3. Once cooled, remove the vanilla bean (if used) and churn in the ice cream machine. At the start of churning, add the kumquats, finely diced, and their syrup. Continue as for making any ice cream.