Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Birthday Blintzes

My dad recently had a birthday. When he was growing up, his mom would make blintzes — a Jewish pancake-like food, similar to crepes — every year for his birthday. When my mom and dad started dating, Grandma taught my mom how to make blintzes so Mom could carry on the tradition. It's one of the only things my mom ever learned how to cook, but she makes them almost every year.

They're quite delicious. Blintzes traditionally have a cottage cheese-based filling, but since I don't really like cottage cheese, we also make some with yummy pie fillings.

Anyway, this week I realized that despite eating these things for years, I had no idea how to make them. So Mom showed me how to do it. And guys, I had no idea how time consuming it is to make blintzes. But they're really good. So if you have an hour and a half or so to kill, and really want dessert for dinner, you're going to love this.

Cheese Blintzes
A single batch makes 10-14 blintzes. (We tripled the batter recipe since we were doing three kinds of fillings.)

Pancake Batter
3/4 c. sifted flour (we bought a bag of pre-sifted flour; also, my mom says she has never once sifted the flour in 30 years, so I think it's probably fine if you don't)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 c. milk
1/3 c. water
1/2 tsp. vanilla
cottage cheese filling (and/or canned pie fillings — we used apple and blueberry)
corn oil for brushing (put it in a tiny bowl and set it next to the stove; vegetable oil would probably be fine too)
Cool Whip and sour cream for topping (my family thinks both go equally well, no matter the filling flavor)

Cottage Cheese Filling
1 large egg
12 oz. cottage cheese (1 1/2 cups)
1 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cinnamon

Do the cottage cheese filling first. In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg until thick and lemon-colored. Add the cottage cheese, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Gently beat to blend. Set aside.

For the batter, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. In a smaller mixing bowl, beat the eggs slightly; add the milk, water and vanilla. Beat until combined. Gradually beat the liquid into the dry ingredients; continue beating until smooth. Make sure all tiny lumps disappear (we used a hand-mixer to get them out). Over medium low-heat, heat an 8-inch skillet. Brush the skillet with a tiny bit of oil.

Put two or three paper towels on the (clean) countertop next to your work station. You're going to flip the blintzes onto them to cool before you put the filling in.

Pour about 2 level tablespoons of the batter into the skillet; as you do so, have one hand on the skillet handle, and lift off the heat to swirl and spread batter to the edges of the skillet, making sure there are not holes in the middle. Cook the pancake until light brown on the bottom and set enough on top to not be sticky (it will look barely dry on top). Use a spatula to get the pancake out of the bottom of the skillet, and flip it onto the paper towel so the browned side is up. Scrape any excess batter out of the pan. Continue with the rest of the batter, brushing the skillet with oil each time. Make sure the pancakes are in a single layer on the paper towels; don't stack them.

Sorry for the bad lighting.

Put a spoonful or two of the cottage cheese filling (or other filling) in the center of each pancake. Fold in sides so it makes a little packet, and place seam-side down on a plate until you're ready to fry them. (Finish wrapping up all of them before moving onto the next step.)

Grease the skillet with a little butter, then add as many blintzes (still seam-side down) as the skillet will comfortably hold. Brown on the bottom, then flip and brown the top as well. If you need to fry them in batches, add more butter between batches.

Serve! Put a dab of sour cream or Cool Whip on top and eat!

apple blintzes with whipped cream

Do you have any birthday dinner traditions?


  1. Oh my goodness those seriously look so amazing! I'm not a huge fan of cottage cheese either, but I'd be willing to try it here! Ooh or a bacon goat cheese and dill one. drooool.

    1. Ooh, that sounds really good! Then it would be more of a savory dinner instead of a dessert!