Izzy (and Mama) Eat: The Gourmand Goes To College...
Tales of Empty Nest and College Boy Eats.. The Next Chapter
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Grandma Ida's Blintzes (or a reasonable facsimilie thereof)
Blintzes browning in butter was an aroma that often wafted from my grandmother's kitchen. They were one of her specialties and it seemed that she made them at least once a week. I would watch her as she fried a batch of them, allowing them to drain on brown paper bags. She nearly always had a batch ready to fry so I never had the chance to see her make the filling or roll them. I had to figure it out for myself.
My grandfather could never get enough of them so for New Year's Day dinner, I prepared a batch for him; something I should do more frequently since Izzy and I love them too.
Grandma Ida's Blintzes (Adapted from The Jewish-American Kitchen by Raymond Sokolov)
For the pancakes:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted and cooled
1 cup unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
additional unsalted butter (for frying)
3/4 lb farmer cheese*
2 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1. Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl.
2. Add the cooled melted butter, flour, salt, and milk. Stir until smooth. Add the baking powder, and continue stirring.
3. Melt a teaspoon of butter in a 5-6in cast iron skillet or nonstick pan.
4. When the butter is hot, add 2 tablespoons of the batter and immediately rotate the pan to spread the batter evenly and thinly over the bottom (pour any excess into the bowl).
5. Cook for about 30 seconds on the first side.
6. If you are able to flip the pancake over to its other side without using a utensil, do so. Otherwise, slide the pancake onto a small plate, and flip it back into the pan.
7. Note: this is the perfect time to learn to flip, since the pancake has barely any weight!
8. Cook for about 15 second on its second side.
9. Remove the pancake to a cookie sheet or other surface or flat plate.
10. Repeat with the additional butter and remaining batter. The cooked pancakes will keep for several hours at room temperature. This amount of batter will yield 10-12 pancakes.
For the filling:
1. Combine the farmer cheese, cream cheese, egg, lemon peel, and a pinch of salt.
2. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth.
To assemble blintzes:
1. Put about 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of each pancake. Fold over one side, then the other and fold in the ends. (For some reason I have never mastered this completely but they are still yummy).
At this point you can refrigerate a few hours before frying or freeze them. They also freeze well after frying.
2. Heat butter in a large skillet and fry each blintz for about 4 minutes, turning to brown all sides.
Makes 10-12 pancakes..serves 3-4 people. Serve with plenty of sour cream.
*The quality of the cheese you use really does impact the flavor. If you have have access to fresh farmer's cheese, use it!