Hiking with girlfriends has always been a great source of recipes for me. I've known Renee for a long time, but until we hiked I did not know that: a. she is a foodie and an amazing cook, b. she was raised in an Italian-American household, and still makes pasta with her dad, and c. she has a passion for ricotta which, like me, she prefers homemade, but uses so much of the stuff that she often resorts to store-bought.
Renee makes this quick dessert by mixing ricotta with sugar (not too much), orange zest, and the scrapings of a vanilla bean. She serves it with a fresh berry compote, and slices of ciabbata bread that have been toasted with cinnamon and sugar. Yes, like a cinnamon toast bruschetta!
For a printable version of the recipe, click on the file below it.
Tuscan Lemon Muffins
Makes 24 regular muffins, or about 36 mini muffins.
I have made this muffin with both whole milk ricotta and part-skim ricotta, and it always turns out with a perfect, tender crumb. The original recipe from Cooking Light magazine calls for part skim ricotta, no doubt to get the calorie count down.
I have made no alterations for altitude. Next time I think I will add orange zest and vanilla, and call them Sicilian Orange Muffins.
This recipe was written by Maureen Callahan, and published in the May 2011 issue of Cooking Light.
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (8 ounces if you like to weigh)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup part-skim or whole milk ricotta
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 medium or 2 small lemons to make: 1 tablespoon lemon zest and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- cooking spray
- 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (such as Sugar in the Raw)
1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
2. Prepare the muffin tin by lining with cupcake liners, then spraying the whole pan with cooking spray.
3. Scoop the flour into the measuring cup, then level off with a knife. Place into a medium mixing bowl.
4. Add the sugar, baking powder, and salt to the flour and mix well.
5. Measure the ricotta into a liquid measuring cup, and then add it to the flour mixture. Add the water, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and egg, and stir just until moistened and all the flour has been incorporated. Don’t overmix.
6. Divide the batter between the muffin cups, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
7. Bake for 15-18 minutes for regular muffins, or 11 minutes for mini-muffins. Use a wooden skewer to test for doneness.
8. Cool, and sprinkle with a bit more turbinado sugar.