It’s that time of year ... time for dairy delights! Shavuot is this weekend, and it is customary to eat dairy products to mark this Jewish holiday commemorating when Moses received the Torah at Mount Sinai. I’m looking forward to a delicious celebration with cheesecake, ice cream and my favorite Shavuot treat – blintzes.
Blintzes have a certain elegance to them. A soft, crepe-like pancake drapes itself around the creamy cheese filling under a blanket of berries. The luscious textures and flavors blend together beautifully.
When making the blintz crepes, I often find myself trying to flip them too soon in the pan and end up tearing the delicate pancakes. I’ve discovered the key is to let them really brown and loosen up so they're easy to flip, then it only takes a few seconds to finish on the other side.
Blintzes take a bit of time to prepare but all the components can be made ahead and assembled at the last minute, or the assembly can be done the night before a brunch and baked just before serving. While the blintzes are baking, slice some strawberries and sprinkle a shower of sugar over them to serve alongside. I can promise you, nothing smells as good as a pan of hot blintzes emerging from the oven!
Cheese Blintzes with Strawberries
Adapted slightly from The Book of Jewish Food
By Claudia Roden
Makes 18 small blintzes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/3 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound cottage cheese
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups strawberries, quartered
3 tablespoons sugar
In large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, milk and water until well blended. Add the eggs, salt and canola oil and stir until smooth. Let sit for 1-2 hours at room temperature.
Heat an 8-inch, non-stick frying pan over medium high heat. Using a paper towel dipped in canola oil, wipe the bottom to lightly grease it. Pour 1/3 cup of the blintz batter in and swirl the pan to cover the bottom. When the pancake browns lightly and releases easily, flip it over and cook for a few seconds on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter, stacking the pancakes up as you go. The pancakes can be made ahead and covered until ready to use (chill them if preparing the night before).
In the bowl of a food processor, whiz the cottage cheese, cream cheese, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla until smooth. Set aside until ready to form the blintzes (again, cover and chill if making the night before).
Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish. To form a blintz, lay a pancake flat and spoon about 2 tablespoons of the cheese filling in the middle. Fold the two side edges over the filling and roll the open edges over to encase the cheese (like a little burrito). Place the rolls side by side in the prepared dish. The dish can be covered and kept chilled at this point to bake later, or baked right away.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the blintzes for 25 minutes. While they are baking, stir together the strawberries and sugar in a small serving bowl. Serve the blintzes hot with the bowl of strawberries.