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Lemon Blackberry Ricotta Muffins

March 14, 2011

Let’s pretend it’s spring, or perhaps even summer. Let’s pretend I made these muffins with berries picked fresh off the prickly vine. Let’s pretend it’s not rainy and blustery outside, that we’re not paying double for electricity while still wrapping ourselves in extra blankets. Let’s pretend it’s sunny.

These muffins will help. They are a bright, vibrant mouthful of the seasons to come (and of seasons past). Crumbly, faintly sweet, with bursts of juicy fruit, these Lemon Blackberry Ricotta muffins are the perfect mood-lifting (healthy) breakfast treat. This is why I freeze an enormous bag of hand-picked summer blackberries – so I can remind myself that Seattle isn’t always gray, that the sun will shine again.

This recipe evolved from a need to use up some homemade ricotta cheese. That’s right. I made it myself. You could use some store bought ricotta, but if you’re up for some culinary chemistry you should definitely try to make some yourself. It’s ridiculously easy. Heat milk. Add buttermilk. Stir. Strain. Done. I’ve detailed the procedure following the muffin recipe below.

You don’t have to feel too guilty indulging in one of these muffins. They are definitely lower in fat and sugar than most muffins you’ll buy at the store or bakery. Whole grains, antioxidant-rich berries, and calcium-packed ricotta provide nutrition as well. So brighten your day with a delicious bite of summer!

Lemon Blackberry Ricotta Muffins

© Copyright 2011 Carly Sullivan, Tart to Heart

Yield: 12 muffins

(This recipe would probably bake up nicely in a loaf pan as well!)


  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon (save the other half for the glaze)
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted, cooled slightly
  • 1 1/2 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 Tbsp slivered almonds
  • 1 Tbsp raw sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper cups or grease lightly with cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the ricotta, eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla, lemon zest and juice, and melted butter until smooth. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Gently whisk until combined. Add the blackberries and carefully fold them into the batter.
  4. Scoop the batter evenly into the prepared muffin tin. Top with the raw sugar and slivered almonds. Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the juice from the remaining 1/2 a lemon and about 1/2-3/4 cup powdered sugar until smooth to make the glaze. The amount of sugar will depend on how much juice you get out of the lemon. Drizzle over the cooled muffins. Enjoy!

Homemade Ricotta

Yield: 10-12 oz

(this recipe can easily be halved or quartered)


  • 8 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups buttermilk


  1. Place the milk in a large saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula to prevent the bottom from burning.
  2. Once the milk comes to a boil, remove from the heat and add the buttermilk. Stir in one direction until the curds and whey start to separate. Let sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.
  3. Carefully drain the curds in a colander lined with fine cheesecloth. Let drain for 15-30 minutes. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Easy, right? And you can make a lasagna with the leftovers!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 14, 2011 5:36 pm


  2. March 14, 2011 6:00 pm

    These muffins do remind me of summer! Yum!

  3. March 14, 2011 9:46 pm

    sunny times will return! Thanks for the reminder.

  4. March 16, 2011 5:47 pm

    They look absolutely delicious. Love the first photograph!

  5. March 17, 2011 6:51 am

    They look delish! One could never guess they are less fattening. 😉
    Love the idea of mixing berries and ricotta in a muffin!

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