Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Muffins

I am just not a Food Network kind of girl. In fact, with the exception of Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten) I tend to skip any recipe that I find on their site. But I recently found myself with ricotta, some oranges and a need to bake a cake for a party. And, as my friends and colleagues are always happy if I preface a dessert with the words, "low-fat," I searched the web for something that would do the trick. Ultimately, I found Giada's Ricotta Orange Pound Cake. With a few changes, it turned out as a not-too sweet, not too rich, relatively healthy cake that is delicious warm or grilled and served with fruit. I used orange zest and some fresh orange juice, but you can use any type of citrus or extract. It actually came out so tasty, that I made them again as muffins, throwing in some blueberries.

Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup oil (either mild olive or vegetable)
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (I prefer Biazzi brand low-fat as it is very creamy)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (almond extract, lemon oil or lemon juice)
  • 1 orange, zested (or 2 lemons)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan or a 12 cup muffin tin.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine. Mix the oil, ricotta, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and blend until well incorporated. Add the vanilla and orange zest. Add the dry ingredients, a small amount at a time, until just incorporated. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean. This will take about 45 to 50 minutes for the loaf or about 20 to 25 minutes for the muffins. Let the loaf or muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. When it is cool, wrap loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze.

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