I had some ricotta in my fridge I wanted to use up from when I made this seared halibut with ricotta pea puree. I also got some wonderful dried tart cherries and cherry juice concentrate similar to this from Michigan from my mom (Michigan sour cherries are SO good). I decided to combine the two to make these tart cherry ricotta mini muffins. These muffins came out great and have SO much cherry flavor. I love them. They are best eaten warm or room temp.
I don’t like big chunks of dried fruit in my muffins, so I soaked the dried cherries in the juice (idea from my mom) for around 30 minutes, then pureed them with the juice to make a chunky cherry jam that I swirled into the batter. We are trying to watch our cholesterol, so I used applesauce in place of oil in these. I used regular AP flour, but you could also try white wheat or whole wheat. Just remember that whole wheat flour absorbs more of the moisture so you will need to increase the liquid by a couple tablespoons if you use whole wheat.
I did mini muffins because I love them, but these would be great as full sized muffins too. The cherry flavor is really the star here and that is exactly what I wanted.
Tart Cherry Ricotta Muffins
- 2 cups AP flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup ricotta
- 4 tbsp tart cherry juice concentrate
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup applesauce or melted butter
- 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
- Combine the dried cherries and juice and soak for 30 minutes. Puree until there are only small pieces and it is a chunky paste. If you like full size dried cherries you can skip this step.
- Heat the oven to 375. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In another bowl combine the eggs, ricotta, vanilla, applesauce or butter, and sugar until smooth. Pour into the dry ingredients and fold together until partly mixed. Add paste, or the dried cherries and juice and keep folding until it is swirled in. Don't overmix the batter. This batter should be fairly thick but if it seems too thick you can add a bit more cherry concentrate.
- Spray a muffin or mini muffin pan with baker's joy. Use a cookie scoop or spoon to fill the muffin wells about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for about 10 minutes for mini and 15-20 for regular size, but judge by a toothpick inserted in the center, not by time. The toothpick should come out clean when done. Don't overbake or they will dry out.