Tuesday, December 01, 2009


You can keep your pies of mince
And your scented jams of quince
But give me to eat
A cheesy treat
The noble, tasty Blintz.

Cheese Blintzes
A brace of cheese blintzes, gently frying in butter.

One of the benefits of having SWMBO’s Momma visiting us is the chance to tuck into that most excellent of Ashkenazic Jewish dairy foods: the Cheese Blintz.

Technically, a blintz is a pancake. A central European sort of crêpe, if you will, gastronomically related to the Russian blini, which are, classically, wheat or buckwheat pancakes raised with yeast. (Crêpes are made without yeast, but blintzes may be made with or without.)

Blini - the archetypical blintz - are usually decorated with butter, sour cream, jam or preserves, or (even better) caviar. Blintzes, on the other hand, will typically be filled with either a mildly sweet cheese mixture or fruit, rolled up and pan-fried.

I’ve had both fruit- and cheese-filled blintzes over the years, and my vote goes for the cheese. A properly prepared blintz, pan-fried in golden butter and served with sour cream and a dab of orange marmalade alongside, is ambrosia of the highest order.

SWMBO’s Momma is a blintzeteer extraordinaire. She is the Princess of Blintzes. And she is gracious enough to share her recipe:

Cheese Blintzes - Momma d’SWMBO Style

This recipe is enough to make about 50 blintzes.

32 oz farmer cheese
3 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
10 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp salt
3 egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp lemon zest

3 cups flour
2½ cups water
1 tsp oil
3 tsp salt
12 eggs

First make the filling. Blend together the farmer cheese, softened cream cheese, melted butter, salt, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest. You can use small-curd cottage cheese as a substitute for farmer cheese - just drain it as much as you can, using a cheesecloth-lined strainer. (Your filling will be a bit runnier if you use cottage cheese.)

Refrigerate the filling while you make the wrappers.

For the wrappers, beat the eggs and oil together, then add the water and mix well. In a separate bowl, blend the flour and salt, then add the liquid ingredients and whisk together. Don’t overwork the batter.

Heat an eight-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add enough batter to coat the skillet with a thin layer - about ¼ cup per wrapper. When the batter sets up, and begins to come away from the pan at the edges, it’s done - dump the pancake out on to a clean dishtowel and start on the next one.

While the next wrapper is cooking, assemble the first blintz. About one-quarter of the way up from the bottom of the wrapper, place a heaping teaspoon of filling, then roll up the wrapper around it like a burrito: center, sides, then center again to seal the edges. Place on a tray or large plate, seam-side down. If you pile the blintzes up in more than one layer, place aluminum foil between the layers to prevent sticking.

Now all you have to do is melt some butter in a skillet (enough to cover the bottom of the skillet completely) and lightly fry those bad boys until they’re golden brown on top and bottom. Serve hot, with lashings of sour cream and/or the jam/jelly/preserves of your choice.

Calories? Who gives a crap? These are blintzes, baby!

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