If you have some kumquats to make into an incredible kumquat dessert, then you’ll certainly fall in love with these decadent Cardamom Kumquat Bars.
I love baking up new and unusual treats. I especially love finding new uses for some of my favorite fruits. Put the two together and you know something delicious is baking in my oven!
Fruit desserts are my favorite and I can’t get enough of them. I recently found kumquats at my middle eastern market and I scooped up a bag full to bring home and create some kind of kumquat dessert. I had just perfected my lemon bar recipe, so I figured why not try making some kumquat bars, too?
What are kumquats?
Have you ever tried kumquats? I’m amazed that many of my friends know about kumquats, but have never tried them. I suppose a lot of the problem is the confusion on how to eat a kumquat. And some people get loquats and kumquats confused.
The kumquat is part of the citrus family, while the loquat is kinda like a plum. The kumquat is kinda opposite of the typical citrus fruit. It has a sweet skin and a sour center. And the entire fruit is edible.
I first encountered kumquats when I was a student at the University of Arizona. The campus had several kumquat trees and I frequently grabbed a handful on my walks to class. I still love snacking on kumquats, today.
How to make kumquat bars
Once I decided to adapt my lemon bar recipe to become a kumquat recipe, the idea popped into my head use one of my favorite aromatic spices, cardamom. We Persians LOVE our cardamom.
Typically cardamom are found in dried pods. They are great to soak into your tea pot to infuse your tea and tantalize your senses. You can also find ground cardamom, which is what I used in my kumquat bars’ crust. Feel free to grind it up yourself if you only have pods.
Although the entire kumquat is edible, chose to remove the seeds from the kumquats I used in these kumquat bars. I halved and seeded the kumquats and then puréed it in the blender with a shot of orange blossom water – another wonderful Persian concoction.
Already everything was off to an aromatic and delicious start!
Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t get these kumquat bars right the first time I made them. In my usual distracted manner I accidentally used baking soda instead of baking powder. If you don’t know your chemistry, think homemade volcano.
My bars gurgled and bubbled in the oven, spilling everywhere and making a huge mess for me to clean up. I had to throw my pan out and start all over again.
The second time I made them, I accidentally turned the oven off midway baking when I meant to turn the timer off. It’s a new oven and I’m still working out the kinks. My kumquat bars were baked all the way and were runny. Duh.
I was seriously getting discouraged by my failures, but mostly I was angry that I was so ridiculously distracted. I really wanted to eat these kumquat bars so I attempted to make them a THIRD time.
Luckily, third time is a charm as I paid incredible attention to what I poured into the batter and what buttons I pushed on the oven. The buttery shortbread crust was perfection. The sweet and sour kumquat filling was beyond incredible. I loved the hints of cardamom and orange blossom water.
My adventure baking up these kumquat bars is now complete. Unfortunately, we ate them up quickly and I am getting another hankering for kumquat deliciousness. Time to make another batch!
More kumquat desserts and recipes
Kumquat Marmalade with Orange Blossom Water
Cardamom Kumquat Bars
If you have some kumquats to make into an incredible kumquat dessert, then you'll certainly fall in love with these decadent Cardamom Kumquat Bars.
- 22 kumquats, halved and seeded
- 4 TBS orange blossom water
- 3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup unsalted melted butter
- 6 TBS granulated sugar
- 1 TBS ground cardamom
- 3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 TBS powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a 9x13 baking pan with aluminum foil and grease with non-stick spray.
- In a blender add kumquats and orange blossom water.
- In a large bowl, mix together 2 cups flour, butter, 6 TBS sugar and cardamom until fully incorporated.
- Press dough evenly onto the bottom of the foil-lined pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until edges start to turn golden brown.
- While the crust is in the oven, whisk together in the same bowl kumquat purée, 1 cup flour, 3 cups sugar, eggs and baking powder until incorporated.
- Pour filling over hot crust and place back in the oven.
- Bake for 20 minutes and let kumquat bars cool completely before removing from the pan.
- Top bars with powdered and slice to serve.
Cooking Tips: If you can't find orange blossom water, substitute with orange extract or orange liquor like Grand Marnier.
Serving Size:1 bar
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 258Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 103mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 2gSugar: 30gProtein: 3g
I made these last night. Waited until they cooled. Tried to eat one and they are SO sweet. Has there been a mistake in the amount of sugar? Three cups sounded like a lot of sugar, and it sure tastes like it. I cant even discern the kumquats or cardamom.
If you substitute the orange blossom water for orange extracts, do you use the same amount (3tbsp)?
Orange blossom water is much more mild in aroma and flavor than orange extract. So I would suggest using 1 TBS.
Did you use sweet pulp kumquats or sour pulp kumquats?
The skin of the kumquat is sweet and the pulp is usually sour. That is what I used in this recipe. If you have not seen sweet kumquat pulp.
I used candied kumquats (instead of fresh).
Only used 3/4 cup of sugar (instead of 3).
It becomes a sensational tart like creation. I presented it as a dessert, served warm an absolute delight
Sounds like your modifications were a success! So glad you like the bars.
Can’t wait to try out this recipe today
I hope you enjoy them!
So glad I found this recipe! Perfect to use up some frozen kumquat puree from last season (I used about 20 g of puree for each kumquat the recipe calls for). I halved the recipe for an 8×8″ pan, increasing the cardamom to 2 tsp & reducing sugar in the filling to 1 C. I also left out the orange blossom water because I didn’t have any. It turned out fantastic even with all my tweaks – the filling was a bit soft/spongy and didn’t have the lemon bar-esque top crust the pictures show, but the sweetness level was perfect… Read more »
My tips after making these: pay attention so you don’t over-cook the crust. Really do let them cool all the way before cutting or they’ll run all over. Cut small pieces, they’re rich! I’m wondering if they need to be refrigerated?
I am always looking for ways to enjoy the fruits from our organic farm. We have started harvesting tree ripened fruit from our 75 kumquat trees and I am preparing to bake these kumquat bars tonight! I am going to search your other recipes for uses of figs and cherimoya, also fruits we grow on our commercial farm. Thank you!!
I have to make me one of those sometime, what a great combination, cardamom and kumquat, im a cardamom producer always looking for new ways to use this wonderful spice
Spice Sherpa, I'm glad you liked the bars. Thanks so much for including me in your terrific round up of fruit & spice pairings!
After reading your post I promised myself that it would be perfect thing to share for for a summer fruit and spice pairing post. I finally did it and featured a link to your recipe under kumquats and cardamom (of course).
Hi! Found you via your link on The Culinary Lens. 🙂 These bars look wonderful, and so does your bowl full of kumquats photo! My grandmother made cardamom bread during the holidays (with a bit of citrus — lemon zest, etc.), but I never thought to pair them like this. Delish!
Thank you for directing me here vi my blog post. Delicious I am sure. The first time I ever tasted cardamom was in an Indian yogurt drink called a lassi. It was incredible
I adore kumquats and always thought of them exactly as you describe, "inside out of a typical citrus." They can get pretty sour on the inside and it's fun to give one to someone for the first time. No matter how much you warn them that wall of tang hits like brick wall. Never thought of cardamom as a pairing but of course it sounds perfect. And why not? Cardamom is excellent with oranges and tangerines! I've never tried kumquats in a recipe before…can't wait to try this out!
Yum, these bars look gorgeous and your flavor combination sounds delicious!
I have baklava in the oven as we speak with cardamom in it!!! 😀 Your bars look fantastic!
I can't wait to try these! I must admit, I've never eaten a kumquat, so I will use you as my inspiration to try them! Cardamom is one of my favorite flavors in the world, so this seems like a win-win for me. Thanks for the recipe, Laura!
Looks delicious. Cardamom is one of my favorite spices. I had a cake overflow in my oven once, what a mess! I feel your pain on that one.