Spring rolls are the quintessential Asian appetizer, but I think they have the potential to be so much more. When cooked, these rolls are like cylindrical molten cakes with warm chocolate oozing out of an impossibly thin and crisp “pastry” shell. The kumquats not only cut through the richness with their distinct citrus tartness, but also are a symbol of good fortune, as “kum” is a homonym for “gold” in Chinese.
Chocolate Kumquat Spring Rolls
Makes 3 dozen
5 (56 grams, 2 ounces) kumquats, cut into 1/4-inch slices crosswise and seeded
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (127 grams, 4 1/2 ounces) heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 1/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
1 tablespoon butter, softened
36 5 X 5-inch square spring roll wrappers
1 large egg, lightly beaten
canola, vegetable, or other neutral oil for deep-frying
Chef’s Tip: Make sure you use thin spring roll wrappers, which can be found in Asian markets, and not egg roll wrappers
1. Put the seeded kumquat slices and their juices into a small saucepan. Add the cream and salt and warm over medium heat just until bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat.
2. Put the chocolate into the bowl of a food processor and pour the hot kumquat cream over the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for 2 minutes, then process until the mixture becomes smooth and shiny. Add the egg yolk, Grand Marnier, and butter and process to combine.
3. Line an 8 1/2 X 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap. Pour the chocolate mixture into the pan and transfer to the freezer. Freeze uncovered until completely hard, then unmold and peel off the plastic wrap. Cut the chocolate bar in half lengthwise, then cut each bar into 1/2-inch slices crosswise. You should have 36 2 X 1/2 X 1/2-inch chocolate bars.
4. Take a spring roll wrapper and lightly brush the entire surface with the beaten egg. Align the wrapper so that you see a diamond. Lay a chocolate bar at the end closest to you so that the corners of the bar meet the two adjoining edges of the wrapper to form a triangle. Take the corner closest to you and wrap it around the chocolate, then roll the chocolate away from you one full rotation. Tightly fold the two opposing corners in towards the center, then continue to roll to the end of the wrapper, making sure the end is tightly sealed. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and chocolate. Freeze the spring rolls for at least 10 minutes or up to 2 days, and take them out only when you are ready to fry them.
5. Fill a small saucepan with the oil to a depth of 2 inches and heat to 350°F. When the oil is ready (a tiny pinch of flour will sizzle), add a few spring rolls, taking care to not overcrowd the pan. Cook, turning occasionally and adjusting the heat on the stove to maintain 350°F, until golden brown, 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve warm.