Sunday, June 08, 2008

cheese blintzes

nothing says classic jewish food more than cheese blintzes. these are especially popular for the holiday of shavuot when dairy foods are traditionally eaten.

there are different recipes for the bletlach (blintz leaves or crêpes) and the filling. the one i am posting here is always successful and definitely worth the trouble of making, especially if you like cheese. see the post here for how to make the blintz leaves.

as for the filling, much depends upon where you live and what is available to you in terms of cheese products. i have, over my lifetime, had many different versions. my favourite is always the kind which are dense and with a creamy consistency rather than a dry (gritty, ech!!) one. therefore, the filling i offer here is a mixture of three different cheeses (rather 2 types). and no, i don't add cinnamon! i find it vile mixed with the cheese filling — made that mistake once, never again.

cottage cheese is usually used for the bulk of most cheese blintz fillings. it comes in two types here in north america: dry and "wet". the dry type is usually in a block and tightly compressed. it has a fine grain to it and little liquid. the "wet" types are larger curd and tend to be a bit salty. the wet component is actually the milk/cream content.

for this particular recipe, both types are used in addition to cream cheese. it's a great filling combination. in the recipe, i show two variations for the filling. as i'm sure there are some people who WON'T like a creamy consistency, i show how to make it the more traditional textured way. to please both crowds, i split the ingredients in two and make 1/2 creamy and 1/2 textured and then combine the two — the best of both worlds.

you can experiment with different cheeses like ricotta mixed with others. the idea, however, is that that the mixture is a DRY one that will not "run" or ooze when it is cooked. the interior filling should be somewhat firm once cooked.

in any event, the recipe yields enough for 20 blintzes. you can freeze them after you form them. it's best to freeze them in batches of 2 or 4 ..... you don't want to defrost 12 when you need 2 for a quick snack!

traditionally, these are served with fresh fruit and sour cream. you can use yogurt or maple syrup or honey, too. all depends on what you like. i've even had them served with whipped cream. there goes the diet!

you can cut the recipes for the filling and blintz leaves in half.

basic cheese blintzes

makes enough for 20 to 24 blintzes


500 g (1 lb) dry cottage cheese
1/2 of a 500 g container regular cottage cheese
4 oz cream cheese (philadelphia style)

1 small lemon, juiced
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
5 to 6 tbsp sugar

2 egg yolks


make the bletlach or "leaves" first. in other words, the crepes ..... see here. these can be done in advance and filled the next day.



a note about the main ingredients before starting:

the dry cottage cheese looks like this:

it is tight grained with very little liquid.

to use it in this recipe, just remove it from the package. there should be minimal liquid. if there is a lot, then you can drain it first.

in north america, cottage cheese can be bought in dry form — usually used for baking — and in a creamy form with larger curds (of cheese). this is the everyday kind of cottage cheese people use to eat on its own or prepared some other way.

the "wet" kind of cottage cheese looks like this and comes in plastic 500 g containers.

before starting the recipe, prepare the creamy style cottage cheese by rinsing it in a fine strainer to remove the liquid content.

what you will be left with are the curds of cheese. it won't seem like much but that is all you need for this recipe.

the best cream cheese to use looks like this:

the filling can be made two ways — it depends what you like in terms of texture.

1. completely smooth

to make it this way, all you need to do is blend all the ingredients together. it is best to cut up the cream cheese in smaller pieces and make sure it is at room temperature. i am using a small food processor so it has to be done in two batches.

2. textured

for this version, you need to combine the cream cheese, lemon juice and sugar first and process it until completely smooth.

once that is done, add the remaining ingredients and pulse until incorporated (or until you get the consistency you like).

putting it all together —

important: count the number of blintzes you made and divide the filling equally. do NOT overfill them. i use between 38 to 42 grams of filling per 24 blintzes (i weigh the filling and divide).

fill the blintzes the same way you would for making a spring/egg roll:

note: you place the filling on the side which was exposed to the bottom of the crêpe pan! the exposed rolled up blintz should be yellowish.

at this point, you can freeze them or continue on. if you freeze, don't place them next to each other or they'll stick when frozen. place them on a tray and freeze them as single units and then put them in well closed ziplocs (nylon/plastic) bags.

once the blintzes are filled, fry in butter over medium heat on both sides until golden.

serve with fresh fruit like blueberries and/or strawberries and sour cream.



Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Gorgeous! Those Blintzes look incredibly scrumptious!



sara said...

i could have right now 20 of your varenike and then some of these for dessert. omg, jewish food is great, it has the best of all countries on earth and shavuot seems to be a kind of holiday i'd like if you eat all these things :))
great post, as usual b.b.!!

Callipygia said...

Wow have you been busy- these look very good and rich. I'd say well justified considering all the effort put into them!

burekaboy — said...

rosa - oh, they are! :)))

sari - don't laugh, i think i did eat 20 varenike and then 20 blintzes! thanks :))

calli - yes, it seriously was a busy weekend in the kitchen! i could eat these year round -- thankfully, i don't or i'd end up 10 times my size!