When I was considering what to do with all of the peaches I had a couple of weeks ago, I came across a recipe for Creamy Fig and Peach Squares in Catherine Atkinson’s 500 Cookies, Biscuits and Bakes. Since the recipe called for dried, rather than fresh, peaches, I filed it away in my mind for future use.
The recipe also called for ricotta cheese, and since I had some leftover ricotta cheese after the peach pizza, I figured the time was right to bake these creamy squares. Instead of dried peaches and figs, I used a mixture of dried fruits (Sunmaid’s Fruit Bits) that included not only peaches but also purple raisins, golden raisins, apples, apricots plums and cherries. In place of the mint called for in the recipe, I used ginger and cinnamon.
I realize it is the Sunday before Labor Day, not Memorial Day, but my Grandmother Spicer has been on my mind. She passed away just over a year ago, and I still think of her often. I think she would have liked this recipe, mostly because of the dried apricots. Two foods are forever linked to her in my mind: lemon meringue pie and dried apricots rolled in sugar. There always seemed to be a bowl of the latter in her kitchen. You’d grab two or three slices, thinking that would be a nice little bite of something, and before you knew it, the entire bowl was empty. Those suckers were dangerous!
I baked these creamy squares last night before I went to bed, and of course I took a sample bite while they were just out of the oven and still warm. This morning, I ate one for breakfast as I sipped my coffee, and I found they tasted even better. It must be the ginger and the cinnamon, but they almost tasted a bit like pumpkin pie. The creamy, sweet filling is perfectly matched to the plain, flaky crust. These squares only take about 10 minutes to assemble and bake in 30 minutes, so they are a super-easy dessert or snack to bake. Try them!
Ricotta Cheese and Dried Fruit Squares
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 1/2 cups dried fruit
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- Place the flour and butter in a medium bowl, and use your fingers to press the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
- Add the egg and the water until a soft dough forms.
- Press half of the dough into the bottom of a greased 8 inch x 8 inch baking dish.
- In a large bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, dried fruit, 1/2 cup of the sugar, cinnamon, and ginger together.
- Spoon the ricotta cheese and fruit mixture over the bottom layer of crust.
- Press the remaining half of the dough onto the top of the filling.
- Sprinkle the top layer of crust with the remaining sugar and use a fork to gently poke holes across the crust.
- Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until the top crust is slightly golden.
Double the recipe and then bake in a 13 inch x 9 inch jelly roll pan.