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It’s Shavuot and time to open the dairy floodgates!!! My inclination is to skip dinner and go straight for dessert. Blintzes are already posted on the site and as I always say, “boredom is the mother of invention, in the kitchen”. Once I am making crêpes for blintzes, how about making a cake?! This is a classic, simple and versatile dessert. You can fill it with anything you want. I prefer whipped heavy cream or pastry cream, or both. Feel free to alternate with layers of jam, chocolate spread, hazelnut spread or anything else that might strike your fancy. This is a great do ahead dish as all of the components should be made the day before and assembled and chilled on the day of service.
Photo by: Tess Bernstein
Shavuot is also my father’s birthday. This is always a cause for something special. He has always favored strawberry shortcake, so this year I am filling a crêpe cake with strawberries and whipped cream.
1 pint strawberries thinly sliced
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
3 cups heavy whipping cream well chilled
2 tablespoons vanilla
5 tablespoons sugar
Toss the sliced strawberries with confectioners sugar and place in a strainer over a small bowl.
In a chilled mixing bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form.
Add vanilla and sugar, beat to combine.
To assemble the cake, place a dollop of whipped cream in the center of a serving plate. Cut 4 strips of parchment and form a square out of the strips to cover the edge of the plate so as to keep it clean. You will pull these out once the cake is ready to serve.
Choose the best looking crêpe and set aside for use as the top layer.
Place a crêpe in the serving plate. Put a large dollop of whipping on the top of it and spread it evenly. Repeat until you have 4 layers of cream.
On the 5th layer spread a thin layer of cream and ½ the strawberries. Coat the back of the 6th and place it cream side down on the strawberries. Continue building the cake with 4 more cream layers, a strawberry layer, and the cream layers to finish.
Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Garnish with berries and confectioners sugar and serve.
This delicious dish gives you all the thrills of French cooking without any of the hassle. You poach salmon partly off the heat-a foolproof technique that’s unattended and ensures perfect doneness. Th creamy leek is equally easy to do, and you can make it, as well as the salmon, in advance (see my Tip). The finished dish is great for company and gets applause every time.
Geila’s Tip – You can prepare the leek mixture a day in advance, refrigerate it, and, just before you poach the fish, reheat it over low heat, additional cream. If needed. If you want to make the fish in advance too, poach and refrigerate it, then bring it to room temperature, or heat it in a low oven.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
5 large leaks (about 2 pounds)white parts only, well washed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
In a large sauté pan, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and season with the salt. Reduce the heat to medium low and saute until translucent, stirring occasionally about 10 minutes.
Add the wine, bring to a boil, and cook until the wine has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the cream, dill and cumin and simmer until lightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
Add the poaching liquid ingredients to a sauté pan large enough to hold the fillets in a single layer. Add enough water to bring the liquid !/2 inch from the top of the pan. Add the fillet skin side down and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and barely simmer the fillets for 5 minutes. Turn the fillets, remove the pan from the heat, and remove their skin. By the time the liquid has cooled, the fillets will be done.
Transfer the leek mixture to a warmed platter. Using a slotted spatula, transfer the fish to the platter atop the leeks. Serve.
This recipe, while not specifically for Shavuot, will definitely enhance any festive meal this holiday weekend!
Once a year my normally diet-conscious family gathers on Shavuot, the harvest holiday that celebrates the giving of the Torah, for a calorie-defying blintz debauch. This version of those cheese-filled crêpes is from mother’s friend Sheila, whose blintzes are the world’s best. My contributions are a technique for finishing the blintzes in the oven, which makes serving them for a gathering easy (see the Tip), and a filling variation featuring strawberries and blueberries. Passed with a variety of accompaniments, these are heavenly.
Geila’s Tip – To make these for a crowd, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and brush with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Place the formed blintzes on it seam side down, and brush the tops with 2 more tablespoons of melted butter. Bake in a preheated 350 F. oven until golden, about 10 minutes.
1 pound unsalted farmer’s cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (optional)
1 tablespoon wheat germ (optional)
1 recipe crêpes (see below*)
1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil, plus more, if needed
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting (optional)
Sour cream, maple syrup, and/or fresh fruit, such as berries or sliced peaches, for serving
Place a colander on a sink. Place the farmer’s cheese in the colander and let drain for 15 minutes. Double a large sheet of paper towels, turn the cheese onto it, enclose it in the the towels, and press it to extract more liquid.
In a medium bowl combine the farmer’s cheese, cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla and zest and wheat germ, if using. Beat until the mixture is fairly smooth.
Place a crêpe, darker side up, on a work surface. Place 2 tablespoons of the filling in the center. To form the blintz, fold the nearest side over to “close” the blintz. Transfer to a dish, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining crêpes and filling.
In a medium skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium until the butter stops foaming. Working in batches, and adding more oil and butter, if needed, fry the blintzes seam side down until golden, about 3 minutes. Turn and repeat on the second side. Transfer the blintzes to paper towels as they’re cooked (You can can keep them warm in the oven, if necessary.)
Transfer the blintzes to serving plates. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if using, and serve with the accompaniment(s) of choice.
For strawberry or blueberry blintzes, make the filling without the sugar. In a glass measuring cup, melt 1/2 cup strawberry or blueberry jam in the microwave for 30 seconds. Alternatively, melt it in a small saucepan over low heat. Let the jam cool before mixing into the filling. For a sweeter filling, add sugar by teaspoons to taste. Form the blintzes and proceed as above.
Every cook should have a crêpe recipe up her sleeve. these traditional French pancakes are the basis of a wide range of sweet and savory recipes, like blintzes, or dishes for which they’re filled with cheese or vegetables. This version is cook friendly make them once and subsequent batches will be child’s play.
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons sugar, if making a dessert dish
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup milk
In a large measuring cup, combine the flour, eggs, if using, butter and milk. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Alternatively, blend in a regular blender. Refrigerate for at least 60 minutes.
Heat a crêpe pan or small skillet over medium heat. Spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray and wipe it out with a paper towel. Pour 1/2 cup of batter into the middle of the pan, and tilt the pan from side to side to coat the bottom evenly. when the edges of the crêpe begin to brown after 1 or 2 minutes, flip it in the pan, or use your fingers to turn it over. If necessary first loosen the crêpe around the edge with the tip of a small knife.
Cook for 30 seconds on the second side, transfer the crêpe to a plate, and cover with parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining batter.