Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cheese Blintzes with Strawberries for Shavuot


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!

Happy Shavuot!

Cheese Blintzes with Strawberries
Adapted slightly from The Book of Jewish Food
By Claudia Roden
Makes 18 small blintzes

Pancakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/3 cups water
2 eggs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons canola oil

Filling:
1 pound cottage cheese
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla

Topping:
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.

16 comments:

  1. Saved this recipe, I love blintzes yours looks so tender and light, Beautiful!

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    1. Aw, thank you, Suzanne! I hope you enjoy them.

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  2. One of the very few things I'm terrified to make are blintzes and crepes. They're just so thin!!! And also, you know, delicious. I'm a little terrified that if I do manage to make them work I'll gain 1,000 pounds... But I DO like the make ahead aspect of this recipe. Hubby's birthday is coming up soon, maybe that will be a cause for experimentation...

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    1. I know what you mean about making the crepes...for me, the first few always look funky or tear before I get in the groove. Fortunately, after you tuck and roll around the filling (and cover with berries) no one will ever know! And yes, I'd eat the whole pan myself if I didn't have teenagers to do it for me. Let me know if you decide to give them a go - sounds like a terrific birthday treat.

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  3. I have some strawberries that are looking a little tired...might be just the ticket for this. First on the list for weekend brunch though is a Smoked Salmon, Leeks, and Goat Cheese quiche. Don't you love long weekends in the kitchen!?!

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    1. Long weekends with lots of cooking are the best! I hope you enjoyed yours. Your salmon, leek and goat cheese quiche sounds divine!

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  4. Oh my goodness, cheese blitzes are irresistible! My favorite are found at a small restaurant in the tiny town of San Juan Bautista, CA. They were served with homemade strawberry jam as part of a Sunday brunch buffet. I only wish the owners had not retired! Your recipe has inspired me to make them, especially with strawberry season in full swing.

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    1. Homemade strawberry jam is just the best, Deb - can't wait to make some this season. It truly enhances anything it tops...especially blintzes! I'm so happy you're inspired to make blintzes and hope you enjoy them.

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  5. Those cheese blintzes look soooo good. Hope you had a good Shavuot with your family

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    1. Thank you so much, Lisa! We had a lovely Shavuot together, and did a good job celebrating with lots of dairy treats! I hope you enjoyed a lovely long weekend!

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  6. Yum! These look dee-licious. I really love a good blintz/crêpe/galette. I can't wait to see some strawberries at the farmers market so I can start making wonderful strawberry recipes.

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    1. Thank you, Lauren! It's so exciting to see spring and early summer fruit popping up at the market - makes me realize how much I'm craving it. One of our neighborhood fruit stands just set up for the summer...always a happy sight!

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  7. Really, is there any holiday better than Shavuous? I mean its pretty much law to eat cheesecake and yummy blintzes. These look awesome. Love the strawberries with it. YUM

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    1. Thank you, Beth! I couldn't agree more - it's a delicious holiday! Our favorite cheesecake is the Israeli cheesecake from Janna Gur's stunning book...we indulged in that one with lots of enjoyment. Hope you had a lovely Shavuot!

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  8. Hi Hannah! I've never had blintzes before but the skin looks like crepe? I love the filling and it looks so delicious!!!

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    1. Thank you, Nami! Yes, it's a thin pancake/crepe wrapped around the sweet cheese filling. Blintzes are a lovely treat to indulge in - my family always gobbles them up quickly! I appreciate you stopping by. :)

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