Lemon-Ricotta Bars

By • August 10, 2011 • 99 Comments


2,051 Save

Author Notes: In this recipe, I hope, is achieved everything I always was looking for in citrus bars; first of all a tender, melt-in-your-mouth, crust, lemony taste not only in the filling, but also in the crust, and finely smooth texture, and tall beautiful bars. After testing a few recipes during a long time, I discovered that using confectioner's sugar and corn starch in the crust, and adding just 1 cup ricotta to the filling, gave the bars just the right height, unusual flavor and texture.
Can be made with Meyer lemons or other citrus.
Kukla

Food52 Review: These aren't your average lemon bars. The use of ricotta gives them a light and airy texture that we're crazy about. The dough feels dry, and we were slightly skeptical, but it cooks up nicely and proves the greatness of butter (yet again). We happily ate them with and without the final sprinkling of confectioner's sugar.A&M

Makes 18, 2-inches squares

For the Crust

  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1-inch pieces, slightly softened plus extra for greasing pan

For Lemon-Ricotta Filling

  • 8oz (1 cup) fresh whole milk Ricotta, drained
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/3cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice from 3 to 4 large lemons, strained
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. To make the crust: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using a pastry brush, lightly butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and line with one sheet parchment paper. Butter paper, then lay second sheet crosswise over it.
  3. Pulse flour, confectioner's sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest and salt in food processor.
  4. Add butter and process to blend; then pulse until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal.
  5. Sprinkle mixture into lined pan and, press firmly with fingers into even layer over entire pan bottom and about 1/2-inch up sides.
  6. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, and then bake until light golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  7. To make the filling: Whisk ricotta, eggs, sugar, and flour in medium bowl, then stir in lemon zest, juice, and salt to blend well.
  8. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  9. Stir filling mixture before pouring into warm crust.
  10. Bake until filling feels firm when touched lightly, about 30 minutes.
  11. Transfer pan to wire rack; cool to room temperature, at least 2 hours.
  12. Transfer to cutting board, fold paper down, and cut into bars, wiping knife or pizza cutter clean between cuts.
  13. Dust with confectioner's sugar.

Comments (99) Questions (2)

Default-small
Default-small
Img_9447-vi

17 days ago ErinC

great recipe! made these this weekend to rave reviews! Loved the ricotta cheese addition! :)

Img_0001

16 days ago Kukla

Thanks Erin for trying my recipe and letting me know your opinion!!!

Default-small

20 days ago Dave Moss

Followed recipe exactly. A big hit! Good texture, great flavor-- mixture of tart and sweet.

Img_0001

20 days ago Kukla

Thanks Dave for your nice comment!!!

Default-small

about 1 month ago CookedGoose

Disappointing: these were more time-consuming than I expected. The crust was pleasant, but a bit tough and hard. The filling was floury and not as lemony as I expected. I would recommend grating the lemon finely and reducing (or eliminating?) the flour in the filling, and consider using a smaller pan for a better filling-to-crust ratio.

Img_0001

about 1 month ago Kukla

Hey CookedGoose!
I am surprised that these bars disappointed you and would recommend reading and carefully following the recipe, trying to make it one more time and bake them in a slightly smaller baking dish.

4485913716_241e51e3bd_b

2 months ago DessertByCandy

Not my smartest idea to use blood oranges because the colour turned out a bit weird. Sure tasted great though! Love the richness added by ricotta. Add a heart stencil and plenty of icing sugar and I have Valentine's Day treat all sorted out!
http://www.flickr.com/photos...

Img_0001

2 months ago Kukla

Thanks Candy for trying my recipe and liking it!!! I looked at your photos and they all are very beautiful; even the parts which are not covered with icing sugar do not look weird to me. Thanks again for your lovely comment!!!

Default-small

2 months ago fitch99

Hi Kukla! This is the first time making these bars and the flavors are great! Just a question on the height and texture though, mine were quite flat and not very smooth even though I wisked

Default-small

2 months ago fitch99

Thoroughly.....any suggestions?

Img_0001

2 months ago Kukla

Hey fitch99! I have two suggestions; for taller bars use a little smaller baking dish. I think 9by9-inches square pan will be just right.
To get a smoother consistency, I would recommend draining the ricotta overnight and then push it through a fine sift.
Thanks for trying my recipe fitch99!

Default-small

2 months ago fitch99

Thanks much! I will definitely give this another try! Great recipe!

Img_0001

2 months ago Kukla

You are very welcome fitch99!!

Default-small

5 months ago Trena

Thank you, Kukla! These are the best lemon bars I've ever had. I used homemade ricotta, my recipe uses lemon, and I think this really made your recipe sing.

Img_0001

5 months ago Kukla

Thanks a lot Trena!!! I am so glad you liked these bars!

Christianlouboutin-pigalle-3091224_cm8d_1_1200x1200_1

6 months ago Susan Maria

If they used reduced or fat free and it turned out well, the recipe would be touted as a fat free recipe. The questions that are asked drive me insane - just because someone posts a recipe does not mean they are expert at all the ideas you may have for substitutions. If you are not a good enough cook to know ahead of time if something will work, dont try it. Or try it and let us all know of the mess you made when you cut out the butter, used non dairy spread, fat free something or other, or added applesauce.

Default-small

6 months ago cookycat

Amen... I so agree with you. LOL

Default-small

8 months ago Adel

Would this work with ricotta that wasn't full fat? Would I add more ricotta for a lower fat ricotta? I really want to make this but only seem to find %ricotta

Img_0001

8 months ago Kukla

Hey Adel! I never made these bars with nonfat ricotta and would suggest, in that case, combining half of ricotta with half of cream cheese or mascarpone. If you decide to bake the bars, please let me know how they came out.

Img_0001

about 1 year ago Kukla

You are very welcome cookycat! Enjoy with your friends!

Default-small

about 1 year ago cookycat

I don't understand the placement of the parchment paper in the pan. Should it stick up the sides of the pan so the bars can be lifted out by the paper to the cutting board?

Img_0001

about 1 year ago Kukla

You are absolutely right cookycat; the parchment paper should stick out and this makes lifting out the bars to the cutting board a synch.

Default-small

about 1 year ago cookycat

I made these today and they are delicious. Thanks for clarifying the placement of the parchment paper. I plan on taking them to dinner with friends this evening. Thanks for the recipe.

Img_0001

about 1 year ago Kukla

Thanks Denise for a lovely comment!

Stringio

about 1 year ago Denise Wilscam

These were super yummy. My sister and I are going to make these for our moms birthday and are going to make individual servings. With cherry filling on top.

Default-small

about 1 year ago takeanonion

Just delicious.

Img_0001

about 1 year ago Kukla

Thanks takeanonion!

Default-small

about 1 year ago Nellie

Just made these and they didn't turn out as pictured. the flavors are delicious but they are not light and fluffy. Will try again and repost.

Default-small

about 1 year ago Nellie

Success!! Not sure what I did wrong the first time but I am happy my second attempt worked!! Delicious recipe Kukla!

Img_0001

about 1 year ago Kukla

Thank you Nellie for the good news!!

Photo_squirrel

about 1 year ago LE BEC FIN

angela,i am not intending to be unfriendly, but for an american to give you the recipe in your measurements - would take just as much time as for you to do the same. you have the capability on your computer to access ounce to gram conversion tables etc. Just google "ounces and grams"; that's what i do when i find a european recipe i want to try!

Default-small

about 1 year ago Angela Dickerson

I would never have guessed!

Default-small

about 1 year ago Angela Dickerson

Thanks but in England our measurements are ounces or grams! I have just found my measuring cups but to have the ingredients in ounces or grams would be a lot easier!

Default-small

about 1 year ago Margoes

Just made these using gluten free flour! I would reduce baking in the end to about 27 mins for gf, at least in my oven. They were so good my small group swooped up the remaining squares and ran home with them! A definite new staple in our home!

Default-small

about 1 year ago Angela Dickerson

Help! Could anyone give me the ingredients in English measurements? I can't wait to make them this week-end!!!

Default-small

about 1 year ago mschrank

Not sure what you mean by "English?" Do you want to convert to Metric units? If so, here's a link for that:
http://bit.ly/15UfXuG

Img_0001

about 1 year ago Kukla

All the measurements are in Cups or Spoons and the recipe is written in English; sorry you are having trouble reading it.

Default-small

about 1 year ago Angela Dickerson

Thanks that's great!

Default-small

about 1 year ago KatieF

I just made these and brought them into work... we all love them! Easy to make and soooo tasty!

Img_0001

about 1 year ago Kukla

Thank you KatieF! I am very happy you liked the bars!

Default-small

about 1 year ago 4marianna4

These keep very well. I put our leftovers in the freezer and then forgot them. When I remembered to bring them out to share another time with the family, they were perfect! Once they thawed they were just like they were freshly made. In fact, when I rediscovered them I ate one frozen to test it. Mmmm, nice cool snack!

20080521_-_sq

about 1 year ago MsDivinaLoca

Do these keep well? If so, how should they be stored?

Img_0001

about 1 year ago Kukla

I prefer them at room temperature, but they're delicious chilled and keep nicely for several days in the refrigerator, stored in an airtight container.

Img_0001

about 1 year ago Kukla

Thank you so very much Mindy for helping Kekirkpatz!!
I tried to copy the recipe and email it, but her or his profile doesn’t have the “Send me a message” sign.

Photo_squirrel

about 1 year ago LE BEC FIN

my pleasure, kukla! we wouldn't want someone to miss out on those lovely little bites, would we? :-}

Default-small

about 1 year ago Kekirkpatz

I would really like to make these, but the amounts are missing. Is there a way I can get the recipe sent to me or can you re-post the amounts? Thanks!

Default-small

about 1 year ago mschrank

Scroll down about 8-9 messages (or, just click the "print this recipe" icon located above the recipe. Not sure why this recipe is messed up like this...

Photo_squirrel

about 1 year ago LE BEC FIN

• 8oz (1 cup) fresh whole milk Ricotta, drained
• 4 large eggs, beaten
• 1 1/3cups granulated sugar
• 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons lemon zest
• 2/3 cup lemon juice from 3 to 4 large lemons, strained
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
ms, did you rcve this/can you see the quantities?
you may not have copy and pasted "PROPERLY". In have to do
paste unformatted" in order not to miss the left most edge of most recipes.

Default-small

about 1 year ago Ceege

Yummmmm, can't wait to make these. One question please. What is the best way to drain the ricotta and how do I know when enough liquid has been eliminated? Thanks for your help. I have all the ingredients, but will wait for your answer.

Img_0001

about 1 year ago Kukla

Place a strainer over an empty bowl or pot lined with a large three layer piece of cheese cloth; then cover with cheese cloth part which is overhanging. If you need the Ricotta to drain fast, put a smaller plate on the top with something heavy to press it down, otherwise put it over night in refrigerator. Ricotta is drained enough when no more whey (liquid that comes out when Ricotta is draining) is dripping out. Use the whey for soups that need something tangy, or in pancakes, crepes, and other batters, and to make your own buttermilk.

Jampro

over 1 year ago Bevi

We made these bars for Thanksgiving, and truth be told, we forgot to put them out on the dessert table with the other dozen! It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because when I discovered them this morning, they were the perfect surprise! They are lemony, the shortbread is perfect, and they serve a multitude! Thanks for a wonderful recipe I will be making for the Channukah and Christmas festivities!

Img_0001

over 1 year ago Kukla

Dear Bevi, I am so thrilled that you liked the bars and plan to make them again!!!
I am sure all your other desserts were wonderful and my recipe only had the advantage to be enjoyed separately. One of my favorite things is, to wake up in the morning after a party and really taste whatever I didn’t have time or space in my stomach to eat at the table. These bars are good at room temperature and even better chilled and they keep perfectly for several days in the refrigerator. Thanks again for your beautiful comment and I wish you and your family to have a wonderful Holyday Season!!!

Default-small

over 1 year ago 4marianna4

Thank you to all of you who responded to me when I couldn't find the amounts. Once I did, I made these wonderful Ricotta Lemon Bars. They are wonderful; very lemony and smooth. Definitely a keeper recipe.

Img_0001

over 1 year ago Kukla

You are welcome 4marianna4! Thanks for the lovely comment!

Default-small

over 1 year ago mschrank

FYI- I was able to get the measurements to show when I clicked the 'print' icon at the top of the page (just above the picture)

Default-small

over 1 year ago 4marianna4

I also do not have the ingredient amounts listed. Can someone help me? Thank you.

Img_0001

over 1 year ago Kukla

Hi Marianna! I emaled you the full recipe; sorry, I don't understand what is wrong.

Img_0001

over 1 year ago Kukla

Thanks a lot Emily for helping teamom and your kind words about the recipe!! I did not check my emails until now.

Default-small

over 1 year ago teamom

Hello all, I've just found this recipe and would like to make it, but no amounts of the ingredients show on my screen (except for butter, lemons, and I can figure out the ricotta). Only bullets show in front of the ingredient. Could you send the recipe to me please? Thanks in advance.

Img_7818

over 1 year ago EmilyC

teamom, I just sent it to you via the messaging feature. I copied and pasted the recipe, so hopefully the formatting stays intact. Let me know if you get it okay. The bars are fantastic, by the way, you're sure to enjoy them.

Beaune_02_april_08_063

over 1 year ago enbe

Made these last night. I'm sure they would have tasted even better if I had all the proper tools, but since I'm moving and only had one size measuring cup, I'm impressed at how much of a hit these were! I love how lemon-y they are. Not for the faint of heart!

Img_0001

over 1 year ago Kukla

Thank you, enbe for your kind comment! I'm very glad you enjoyed them.

Default-small

almost 2 years ago oregon cassie

Will these be as good with store-purchased ricotta? I do make my own ricotta but I have to bake a large quantity of lemon bars for a fundraiser & time spent is a concern. Live in an area where home-style is not available in the stores. Thanks -- I'm anxious to try these.

Img_0001

over 1 year ago Kukla

Yes, you can use store-purchased ricotta. Just make sure to drain it for a couple of hours.

Img_7818

almost 2 years ago EmilyC

Made these over the weekend for a reception following my daughter's baptism, and they were just perfect. This is definitely my new go-to recipe for lemon bars. Although I prefer them at room temperature, they're delicious chilled and keep nicely for several days.

Img_0001

almost 2 years ago Kukla

Thank you EmilyC for the kind comment and warmest congratulations on your daughter’s baptism!!!

Default-small

almost 2 years ago TheFarmGirlCooks

I made these last week using fresh goat's milk ricotta from the farmers market. They were OUTRAGEOUS! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.

Img_0001

almost 2 years ago Kukla

Thank you a lot FarmGirl! It is good to know that even goat cheese works nicely it this recipe.

Parmigiano-reggiano_gal

about 2 years ago PRST

I just made these gems with ricotta I made yesterday. Packed with lemon flavor! I too was a little skeptical about the crust but it turned out tender and melts in your mouth, just like Kukla described! Recipe is a keeper, especially for those that love making their own ricotta cheese.

Img_0001

about 2 years ago Kukla

Thank you PRST for your lovely comment!!!

Molly1

about 2 years ago molly's kitchen

These lemon bars were almost too good to be true! The bars were creamy and rich with a healthy dose of lemon (the addition of zest to the crust is key!) and the color was so ethereal and intriguing -- I couldn't wait for the 2 hour chill time to try a bite. Thank you.

Img_0001

about 2 years ago Kukla

Thanks Molly for the lovely comment!

Img_0001

about 2 years ago Kukla

Thank you Ann for such thrilling comment! I just want to say that even a tart pan with a removable bottom is possible to line with parchment paper, and this step would help you to get the tarts very easily out. I understand that you wanted to have the fluted edges, which buttered parchment paper would provide also. Try it next time. Thanks.

Default-small

about 2 years ago AnnP

These are fabulous! I needed lemon tarts for a tea and really liked the idea of adding ricotta to the filling. I used the dough in rectangular tart pans (3) and doubled the filling recipe. They took about an extra 15 minutes to cook with the extra filling but the wiggle- jiggle test helped. The corn starch in the crust made the crust light and more tender than my traditional recipe. I had a little problem getting the tart pan to release but a narrow knife around the edge helped. The filling was amazing - not sure if the added fat of the ricotta took the edge off the lemon tang, but the filling seemed to burst with intense lemon flavor without making us pucker. Thanks for sharing! Definitely a keeper!

Photo_squirrel

about 2 years ago LE BEC FIN

ann, it's just this kind of comment that is so helpful to future cooks of this recipe (that includes me!)
Thanks so much for that feedback to this super recipe!

Default-small

about 2 years ago jenniebgood

These look delicious - I can't wait to try them.

Img_0001

about 2 years ago Kukla

Thank you jennie!!!

Dsc00859_2

about 2 years ago creamtea

These sound wonderful. I make lemon squares, but the ricotta is a fabulous addition. they look so tender.

Img_0001

about 2 years ago Kukla

Thank you creamtea! They are very tender.

Photo_squirrel

about 2 years ago LE BEC FIN

Hi Kukla, i'm new to 52 but you seem like a very successful and creative 52'er, given that i've marked alot of your recipes aready! these sound lovely creamy and i am going to try them for sure. I've been working on non-white flour pastries as of late, and i'm thinking i might try them in a gingersnap crust w/ candied ginger , or a whole wheat wheat germ crust w/ pecans (i have a thing for lemon and pecans). what do you think of those ideas? thnx much for this!

Img_0001

about 2 years ago Kukla

Thank you LE BEC FIN for such a nice comment and trusting my opinion! I think gingersnap crust and candied ginger will be a little overwhelming and I would sagest to try first a gingersnap crust with pecans and lemon zest and you can also add a couple very finely diced candied ginger to the filling. I can not help you with the wheat germ because I did not use them yet. Thanks again!

Photo_squirrel

about 2 years ago LE BEC FIN

kukla, i think your advice makes perfect sense; thank you! I'll let you know what happens! congratulations again!

Img_0001

about 2 years ago Kukla

Thank you LE BEC FIN!

Jampro

about 2 years ago Bevi

Congrats Kukla! I can't wait to make these!

Img_0001

about 2 years ago Kukla

Thanks’ a lot Bevi!!! I will be very glad to hear your opinion.

Chocolate_peppermint_truffle_cookies_032

about 2 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Many congrats on the CP!!! These are on my list to try very soon!!

Img_0001

about 2 years ago Kukla

Thank you Susan! Since you are a Ricotta lover as I am, hope you will like the bars.
I often fill crepes with sweet and savory Ricotta mixtures but your Lillet Kumquat Compote is a killer.

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

about 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Love this recipe and plan to try it soon!! Congratulations on these well-deserved honors. ;o)

Img_0001

about 2 years ago Kukla

Thank you so very much Antonia!!!

Img_7818

about 2 years ago EmilyC

Congrats on the CP -- these look and sound delicious! Saved!

Img_0001

about 2 years ago Kukla

Thank you EmilyC! I hoped that one day this recipe will get noticed

Summer_2010_1048

over 2 years ago Midge

Yum! Saved.

Img_0001

over 2 years ago Kukla

Thank you for the nice comment!

Dsc_0675-x2a

over 2 years ago Sagegreen

Great balance!

Img_0001

over 2 years ago Kukla

Thank you Sagegreen! I love all your comments.

3-bizcard

over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

These do sound really good. Reminds me of my mothers italian cheesecake. Very nice.

Img_0001

over 2 years ago Kukla

Thank you sdebrango! It is really VALIUBEL WHEN ANYTHING RIMIND OUR MOM’S RECIPES.

Chocolate_peppermint_truffle_cookies_032

over 2 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

These sound fabulous! Saved!

Img_0001

over 2 years ago Kukla

Thank you so much ChezSuzanne!