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lime ricotta bars

Lime Ricotta Bars with Italian Meringue

Inspired by Lemon-Ricotta Bars and https://food52.com/recipes/13861-lemon-ricotta-bars Lime and Blackberry Italian Meringue Pie https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/lime-blackberry-italian-meringue-pie
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Chilling Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Italian

Equipment

  • food processor
  • Stand Mixer with Whisk Attachment
  • small saucepan
  • 9 x 13 baking pan

Ingredients
  

For the crust

  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon lime 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 the lime-ricotta filling

  • 8 ounces 1 cup fresh whole milk ricotta drained (preferably homemade)
  • 4 large eggs beaten
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons lime zest
  • 2/3 cup lime juice from about 4-6 limes strained
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the meringue:

  • 2 large egg whites room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons agave syrup or corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions
 

To make the crust:

  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350° F.
  • Using a pastry brush, lightly butter a 13x9-inch baking dish and line with one sheet parchment paper. Butter paper, then lay a second sheet crosswise over it.
  • Pulse flour, confectioner's sugar, cornstarch, lime zest and salt in food processor.
  • Add butter and process to blend; then pulse until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal.
  • Sprinkle mixture into lined pan and, press firmly with fingers into even layer over entire pan bottom and about 1/2-inch up sides.
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes, and then bake until light golden brown, about 20 minutes.

To make the filling:

  • Whisk ricotta, eggs, sugar, and flour in a medium bowl, then stir in lime zest, juice, and salt to blend well.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 325° F. Stir the filling mixture before pouring into warm crust.
  • Bake until filling feels firm when touched lightly, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack; cool to room temperature, at least 2 hours.

To make the meringue:

  • Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat whites in mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in salt. Set aside.
  • Stir sugar, agave syrup, and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Attach a candy thermometer to side of pan. Increase heat to medium-high and boil without stirring, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush, until thermometer registers 238°, 6-8 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
  • Slowly pour hot sugar syrup down side of bowl into whites and beat until meringue is firm and glossy. Continue beating until cool, about 4 minutes.
  • Transfer lime-ricotta bars to cutting board, fold paper down, and cut into bars, wiping knife or pizza cutter clean between cuts.
  • Pipe or dollop meringue on top of each bar, then toast using a kitchen torch.  Serve immediately or keep chilled.

Notes

Unlike French meringue (which is what you'll typically find on lemon and other meringue pies), Italian meringue does not "weep" when it sits or is refrigerated.  The texture is a bit more marshmallowy than a French meringue.  (If you have a little extra, spread it on a graham cracker, toast it with your kitchen torch, and smash a piece of dark chocolate on top of it.  You're welcome.). 
Keyword celebrations, sweet treats