Many years ago, when I asked my dear Grandma Freydl, how to make blintzes, those delicious Jewish crepes filled with creamy cheese and topped with fruit, she told me that to make them, you went to the freezer case, bought them, and heated them up at home. Blintzes have an unjustified reputation for being difficult to make, but they are not hard at all. If you’re making a large number of them (I’ve made 200 at a time) for a party, it takes time to make all the crepes and fill them (enlisting a couple of friends and relatives to create a production line is helpful), but the process is straightforward: you make small crepes out of a thin batter, cook them on one side, fill them with a cottage cheese mixture on the cooked side, and then fold them and cook the outside.
Some time after I learned there was a means to obtain blintzes outside of the freezer case, I discovered that it was easy to make them very low fat by substituting non-fat ingredients for higher fat ones – thus eliminating blintzes’ reputation for being a high fat luxury. This time I even baked them instead of sautéing them in butter, both further lowering the fat and allowing me to make a large number (40) at once.
Blintzes are also versatile. They freeze well at the point when you’ve filled them but not done the second cooking, allowing you to make them well ahead of an event. Just defrost them before cooking. They make a good brunch dish, and have significant Wow factor if you bring them to a potluck, as I did this time – especially since people think they’re so hard to make.
You can vary the toppings. Many people serve them with sour cream and sweetened strawberries. I’ve had them with apples cooked in cinnamon, and various melted preserves. The Blueberry-Cinnamon Sauce is simple, and any leftover sauce is great on French toast or pancakes.
1 large egg
1/2 cup egg substitute
4 Tablespoons flour
1/2 cup water
pinch of salt
1 pound dry cottage cheese (I use small curd non-fat cottage cheese and drain it through a sieve for 1/2 hour)
1/2 cup egg substitute
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
In a medium bowl, beat batter ingredients to form a thin batter. Spray a small frying pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of batter into the frying pan, turning quickly so that the batter covers the whole bottom of the pan, making a thin crepe.
Cook until the crepe is golden brown on the bottom. Be sure not to overcook so the crepe doesn’t get too stiff, or it will be hard to fold. Remove the crepe from the pan, and set aside, raw side up. Don’t be concerned if the first crepe or so is a bit ragged. It takes a while to get the knack of making them. Besides, they don’t have to be perfectly round since you’re going to fold them. I prefer to make all my crepes at once, and then fill them. You can line your counter with plastic wrap or wax paper and overlap the cooked crepes…if you’re making a lot it becomes a blintz factory. You will probably have to re-spray the pan about every third crepe.
Mix filling ingredients ( cottage cheese through cinnamon) in a medium bowl. Place crepe on a flat surfaace cooked side up. Place a small quantity of filling in the center of the lower third of the crepe.
Fold crepe over filling, then fold the sides in, and continue to roll the crepe up. You now have a blintz. Place blintz seam side down and set aside. If you are going to freeze the blintzes, this is the time to do it. Be sure to put plastic wrap between the layers of the blintzes you’re freezing so they don’t stick together.
There are two ways to cook the blintzes. (If the blintzes are frozen, defrost them before this step.) You can either melt one tablespoon of butter in a frying pan and cook the blintzes over medium low heat, starting with the seam side down and turning once when the bottom side is golden brown. Or you can put the blintzes, seam side down, on a baking sheet or pan coated with cooking spray, and brush the tops with the melted butter. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
Some of the blintzes have little tears where the filling shows through These won’t matter once they are cooked.
This makes about 10 blintzes at about 1.6 grams of fat/blintz.
NOTE: This recipe is a bit imprecise because a lot depends on the size of the pan you make your crepes in. Mine makes about 10 blintzes per recipe. Also, if you double, triple, or otherwise increase the recipe, be aware that it makes more filling than you need for the number of blintzes you are creating. I usually make 3 recipes of crepe batter to 2 recipes of filling, but I often have leftover filling even then.
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons water
1 T cornstarch
Cook blueberries, sugar, cinnamon, and 1/4 cup water over medium heat until blueberries are soft, mashing gently with a fork or potato masher occasionally as they cook. When berries are soft, mix one tablespoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water. Sir into the blueberry mixture and stir until the mixture thickens slightly.
This was a blintz that unraveled a bit, so I didn’t take it to the potluck. I ate it right then.