in the kitchen with: orange ricotta breakfast dumplings

During most of the year, I eat my breakfast while checking e-mails in the morning:  a couple slices of toast, or something sweet left over from the week’s In the Kitchen With column (yes, I do try almost every recipe which appears here so that I am sure the recipes work!).  When I am back in the US for the holidays, however, breakfast is a family tradition and we all sit down together and share a nice meal.   These orange ricotta breakfast dumplings, brought to us by Monika Kotus, author of Crumpets and Cakes blog, are perfect for those breakfasts where you’d rather spend more time with the people around you than preparing the food.  –Kristina

CLICK HERE for the full recipe after the jump!

About Monika:

Monika picked up her first camera at the age of 10, torturing neighborhood kids by ordering them to stand still, while she chronicled daily “tough life at the playground”. Later, this passion transformed into street, portrait and most recently food photography, which you can read about at her Crumpets and Cakes blog. She is currently working on a book exploring childhood’s favorite foods, while living, cooking and photographing in the beautiful city of San Francisco.

Orange Ricotta Breakfast Dumplings

(Makes about 44 small dumplings, serves 4 people)


For the dumplings
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup all purpose flour divided in half
1 medium egg lightly beaten
1 teaspoon orange zest plus more for garnish

For lavender butter
3 tablespoon sweet cream butter
2 teaspoons lavender sugar
¼ teaspoon dried lavender
Small piece of orange rind (optional)

Prepare the dumplings:

In a medium pot bring to a gentle boil 2 quarts of lightly salted water.

In a large bowl mix the ricotta with the egg, add ½ of flour and mix it with a spoon to form it into a ball, add orange zest and then more flour little by little as needed.  The dough will be very sticky, but not wet, and the amount of flour you use will depend on how much moisture is in the ricotta cheese you use.  However, one cup is about right, so don’t add too much flour as it toughens the dumpling.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and cut in half.  With your palms, gently  roll it into two long strands about ½ inch thick.   With a knife, slice each strand on diagonal into about half inch wide dumplings.  This will make approximately 44 dumplings.  Transfer all the dumplings to a large pot and boil until all float to the surface, about 10 minutes.

Prepare the lavender butter:

In the mean time in a frying pan or small sauce pan, on a medium heat, melt butter with lavender sugar, dried lavender and orange rind.  Cook for few minutes, being carful not to brown the mixture.


Arrange cooked dumplings on a serving platter or divide into small bowls. Top with lavender butter, garnish with orange zest and some fresh lavender petals, serve immediately.

Why Monika chose this recipe:

Orange ricotta dumplings are the ultimate comfort food to me, bringing great memories of summers spent at the lakes, at my grandma’s house. She would treat my sister and I to these little dumplings for breakfast, before we were off to the beach. She made them with farmer’s cheese and cinnamon butter and, if we begged long enough, she would make them for dinner too. This is my “grown-up” version with ricotta cheese, orange zest and lavender.

  1. yvette says:

    Wow! These are truly beautiful little delights! I love the flavor combination of the cheese, lavender and orange.

  2. Kate says:

    Very interesting dish. I like the idea of using lavender and orange. I would love to try it. Beautiful beautiful photos!!!

  3. Paula says:

    Fun! Now trying to find lavender sugar in this part of the world. I would however called then Gnocchi instead of dumplings.

  4. Kelly says:

    Ive never heard of lavender sugar.I wonder where I can get it in Montreal?

  5. kristina says:


    Lavender sugar is easy to make! Just have a look on google and use the recipe which most suits you. It’s much like making vanilla scented sugar!


  6. Ashleigh says:

    People who cook and take pictures of it are my hero. I do good to finish the recipe and eat it, let alone document it AND make it pretty! These look fantastic!

  7. tsuzikew says:

    they look yummy- do you think the recipe could be adapted to be made gluten free using an alternative flour?

  8. M. says:

    tsuzikew, I am not an expert on gluten free cooking, but you could definitely experiment, since this recipe is more about the cheese than a flour itself….but I can’t recommend any particular kind.

  9. Oh, these sound lovely. I really like the idea of combining lavender and orange flavors — especially on a ricotta base.

  10. Rachel B says:

    My, these sound amazing! I can’t wait to try them for mother’s day brunch!

  11. Never seen anything like this. I agree, breakfast is not a time to spending it all in the kitchen and away from loved ones. I love doing baked goods like these to avoid that! xxSAS

  12. yummy supper says:

    Crumpets and Cakes is a wonderful addition to the world of food blogs! Monika’s recipes are inspired, her photos beautiful, and her writing witty.

  13. Emily Zucker says:

    Just made these for breakfast and they couldn’t be easier to prepare. I didn’t have the lavender ingredients on hand, so I went with the sugar-cinnamon butter mentioned in the intro. Delicious. And they have a very pleasing texture. The recipe seems pretty fool-proof too; I forgot to add the egg and rolled and cut the dumplings before realizing it. I was able to mash them all back together, mix in the egg, and add the remaining flour and they came out fine. I preferred eating the smaller-sized ones, so I may cut them a tad smaller than 1/2 inch next time. This recipe is a keeper–thanks!

  14. jess says:

    I wonder if there is any way to expedite your morning kitchen work… like, can this dough be made in advance and refrigerated?

  15. marie says:

    I just made these dumplings and they were delicious, so easy and quick to prepare. Your book idea sounds interesting, can’t wait to see it.

  16. M. says:

    Hi jess, these dumplings are so easy to make….they are ready in no time… so making them in advance, in my opinion is not worth the trouble :)
    Emily, I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe;

  17. Mandy says:

    Yum!! Looks amazing… I’ll have to actually cook one of these delicious looking recipes soon…great job!!!!!

  18. yveline says:

    Amazing pictures! Just those make you mouth water.

  19. Ellen says:

    I didn’t know Spanish lavender was edible! I always use the French stuff for culinary use. Design*Sponge is so educational.. :)

  20. Cindy says:

    Fantastic photos… I have added your recipe to our bed and breakfast menu. I’m always looking for fun and amazing extras on the side dish, thanks for sharing.

  21. what a lovely recipe. and such gorgeous photos!

  22. carolyn says:

    i’m totally in a breakfast rut, so these sound terrific. satisfying but light all at the same time. such a unique recipe, and lovely photos, as always!

  23. Renai says:

    Hoping to find time to make these this weekend. They sound and look wonderful!

  24. Tracy says:

    Beautiful. Summer gnocchi. I love it. Gorgeous photos.

  25. Kevin says:

    The pics are the best. A real compliment to the food. Keep the recipes coming.

  26. Angela says:

    Oh my goodness, this looks incredibly tasty!! We’ve been REALLY into gingerales here at the office lately (maybe because the warm weather has finally kicked in!). I can’t wait to try this!

  27. kristina says:

    Why do people keep calling these gnocchi??

  28. M. says:

    I think people are used to seeing dumplings with some kind of stuffing and gnocchi without…..
    to me gnocchi is more of a savory dish whereas dumplings can be made savory or sweet….. but I guess they could be called either way.

  29. Pollyfusia says:

    My friend taught me to make gnocchi and this is basically the recipe for it, minus the orange zest. I’m just happy that I can now have gnocchi for breakfast!

  30. Jeremy says:

    This looks absolutely delightful. I know my girlfriend and I are going to enjoy this recipe. Beautiful photography!

  31. Wow! This would have made a great Mothers Day breakfast – next year!

  32. Christy says:

    I know something similar has been asked, but can these be made ahead & frozen before cooking? I’d be cooking a few at a time for week-day breakfasts. Thanks (if anyone is still reading this thread)!

  33. Global says:

    Ah, those beautiful and carefully arranged photos make Your ricotta dumplings even more desirable :) Your food photography shows natural sense of style, which one can’t simply learn – it’s got to be in You from the beginning :) Great work, and great Crumpets and Cakes blog!!!

  34. M. says:

    Hi Christy, as I said earlier, this dish is so quick to prepare that I’ve never thought of making it in advance and freezing it but….it sounds like a good idea if it comes to weekday breakfasts. I’ll try it and let you know.

  35. Truong says:

    Great stuff, it’s good to see traditional english food being reproduced.


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