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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.