Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Matzo Crunch with Candied Kumquats

When Passover is finished, we're left with some fond memories, chairs to be returned, and a pile of wine-stained tablecloths and napkins that need bleaching. And a whole lot of matzo.

This year is no exception. Most of us slowly work our way through matzo overload, swapping it out for crackers in our daily snacking (my current variation involves a swipe of butter, sprinkle of birthday-gift truffle salt (thanks, Katie!), and dusting of nutritional yeast). But I also strongly urge you to turn at least some of the leftover haul into this candied kumquat matzo crunch.

This year's early holiday means that kumquats are still in the stores, at the tail end of their season. And once you slice them up and simmer them in a sugar syrup, they turn into little jewel-like, sour-sweet rounds, perfect for topping your matzo crunch. The original recipe that inspired me just spread some bittersweet chocolate on a plain slice of matzo, and while that's perfectly fine, I opted to make things even more ridiculous (though not as ridiculous as this) and lay down a layer of caramel first. Because Passover only comes but once a year. Although the matzo seems to last a whole lot longer...

  Matzo Crunch with Candied Kumquats

inspired by Dani Fisher, with caramel via Marcy Goldman's recipe
yields ~5 sheets matzo, enough for many dessert servings

If you want to skip the caramel for a less candy-like (and equally delicious) treat, just melt that amount of chocolate gently in a double boiler or microwave, spread it on the matzo, and proceed with the recipe.

Candied Kumquats:
1 1/2 cups kumquats
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water

5 sheets matzo
1 cup unsalted butter
1 packed cup brown sugar
hefty pinch salt (plus additional coarse salt for topping, optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 heaping cup chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate

To candy the kumquats: Slice the kumquats quite thin, flicking out any seeds (they'll fall out in the process too, and are also edible, so don't worry too much). Bring the sugar and water to a simmer in a pot, then add the kumquats, reducing the heat until it's just enough to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the kumquats have become translucent, ~20 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, and place on a rack to drain.

While the kumquats are drying off a bit, prepare the matzoh crunch. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, and lay out the matzoh (break as needed to fit). Preheat your oven to 350 Fahrenheit.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter and sugar together over a medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, and let simmer for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and add the salt and vanilla. Pour the hot mixture over the matzo, spreading with a heat-proof spatula to cover evenly.

Transfer the matzo to the oven, and bake for 15 minutes (it'll bubble up a bit during the baking). After 15 minutes, remove from the oven, and scatter the chocolate evenly over the top. Let sit 5 minutes, then spread the chocolate evenly with an offset spatula. Top with a paving of the kumquat slices, pressing into the warm chocolate slightly. Sprinkle with a bit of coarse salt if desired.

Let cool fully (you can speed this up in the refrigerator if you're impatient), then break or cut into chunks.

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