Remember this post back in February, when I showed you photos of my house being turned into a filming studio? And photos of these amazing Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake Bars?
Well I’m still getting asked about this recipe, and now 5 months later, I’m finally delivering! First, grab some popcorn and press play on this little video below, then we’ll talk dessert. (Or breakfast, or midnight snack. This is a no-judge zone.)
Ingredient and Equipment Notes
- Cheese Grater – A cheese grater is super helpful here for cutting in the butter. For crumbly crusts and toppings it’s important that the butter doesn’t get blended into a smooth dough, but rather dots the dough. This is what creates flakiness and layering in your desserts. Feel free to use a pastry cutter or a couple of butter knives to cut in your butter if you don’t have a grater available.
- Blueberries – This recipe was written with frozen blueberries in mind. You can certainly try making it with fresh berries if that’s what you have on hand.
- Ricotta – If you’ve never had an Italian style ricotta cheesecake, it’s different than a traditional cream cheese style one. Ricotta has a natural texture to it; a little bit of graininess, and pureeing it with sugar until it’s glossy and smooth really helps with the overall texture of these bars, but know that it’s supposed to be different than a normal cheesecake. Look at the difference though, comparing what ricotta looks like straight out of the container versus after being pureed in the food processor with some sugar. Gorgeous, isn’t it?
I love ricotta cheesecake because it’s a little bit different, and is still creamy and rich without feeling really heavy. Here’s a couple of tips though, if you’ve never baked ricotta cheesecake:
- Do not over-bake. If anything, under-bake just a little bit. Over-baking will instantly dry out the cheesecake and cause it to be grainy and crumbly.
- Don’t cheat on the chilling. Chill overnight for the best possible texture. Since it should be baked super soft, it needs a thorough chilling to not only hold everything together, but to give all of the flavors a chance to marry together. And boy do they marry.
- First we’re going to prepare the crust and topping. Combine some sugar, flour, salt, and baking powder. Use a cheese grater to grate some cold butter into the flour mixture (or cut butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture). Use your hands to break up the butter and flour mixture until it resembles course crumbs.
- Next add egg yolk, gently incorporate, and divide the mixture in two. Half of this gets pressed into the pan and baked for a few minutes as the crust and the rest will be used, with the addition of some lemon zest, for the topping.
- To prepare filling, we’ll blend the ricotta with a little bit of sugar until smooth and creamy. That gets mixed up with some flour, vanilla, eggs, plus the reserved egg white from the first step, and lemon juice, and poured over the prepared crust. The filling gets topped with some frozen blueberries and reserved crumb mixture. After baking until brown, but still a little jiggly, the bars need to cool and then spend at least 8 hours in the refrigerator before being cut into and served.
- To make the finishing sauce, we’ll combine some blueberries, lemon juice, water, and sugar. That will simmer for a few minutes and we’ll smash up the berries with a fork. Once cool, the sauce will thicken. You can always adjust the finished consistency by adding a little water as necessary until it’s just right for drizzling over the finished cheesecake squares.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I make this ahead of time? These bars need at least 8 hours in the fridge before serving, so making ahead is already kind of a requirement! If you need more time than that, feel free to make them up to 24 hours in advance. The finishing sauce can be made a couple of days ahead of time and stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
If you love these bars, you may also like some of these other Our Best Bites favorites:
Did You Make This?
I’d love to hear from you! Snap a picture and tag me on Instagram, then come back and give this recipe a rating!Print
Crust and Topping Layers
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, very cold
- 1 large egg, separated
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
- 15 ounce container ricotta
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, plus one egg white
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¾ cup frozen blueberries
Quick Blueberry Sauce
1 ¼ cups frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons sugar
Prepare Crust and Topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
- To prepare crust and topping, combine sugar, flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium sized mixing bowl and stir to combine.
- Use a large-hole cheese grater to grate butter into flour mixture, or alternately cut butter into small chunks and add to flour mixture. Use clean hands to break up butter and flour mixture until it resembles large crumbs. Add egg yolk from separated egg (reserve egg white for the next step) and add to crumb mixture. Quickly toss to incorporate egg yolk into crumbs.
- Remove half of crumb mixture (about 1 ½ cups) and lightly press into the bottom of prepared baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes and then remove from oven.
- Add lemon zest to the remaining crumb mixture, stir to combine, and set aside.
- To prepare filling, place ricotta and sugar in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy (about 1-2 minutes), scraping down sides as necessary. Place mixture in a mixing bowl and stir in flour, vanilla, eggs, plus the reserved egg white from the first step, and lemon juice. Whisk to combine and pour mixture over crust in pan.
- Sprinkle ¾ cup blueberries over the top of filling and then top with the reserved crumb mixture. Bake for 40-50 minutes. Bars should be just golden on top and slightly jiggly in center when shaken. Remove and let cool completely. Cover, and Place in fridge overnight to chill. When ready to serve, slice into bars.
- For the Sauce, combine all ingredients: frozen blueberries, lemon juice, water, and sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3-5 minutes, smashing berries with a fork. Cool. Sauce will thicken once cooled and chilled, adjust consistency by adding water until desired consistency is reached.