Daring Bakers: Kumquat Tian

Kumquat Tian (02) by MeetaK 

If I should ever loose track of time or forget what time of month it is – it’s the Daring Bakers’ challenges that always remind me exactly in which time frame I am in. It comes around like clockwork and considering the fact that I have been a part of the group for four years (next month), there is not only a certain routine but also that perfect sense of organization that I truly find relaxing.

Yes – relaxing! It was not always like that though. I remember in the beginning there were quite a few challenges that really threw me off and put me in a slight panic. However, after realizing that panic brings chaos I have begun to take things more lightly.

Light and divine was this month’s challenge. I have to admit that when Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings published the challenge on the Daring Kitchen, inspiration failed me. As I played with the idea, however I began to get more inspired. Jennifer wanted us to make an orange tian.

Tians can be made of a variety of ingredients and in all sorts of flavors. Composed in layers one can make savory and sweet deserts and the possibilities are immense.

The orange tian for the challenge was composed using a pâte sablée with orange marmalade, a flavored whipped cream topped with fresh orange segments and served with a caramel and orange sauce. The dessert is built upside down and then unmolded so that the bottom layer (the orange segments) becomes the top layer.

I did tweak the recipe slightly and just took the freedom of trying out a few things. I stuck to the pâte sablée recipe given. It was easy and fairly delicious.

A pâte sablée is made with butter, flour or powdered almonds, butter, egg, sugar and flavored with vanilla. It has more calories than a pâte brisée or pâte sucrée and the most flavor. I do not have to tell you that it’s my favorite kind of crust for all the wrong reasons!

Fresh Kumquats (03) by MeetaK

Instead going with a marmalade I did something slightly different. I had bought close to a truck- load of kumquats and decided to use it for the challenge. I basically boiled the kumquats, then once they were soft I transferred the fruit to a food processor and gave it a quick whizz, making a kind of fruit pulp, which was simply delectable for the dessert.

I also halved the whip cream and added an equal amount of quark for more body and a slightly tangier flavor. I love quark based desserts as it offers a wonderful texture and in the tian it was just the perfect complementary ingredient.

Finally, I made candied thyme kumquats, which did two things for me. I could skip the caramel making as the syrup from the fruit would be a sweet substitute and I did not layer the fruit at the bottom, instead started with the quark-cream mixture and once I unmolded the tian arranged the candied thyme kumquats on top. The main reason was fairly simple and logical – I did not want the sticky citrus fruit sticking on the paper!

Kumquat Tian (01) by MeetaK

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

The recipe below is the one with my tweaks, but you’ll find the original recipe for this challenge here.

Kumquat Tian

Printable version of recipe here.


For the Pate Sablee:

2 medium-sized egg yolks at room temperature
6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon; 2.8 oz; 80 grams granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams ice cold, cubed Unsalted butter
1/3 teaspoon; 2 grams Salt
1.5 cup + 2 tablespoons; 7 oz; 200 grams All-purpose flour
1 teaspoon; 4 grams baking powder


  1. Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

  2. In a separate bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale. Pour the egg mixture in the food processor.

  3. Process until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and process again to form a homogenous ball of dough. Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
    Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (350 F).
  4. Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until you obtain a ¼ inch thick circle.

  5. Using your cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment (or silicone) lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the circles of dough are just golden.


For the Kumquat Fruit Pulp:

350g kumquats
1-2 tablespoons muscovado sugar


  1. Blanch the kumquats in some water for a few minutes. Then drain. Fill the saucepan with more water and bring to a boil.

  2. Place the kumquats in the saucepan and cook until the citrus fruit are fairly soft approx. 25-30 minutes.

  3. Transfer the fruit to a food processor add the sugar and give it a whizz. The pulp will be thick with bits of zest and simply delicious. If you find any pips remove them but generally the pips of a kumquat can be eaten.

  4. Set aside to cool. This makes more than you will actually need but you can store it in jars and use it as a basis for several other desserts and toppings.


For the Quark Cream

100g whipping cream
100g quark
1 teaspoon gelatin
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
1-2 tablespoons kumquat fruit pulp (recipe above)


  1. In a small bowl, add the gelatin and hot water, stirring well until the gelatin dissolves. Let the gelatin cool to room temperature while you make the quark-whipped cream.

  2. Pour the cream into a chilled mixing bowl. Whip the cream using a hand mixer on low speed until the cream starts to thicken for about one minute. Add the confectioner sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high. Whip the cream until the beaters leave visible (but not lasting) trails in the cream.

  3. Add the cooled gelatin slowly while beating continuously. Continue whipping until the cream is light and fluffy and forms soft peaks.

  4. Using a rubber spatula fold in the quark gently. Transfer the quark cream to a bowl and fold in the kumquat fruit pulp.

Tip: Use an ice cold bowl to make the whipped cream in. You can do this by putting your mixing bowl, cream and beater in the fridge for 20 minutes prior to whipping the cream.

You will also need:

a portion of these candied thyme kumquats.

Assembling the Dessert:

Make sure you have some room in your freezer. Ideally, you should be able to fit a small baking sheet or tray of desserts to set in the freezer.

Line a small tray or baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Lay out 6 dessert rings onto the parchment paper/silicone.

Have the kumquat fruit pulp, quark cream and baked circles of dough ready to use.

Spoon a few spoonfuls of quark cream into the dessert rings and gently spread it so that it fills the dessert ring in an even layer. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top so there is room for dough circle.

Then spread a few spoonfuls of fruit pulp in an even layer on top of the quark cream. .

Carefully place a circle of dough over each ring and gently press on the circle of dough to make sure the dessert is compact.

Place the desserts to set in the freezer to set for 10-15 minutes.

Using a small knife, gently go around the edges of the dessert rings to make sure the dessert will be easy to unmold. Gently place your serving plate on top of a dessert (on top of the circle of dough) and turn the plate over. Gently remove the dessert rings, arrange the candied thyme kumquats on top of the quark cream and spoon a few spoonfuls of syrup over the top. Serve immediately.

Food Guide

Have a browse through my Food Guide section on the sidebar. You’ll find several brilliant tips, tricks, know-hows and food facts.

You’ll find exciting tips for making perfect macarons, luscious éclairs  or how to make your own homemade quark.

Want to know how to store and select apricots or the what to pay attention when buying oranges or what butter oil is? The Food Guide will reveal all!



Kumquat Tian (03) by MeetaK

This was a very simple dessert really whipped up in no time. I had made the candied thyme kumquats a few days ahead, which gave it time for all the flavors to intermingle beautifully. All the other elements I made on the same day. It was a light refreshing treat that both Soeren and I enjoyed in the middle of the week. Ever since Tom started work in Vienna and is based during the week there I try to think of special highlights to sweeten Soeren’s week. Sometimes it’s with a DVD and popcorn other times it’s a little dessert like this. We both really enjoyed but both contemplated the fact that it would have been even better if we had added chocolate to the quark cream. The flavors of the sweet and herby candied fruit paired with the lovely fruit pulp provided a real burst of flavors. There were wonderful textures in each element of this challenge, harmonizing wonderfully in one dessert. As I mentioned before the possibilities to the several varieties and flavors for this dessert are near to endless.

I thank Jennifer for a great challenge and for being a wonderful hostess.

Hope you’ll all join me next week as I countdown to Easter with a couple of mouthwatering creations. I am off for the weekend and wish you all a happy and sunny weekend!

You might like these delicious Daring Bakers’ ideas for Easter from WFLH:

Bakewell Tart with Thyme Infused Cherry Preserve and Cashew Frangipane Lemon Tuiles & Chestnut Tree Honey Ice-Cream Cannoli with Gianduja Cream and Lemon Goat Cheese Cream


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2010 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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  1. That looks gorgeous! The candied kumquats look amazing. They can be difficult to find here, so I'm a little bit jealous:)
    The thyme sounds good--I've never tried it, but I love rosemary with citrus, so I'm sure I'd love this too. Nice job!

  2. Those kumquats look like jewels.
    Happy DB-aversary!

  3. Beautiful desserts. I love those kumquats candy. I can just snack on them. Great to make into a drink too.

  4. Is that thyme on there? YUM! These little tians are looking so delectable and glossy, they're dessert jewels.

  5. I love these glazed kumquats with a well-matured cheese, but in a dessert I have never had it. This tweaked recipe of yours have inspired me to try them in a sweet recipe.

  6. I just love tha tyou always make something special for the DB. Looks so soyumm. And i just sticked to the recipe.
    Beautiful pic.

  7. Why do my desserts always pale in comparison to yours? Just beautiful, Meeta, and always original, like rare jewels. This was a gorgeous early springtime dessert and we loved it.

  8. Gorgeous Meeta, they are beautiful! I love the candied kumquats and the way you brought the challenge together. Yay sis, I used quark too, and loved how the flavours came together!

  9. Your take on this dessert is awesome, as always! Those tian look delicious!



  10. The Kumquat Tian is simply too beautiful to eat. Love the great presentation and gorgeous click as always!
    Happy Weekend!

  11. The little kumquats are so pretty. I like the sound of thyme in ther too. And four years? Wow! That's some feat, well done :)

  12. Meeta - I love what you did with this challenge. I did not plan to venture away from the posted recipe since i thought it was very complicated but was pleasantly surprised when I managed to make all the components in about 90 minutes! I will definitely be making this again dnd experimenting with flavours etc.. Bravo on this - you did a great job!

  13. Your photographs make me swoon! I love the idea of a candied kumquat topping - the tian looks really elegant and sumptuous.

  14. Love the little jewels of kumquat,such a wonderful citrusy fruit :D

  15. you win for my favorite of the month. great job.

  16. As I have already said, pictures are amazing and elegant, as ever!
    I love your changes in the recipe, it gains personality and flavour, without any doubt!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  17. Oh this looks seriously good - all the kind of flavours I like, especially kumquat and thyme together!

  18. I always say I'm going to make something with kumquats but haven't yet. I love this somewhat savory version of the dessert, as I found the original to be too sweet. And I enjoyed learning about quark so thanks for that!

  19. It's always a treat to see your take on a challenge Meeta. Thyme candied kumquats are unexpected but sound wonderful, especially with the quark enriched whipped cream. Lovely take on the Orange Tian.

  20. Those candied kumquats look amazing! When I saw that picture in the forums I couldn't get it out of my head that they looked like little cherry tomatoes and it was a savory tian. :)

  21. You do amazing things with kumquats Meeta! This is such a beautiful looking dessert and a wonderful interpretation of the orange tian.

  22. This looks so exquisite and refreshing.

  23. I just knew you would do something different!! Kumquats! How clever is that. As usual, you've done a brilliant job dear friend!! Four years next month huh!!!

  24. It looks so lovely and it is a treat to my eyes

  25. thank you so much everyone for all your comments - glad you are liking my take on this dessert. it was a lovely challenge and hope everyone else enjoyed it too!

  26. I really liked your take on this challenge especially the substitution with quark.oorshipp

  27. These are so beautiful and impressive. What a lovely dessert for a party! And kumquats are so much fun. I just made a huge pile of candied kumquats last night to serve with chocolate cake, and have a ton leftover. Maybe I'll make your beautiful tian!

  28. Those kumquats look fantastic, great challenge!

  29. Absolutely beautiful photos - and your result sounds amazing. Great job!

  30. Marvelous photos. I rarely buy kumquats, thanks for the reminder. I need to pick some up and try this lovely dessert.

  31. Just gorgeous! I love the kumquat version - yum!

  32. I am completely in love particularly with your second photograph.

  33. I've already seen several versions of tian from this month's challenge but yours is truly an original! Kumquat and thyme make it really special. Wonderful job!

  34. Wow. That really looks well-made! Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe!

  35. Awed !!! Speechless, but then that is always the case when I am here Meeta :)

  36. The kumquats look pretty!
    I have never had them....looked for them after I read your blog but could not find it my grocery store. will keep looking!

  37. Oh my gosh! How did I miss your Tian. It looks so delicate. The kumquats look like a crown of gems. Really pretty!

  38. So cute! Great job on your tians! They sound great!

  39. Gorgeous! I love the combo of quark and cream, and then the addition of thyme in the kumquats. Such a delightful balance and depth of flavor, I can imagine!

  40. I was thinking of doing something with a kumquat for my tian, but I've never worked with them and they uhh..kinda scare for me some reason..evil, tiny orange 'mini-me's'..lol Your kumquat tians are gorgeous..absolutely stunning, but I knew I would be in for a treat when I saw your entry :)

  41. This is just so, so pretty, Meeta! :-) I love quark and am always interested in splendid ways to use it. :-) This is wonderful!!!

  42. This looks so delicious Meeta! I totally missed the Daring Bakers this month, although I am actually making it today.. The good part is that I get to peak at others first and get inspiration from there. Love your kumquats here!

  43. thanks for all the wonderful feedback on this. much appreciated!


Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

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