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Orange Ricotta Pillows with Lillet-Kumquat Compote

Ricotta Crepes with Lillet Kumquat Compote
When I was in school a few years ago, one of my favorite desserts that took me completely by surprise was a ricotta pie topped with a tangle of candied kumquats. It was that perfect balance of sweet and well, not so sweet, for me. So when I taught a class on making crepes last winter for the local Community College, I decided to turn it into a crêpe dessert. Each component works on its own, but the combination is magic.

If you haven’t tried kumquats yet, pick some up at the market today. They start ripening around Christmastime, and are typically gone by the end of the winter, depending on where you live. They resemble an oblong, dwarfed orange, and are meant to be eaten whole. The fruit is extremely sour, but the skin is surprisingly sweet, making the combination a perfect foil for each other.

I slice and seed them, and throw them into kale or endive salads; eat them whole (being careful of the seeds); and candy them to put on top of cakes or ice cream. You can candy them simply by thinly slicing them, removing the seeds, and covering them with 2 parts water to 1 part sugar. Simmer the liquid until the kumquats are softened and translucent.  Or use the below compote recipe that incorporates Lillet and honey, along with the sugar.

UPDATE!!!: THIS RECIPE JUST MADE THE FINALIST ROUND ON FOOD52! If you like the looks of it, please feel free to vote for it here by Tuesday, January 31 2012:

http://www.food52.com/contests/270_your_best_citrus_recipe

I’m really excited!! Thanks for everyone’s support!

UPDATE#2! This recipe won the Best Citrus Recipe on FOOD52. I’m thrilled – thanks everyone who voted and supported me!

Ricotta Crepes with Lillet Kumquat Compote

Orange Ricotta Pillows with Lillet Kumquat Compote

Cook’s Notes:

  • All the components for this dessert can be made in advance, and then assembled minutes before serving. Just reheat the compote before spooning it over the Ricotta Pillows.
  • If not using the crepes within an hour of making and stacking them, interleave them with wax paper or parchment paper so they don’t stick together.
  • The crepes freeze great in a freezer-safe zip lock baggie, and will keep easily for a few months. Just allow to defrost on a counter for 30 minutes before using.
  • The Orange Crepes recipe makes 10 – 12 crepes; the Ricotta Filling and Compote recipes make enough for 6 crepes.
  • Lillet is a French apertif wine. You can substitute Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc wine if preferred.  

Orange Crepes:

  • 1 cup (4.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  1. Using either a blender or whisk, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the egg; if using a whisk, make a well and place the egg in it. Whisk the egg and flour mixture together.
  2. Add half of the milk and mix / whisk until a thick batter forms. Add the remaining milk, the warm water, zest, and vanilla extract. Mix / whisk until the batter is completely smooth. Mix / whisk in the melted butter.
  3. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, preferably longer (up to 24 hours).
  4. Remove from the refrigerator, and whisk the batter if it has separated. Heat a non-stick pan with sloping sides over medium heat. Coat the pan lightly with butter or with a paper towel dipped lightly in oil.
  5. When the pan is hot, pour in a small amount of batter using a measuring cup or ladle. Use 1/8 cup of batter for a 6 – 7” pan or ¼ cup of batter for a 9 – 10” pan. Immediately start to tilt the pan to allow the batter to cover the bottom of the pan evenly in a thin layer.
  6. Cook for about 1 minute, or until the crêpe bottom turns a golden brown. Flip and cook for another 30 seconds, until the crêpe is golden on the second side.
  7. Remove the crêpe from the pan to a plate. If stacking crepes for longer than an hour, interleave crepes with parchment or wax paper, slip into a ziplok and refrigerate. Crepes also freeze great!
  8. Lay a crêpe out and spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons Ricotta Filling (recipe below) into the middle, molding it into a flat square. Fold the right side of the crêpe over the filling; fold the left side over the filling, laying it on top of the first side that was folded over. Fold up the bottom, and the top down, forming a little packet. Repeat for the rest. Place on plates and spoon the Lillet Kumquat Compote (recipe below) over the little crêpe packets / pillows.
  9. Take a sip of Lillet. And then another. And try to say Lillet Kumquat Compote fast 3 times in a row….Kidding :-) If you can do it even once, you’re a better woman than I will ever be.

Ricotta Filling:

  • 2/3 cup ricotta cheese, well drained
  • ¼ cup softened cream cheese or mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • Zest of half of an orange
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.

Lillet Kumquat Compote:

  • 2 cups Lillet
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons candied ginger, minced
  • seeds from 6 cardamom pods, crushed with a mortar and pestle
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • pinch salt
  • 10 ounces kumquats, thinly sliced and seeded
  1. Combine the remaining ingredients except the kumquats together in a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer.
  2. Add the sliced kumquats and continue to simmer for 30 minutes, or until the kumquats are softened translucent.
  3. Allow to cool slightly before spooning over the Ricotta Pillows
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25 Responses to “Orange Ricotta Pillows with Lillet-Kumquat Compote” Subscribe

  1. Suzanne January 22, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    This is so beautiful and I can’t wait to eat it. Made some homemade ricotta today, will be making them this week. I don’t have lillet but I do have a very similar ice dessert wine that I will be using. Will report back. I am so excited to try this.

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian January 22, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

      Thanks so much Suzanne! A dessert wine should work great in the compote. I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you. With homemade ricotta, it would be that much better :-)

      • Suzanne January 25, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

        I finally found kumquats, who would know that they would be difficult to find. Making it on Friday. Have a feeling this will be a finalist.

        • The Wimpy Vegetarian January 25, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

          We’ve got them in all our stores here right now, but that’s probably because one of the states they’re grown in is California. I’m so glad you found some and would love to hear what you think! There were sooo many great entries this time, I’m not sure I’ll make finalist, but am really hoping for community pick :-) Voted for your lovely stew on Whole Foods yesterday!! Good luck!!!

  2. Lynda January 23, 2012 at 7:39 am #

    Who could resist anything with a name like orange-ricotta-pillow? These sound dreamy.

  3. Rosemary January 23, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    I’ve never cooked kumquats but enjoy them fresh. This recipe is inspiring me to try them cooked. GREAT photos!

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian January 23, 2012 at 8:42 am #

      Thanks so much, Rosemary!! I love kumquats in all their forms – hope you give candied ones a try.

  4. Rosemary January 23, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    PS. I don’t see the Lillet in the recipe?? (I wasn’t familiar with it, had to look it up – always good to learn something new!)

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian January 23, 2012 at 8:45 am #

      Aack!!! Thank you so much for catching that!!! Glad I put it into the title so you could notice it was missing. Fixed now :-) I buy Lillet at WF, but you can find it other places too, I sure. It’s a delicious little appertif wine which is served very well chilled. It was new to me too, until I saw it mentioned in various blogs last summer. So when I saw it at WF, I had to buy it. Hope you like it!

  5. Hannah January 23, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    Wow, what a lovely dessert! I haven’t cooked kumquats before, only served them raw in salads. I love your combination of Lillet and kumquats with ricotta (I’ll eat anything with “pillow” in the title!).

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian January 24, 2012 at 10:32 am #

      Thanks so much Hannah!I think you’d like them cooked / candied too. They’re such a versatile little fruit!

  6. Laura @ The Art of Cooking Real Food January 24, 2012 at 6:56 am #

    Such a lovely dessert. I can’t wait to make this – creamy, sweet, fruity…Ahh!

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian January 24, 2012 at 10:33 am #

      Thanks Laura!! I’m working hard at convincing myself not to make these again. Today. For the third time :-) Hope you have a chance to try them and like them too.

  7. lapadia January 25, 2012 at 4:23 am #

    Lovely recipe, thanks so much for sharing it! I have never used kumquats before, will have to check them out soon..

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian January 25, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

      Thanks lapadia! You will LOVE them. I don’t always find them in the stores, but when you see them, grab them and experiment a little! They are so under-rated I think.

      • lapadia February 2, 2012 at 12:53 am #

        Hi again! Just want to send a BIG congratulations on your F52 win with this recipe :). So beautiful and mouthwatering. But, dang, in my opinion, I think YOUR photos look better than Food52′s, I wish they could use them. :)

        • The Wimpy Vegetarian February 2, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

          Oh Linda, you have just made my day. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I didn’t expect to win, quite honestly, but am very excited about it!!!

          • lapadia February 2, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

            My pleasure, and you deserve it!!

  8. Suzie January 25, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    Oh Susan, these look divine!!!!!! you’ve reminded me I need to buy some kumquats before they are all gone! I craving crepes now~

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian January 25, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

      Thanks so much Suzie!!! I really appreciate it. Definitely go get some of those little beauties. I just picked up some more today when I was at WF :-)

  9. Bevi February 3, 2012 at 6:04 am #

    Congrats on your food52 win Susan! I had to follow the contest from afar – traveling again! I agree with Linda that your photo is far more gorgeous that the food52 try! Your version is so sparkling and jewel-like.

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian February 3, 2012 at 9:44 am #

      Thanks so much Bevi! I really appreciate it!! You’ve been traveling a lot – hopefully there’s been some fun involved too.

  10. Still Served Warm February 3, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    Susan this dish is so amazing that I can’t stop looking at the pictures! I might use them as a screensaver… ;)
    Ambra

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian February 3, 2012 at 9:47 am #

      Oh wow, Ambra – thank you so, so much!! I really appreciate your comment – you guys are really making my day.

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