For this month's installment of the Secret Recipe Club, my secret blog partner was Vanderbilt Wife. I was instantly tempted by her recipe for Blueberry-Lemon Ricotta Muffins - they looked perfect for a tasty snack. Of course, it's not blueberry season anymore, so I substituted in tart dried cranberries and some chopped pecans instead, making this a perfect fall recipe. (Also, I was feeling lazy so I cooked the recipe up in a loaf pan instead of a muffin tin, which worked well although the cook time was quite a bit longer.)
Unlike many of the coffee cakes and 'breakfast' breads I've baked, this one is actually healthy enough that you can feel good about eating it for breakfast. The only added fat comes from the part-skim ricotta cheese and a couple of egg yolks - no oil or butter! You could make it even healthier by using white whole wheat instead of all purpose flour. Despite being low in fat, the bread is nice and moist from the ricotta and tastes really delicious. I love the bright bursts of flavor from the cranberries and the crunch from the pecans. Perhaps because the cranberries are so intense, I thought the lemon flavor could have been stronger, so I would probably add some zest in addition to the lemon juice next time. Definitely a real winner - thanks Jessie a/k/a Vanderbilt Wife!
Cranberry-Lemon Quick Bread with Pecans (adapted from Vanderbilt Wife, original recipe here)
Makes one loaf
1 cup part-skim milk ricotta cheese (don't use fat free)
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup skim milk
2 T lemon juice
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour (plus 1 T for tossing with the fruit and nuts)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and oil a loaf pan.
2. Whisk together the ricotta, sugar, eggs, milk, and lemon juice. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.
3. Toss together the cranberries, pecans, and about 1 T flour (enough to lightly coat). Fold the fruit and nuts into the batter and scrape into loaf pan.
4. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.