Friday, April 10, 2009

Meyer Lemon-Ricotta Muffins

Tonight we had breakfast for dinner. I made this yummy Farmer's Casserole from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (which is really good and really easy, by the way), and some new muffins. I found the recipe on Recipe Girl, one of the way too many food blogs to which I subscribe. I had never really heard of Meyer lemons until this season (when they've been all over the food blogs). Apparently the Meyer variety are kind-of a cross between lemons and mandarin oranges: slightly sweeter than a typical lemon.


1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
½ stick (1/4 cup) butter, softened
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 Tbs finely grated Meyer lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
1 cup lowfat ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1½ Tbs freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
½ tsp almond extract
1/3 cup thinly sliced almonds
demerara sugar (coarse sugar), optional

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 cupcake tins with paper liners.

2. Whisk the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

3. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, applesauce, and zest in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in ricotta, then egg, lemon juice and almond extract. Add dry ingredients and stir just until blended.

4. Using an ice cream scoop, divide batter among muffin cups. Place 3 to 5 almonds on top of each muffin and then sprinkle with coarse sugar (if desired).

5. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, or until muffins test done (toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean).

6. Place on wire rack to cool. Once cooled, store in covered container.

My notes on the recipe:
  • I didn't feel like going to Trader Joe's to look for Meyer lemons, so I used normal ones. The muffins were still fine.
  • I grind my own wheat into flour, so I just set the mill on the finest setting, instead of buying pastry flour.
  • I had large lemons (that sounds like a bad euphemism), and one was adequate. I didn't really need two.
  • The applesauce I used was homemade stuff that a friend and I canned last Fall. Really good.
  • I used real (not imitation) almond extract.
I normally shy away from recipes that call for almond extract. I don't like the flavor. It's too strong, and it's usually enough to make me nix a recipe, based solely on that one ingredient. Reading this recipe, however, I thought that the lemon and everything else would be strong enough to overpower it. In the end, I could taste the almond extract, but it was the right amount of subtle.

The muffins were really moist. Lemon baked goods usually are moist already, but throw in the applesauce and the Ricotta, and these were really moist.

Definitely five stars from me. I would make these for a brunch with company coming over. I liked the balance between the sweet flavor (from the sugar, applesauce, and almonds), the tartness of the lemons, and the heartiness of the wheat. It was really good all around.