A dessert of lemon and ricotta, nutrition included
Frederick is now 12 and has become quite the kitchen assistant. Not surprisingly, his favorite food projects fall in the “dessert” category. Who can blame him? For my part, I’m always on the lookout for desserts that carry some nutritional value and these lemon bars qualify! The side benefit is that they are pretty simple to put together.
After making them together a couple of times, Frederick is able to make these on his own. That’s good because the first time around the bars disappeared so fast I was fortunate to get one. A pretty high score, wouldn’t you say?
We used a gluten free baking mix in place of the flour called for in the original recipe. No problem! This recipe originates and is adapted from Winnie at Healthy Green Kitchen (here).
Lemon Ricotta Bars Ingredients
- 2 1/4 cups flour (whole spelt or gluten-free work fine)
- 1 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 4 large fresh eggs
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- Zest from one lemon
- Powdered sugar (optional)
Lemon Ricotta Bars Steps
- Lightly grease a 13x9x2 inch glass baking dish with coconut oil or butter.
- Make the crust by combining 2 of the cups of flour with 1 of the cups of sugar, salt, and melted butter. Mix together with a pastry blender.
- Pour this crumbly mixture into the buttered baking dish and spread it evenly. Press it down. You may need to flour your hands to keep the dough from sticking to you.
- Bake the crust in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. You want the crust to reach a golden stage. When it does, remove the pan from the oven and reduce the temperature to 325 degrees.
- While the dough is baking, place the ricotta, eggs, lemon juice, and the remaining 3/4 cups of sugar, 1/4 cup of flour, lemon zest, and pinch of salt in a food processor. Pulse several times until the mixture is smooth. Taste for sugar. Remember that not all lemons are equal, some are more sour than others. Add more sugar if needed. Winnie made her bars with Meyer’s lemons that are much sweeter than regular lemons but also harder to find in the market. Try both lemon types at different times and decide which you prefer. I prefer the lemon bar that is right in front of me, regardless of the lemon variety.
- Pour the lemon/cheese mixture over the baked crust and return the baking dish to the oven for about another 30 minutes. The filling should be soft but set, not liquid.
- Cut into squares after the cookies have cooled. Dust a bit of powdered sugar over the tops for a festive look.
Leftovers (if you have any) need to be refrigerated in a container with a tight-fitting lid. The bars should stay nice for at least 3 days. We have not had leftovers to test their refrigerator life thoroughly. You probably won’t either.