If you’ve been reading my site for some time, you likely know that I do not label the way I eat. I don’t follow any particular diet or identify with any particular eating strategy. I eat whole/real/nourishing foods the majority of the time but I also eat things that don’t fit these descriptors when I want them…I don’t exclude anything from my diet unless I don’t like it. This moderation approach works really, really well for me.
Recently my friend/writer extraordinaire Peter Barrett interviewed me about my book for a local publication called The Chronogram. He really captured what I am about- he called the piece The Moderator!- and I could not be more pleased with the article. I encourage you to read it here.
In other news, January was a rough month. It was cold and filled with a lot of bad news. I am hoping for warmer, happier days in February, and these Meyer Lemon Ricotta Bars symbolize that hope.
If super tart is what you seek in a lemon dessert, these may not be for you (try these lemon bars instead). Meyer lemons are sweeter than regular lemons and the ricotta cheese “mellows” these bars, so they won’t make you pucker up. They are bursting with lovely citrus flavor, though; you can find the recipe I used for inspiration over on food52. (The easy crust recipe comes from One Bowl Baking: Simple, From Scratch Recipes for Delicious Desserts.)
There is sugar in this recipe and as Peter wrote in the Chronogram article, my stance on sugar has really softened in recent years. Though I wrote in my book that it is best avoided, I currently eat sweet foods, such as these lemon bars, without any guilt or worry. Do I eat 5 of them at a time on an empty stomach? No. I cut them very small and eat one or two at a time after a meal. This is moderation in action. You can find my current thoughts on sugar in this post, if you’d like more clarification on this topic.
I sure hope your February is as lovely as these Lemon Ricotta Bars :)
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Recipe for Meyer Lemon Ricotta Bars
For the crust:
- *2 cups all-purpose flour (I used Jovial Organic Einkorn Flour
- *3/4 cup confectioners' powdered sugar, organic if you can fine it
- *1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- *12 tablespoons melted unsalted butter preferably organic
For the filling:
- *1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese store-bought or homemade
- *1 cup sugar I used organic, fair-trade sugar
- *4 eggs preferably organic and free-range (I used eggs from my chickens)
- *3/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice from about 6 Meyer lemons
- *1/4 cup all-purpose flour I used organic Einkorn flour
- *Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
- *1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- *confectioner's sugar for dusting the finished bars
- 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- 2. Make the crust: Combine the flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add the melted butter and mix until combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. (You may need to dip your fingers into a little flour or confectioners’ sugar to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers.) Bake for about 15 minutes until golden, then set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
- 3. Make the filling: In a blender, combine the ricotta cheese, sugar, eggs, lemon juice, flour, lemon zest, and salt. Blend until smooth, then taste to make sure it is sweet enough for you.
- 4. Pour the filling over the baked crust and bake for about 30 minutes longer, until the filling is just set. Allow the bars to cool, then cut into squares and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, if desired. Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator.