I'd actually solved this quite a while ago but just realized I never posted the solution.
1. With notepad, create a txt file containing:
2. Save it in the Recent folder itself, naming it "desktop" and with the extension .ini (i.e. desktop.ini)
3. Right-click on the new .ini file and set it to "Hidden".
4. Close the folder window and restart explorer from taskmanager if necessary.
That worked for me. Every now and again this issue will reappear so I keep a spare desktop.ini file that I just copy to the Recent folder whenever this happens.