Orange Ricotta Pillows with Lillet Kumquat Compote

May  6, 2021
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 8 crepe shells; filling and compote for 4
Author Notes

When I was in school a few years ago, one of my favorite desserts we made 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 crepe - making class last winter I decided to turn it into a crepe. It's since gone through a few different permutations, and this is my favorite. The kumquats are simmered in a mixture of Lillet, honey, agave nectar, cardamom seeds and cinnamon, and perfectly set off the crepe and its ricotta orange filling. Everything can be made in advance and assembled minutes before serving. But remember to interleave the crepes with wax paper or parchment so they don't stick together, and just reheat the Lillet Kumquat Sauce before spooning over the crepes. —TheWimpyVegetarian

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: ChezSuzanne is based in the Bay Area and enjoys her "second career" as a cooking teacher after a lifelong love of cooking, growing, and eating food.
WHAT: Delicate crepes stuffed with ricotta cream and topped with a complex compote that's as easy as simmering with sliced kumquat.
HOW: The crepe batter is a breeze -- you just blend it! And there's no fussy plating, since ChezSuzanne has us simply fold the filling into packages before finishing with a drizzle of syrup.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The creamy ricotta-orange filling contrasts beautifully with the nutty crepes and the herbal notes of the Lillet-kumquat compote. Plus, you can cook everything ahead of time and assemble the pillows just before serving -- now that's smart. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Orange Crepes
  • 1 cup (4.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 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
  • Ricotta Filling and Lillet Kumquat Compote
  • 2/3 cup ricotta cheese, well drained
  • 1/4 cup softened cream cheese or mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Zest of half of an orange
  • 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
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 10 ounces kumquats, thinly sliced and seeded
  1. Orange Crepes
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, preferably longer (up to 24 hours).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Cook for about 1 minute, or until the crepe bottom turns a golden brown. Flip and cook for another 30 seconds, until the crepe is golden on the second side.
  8. Remove the crepe from the pan to a plate. If stacking crepes for longer than an hour, interleave crepes with parchment or wax paper, slip into a ziplock and refrigerate. Crepes also freeze great!
  9. Lay a crepe out and spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons Ricotta Filling into the middle, molding it into a flat square. Fold the right side of the crepe 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 over the little crepe packets / pillows.
  10. 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.
  1. Ricotta Filling and Lillet Kumquat Compote
  2. Make the Ricotta Filling: Combine the first 6 ingredients (through the orange zest) in a small bowl and mix well.
  3. Make the Lillet Kumquat Compote: Combine the remaining ingredients except the kumquats together in a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Add the sliced kumquats and continue to simmer for 30 minutes, or until the kumquats are softened translucent.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Petite fee
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  • BurntCream
  • chumbalina
  • Kimbees54
  • Jaynerly

159 Reviews

sugarandsalt May 6, 2021
Was looking for a recipe that incorporated oranges because I had oranges I wanted to get rid of. I love this recipe, even my husband loved it. The crepes turned out wonderful and had a great orange taste. I did not have kumquats, so I just made the compote with sliced oranges, and I used powdered ginger and cardamom. I did not include the littet because I didn't want to incorporate alcohol in this recipe. The filling was refreshing, I really liked the cream cheese addition. With my adjustments, it still turned out amazing. Highly recommend for brunch/breakfast gatherings.
TheWimpyVegetarian June 10, 2021
Thank you so very much! It's a very flexible recipe, and am so happy it worked so well for you!
KLCannaday July 11, 2016
This was incredible. Since kumquats are out of season, I topped the crepes with lovely, juicy fresh nectarines, chopped pistachios and mint. I also added some finely sliced orange peel and a little lemon zest to the sauce as it reduced (then strained it). Served with Lillet, this was a huge success at our 'Wine Dining Group'. Thank you so much for sharing.
Petite F. January 11, 2015
Excellent combo of flavors! I did not have Lillet so subbed Moscato and rum :) It made it a bit more sweeter but the bitterness of the kumquats balanced it off.
thx 4 sharing the recipe!
BurntCream December 17, 2014
I'll be making this tonight with rhubarb in place of kumquats - hopefully it'll be a good substitution! Would you serve just one crepe per person?
chumbalina January 11, 2014
Hello ! The recipe looks great. I was planning on preparing the crepes ahead of time and perhaps even freezing a couple. Do you think the ricotta filling will keep well in the fridge for upto a week or so ?
TheWimpyVegetarian January 11, 2014
You can make the ricotta filling ahead of time, but I wouldn't keep it in the fridge for longer than a week. Excited you're going to try it! Hope you like it!
suzygregory December 24, 2013
Thanks for your quick responses! Tomorrow is white Lillet and the hunt for kumquats! Can't wait to try this :)
suzygregory December 24, 2013
Oops...also, I have never used kumquats before. Do I need to peel them for this recipe?
TheWimpyVegetarian December 24, 2013
You do not. There are seeds, but once you slice the kumquats, just pop them out. In the case of a kumquat, it's just the opposite of an orange in that it's the peel that's sweet. The pulp of kumquats are very tart, so you definitely want the peel included.
TheWimpyVegetarian December 24, 2013
Oh, and I hope you like these crepes as much as we have! Just let me know if you have any other questions :-)
suzygregory December 24, 2013
I want to make this for Christmas, I think I got the "wrong" Lillet! They apparently make both red and white. For clarification, which did you use in this recipe? I might still have time to switch them :)
TheWimpyVegetarian December 24, 2013
I used white. I'm so glad you mentioned that. I didn't even know there was a red! I'm going to make that change to the recipe.
Kimbees54 January 6, 2013
Oh -- this is SOOOOOOO good! Rave reviews from everyone at our brunch from 55 to 4-years-old. This is now in my standard brunch repertoire.
TheWimpyVegetarian January 6, 2013
Oh, I'm sooooo glad! Thanks for letting me know!!
Jaynerly September 9, 2012
Lillet is a brand of wine in the US! In the UK its a brand of tampon so it did make me laugh when I first heard of it!
TheWimpyVegetarian September 9, 2012
How funny, Jaynerly!! I'll bet it gave you pause when you read that ingredient. Clare-Louise Hamel, Lillet is a brand of French aperitif wine. It is a blend of 85% Bordeaux wines (Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle for the Blanc; Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon for the Rouge) and 15% macerated liqueurs, mostly citrus liqueurs from the peels of sweet oranges from Spain and Morocco and the peels of bitter green oranges from Haiti. If you can't find it, any light white aperitif wine will work. You can use Sauvignon Blanc, but it won't have the complexity of Lillet. Hope that helps!!
Clare-Louise H. September 8, 2012
Please could someone tell a New Zealander what Lillet is?
Clare-Louise H. September 8, 2012
Please could someone tell a New Zealander what Lillet is?
Clare-Louise H. September 8, 2012
Please could someone tell a New Zealander what Lillet is?
WCmom April 26, 2012
This sounds so good but I do not know what lillet is. Would you please let me know. Fyi, I always have luck finding kumquats at Trader Joes. Thank you for responding, Tricia
WCmom April 26, 2012
Sorry, I saw your answer from a previous question, can't wait to try!
nkddrummer February 29, 2012
An amazing and delicious dish! Well done!
TheWimpyVegetarian February 29, 2012
thanks so much nkddrummer! I'm so glad you like it!!
sunflourbaking February 13, 2012
Kumquats are impossible to find! Do you have any suggestions as to which orange variety would make the best substitution?
TheWimpyVegetarian February 13, 2012
I know kumquats aren't always readily available, even this time of year :-( I would go with clementines or other small mandarin orange. If you can't find them, I'd go with tangerines. With either option, I would remove the skin and chop up the fruit into small bite-sized pieces. I'd love to hear how that works for you!
Deborah M. February 10, 2012
I only had one cup of Lillet left in the pantry, so I added a cup of Patron Citronage Orange Liqueur. Fabulous! I couldn't find kumquats at my super-sized grocery store, so I used the pulp and zest of an orange. I love the cardamom and ginger additions to this recipe, too! Mom's birthday party isn't until 6:00 tonight; I'm hoping I can control myself so there' something left to serve my guests! Thanks for a fabulous recipe ChezSuzanne.
TheWimpyVegetarian February 13, 2012
Oh yay! I'm so glad you made these and liked them so much!!! Thanks so much for letting me know.
TheWimpyVegetarian February 4, 2012
Thanks again everyone! I so appreciate everyone's comments, and votes!!
JSCooks February 4, 2012
These remind my of my grandma's blintzes, upgraded. Can't wait to take your recipe for a spin. Congratulations! Well deserved!
TheWimpyVegetarian February 4, 2012
Thanks so much, Jenny! Would love to hear what you think if you try them!!
Sagegreen February 3, 2012
One word: scrumptious! Congrats, Chez Suzanne.
TheWimpyVegetarian February 4, 2012
Thanks so much sagegreen!