I had to go to New-York to find out about a Russian-Ukrainian specialty that I had never heard of before, the Blintz. Not that I should have had, but given my various family origins (part of it from Eastern Europe) and the fact that I have eaten lots of times in a Russian restaurant near one of my former offices in China, I could have seen it at least once on a menu, but I never did.
Blintzes are a type of flat and unleavened pancake. They are supposed to translate into blinis, but in fact they look more like crepes that have been folded to form a casing, and filled with cheese. A Blintz has a lightly sweet and savory combination of soft flavors. It is usually first fried then baked in the oven, and is served warm. In this recipe, I partly skipped the frying part, that is that I only briefly fried the underneath side of the folded crepe, the one you can’t see on picture that we call the seamed side, in order to “stick”the crepe on itself and give it a slight crunch. Truth be told, beside the health benefit of not frying food, this crepe is kinda super fragile with soft creamy filling inside and it has been a bit of a headache to figure out how to successfully flip it over to the other side. So let me conclude: Healthy is the New Convenient! Sometimes you wonder, don’t you…?
Here is above a brief description in pictures to show you how to fold your blintzes. Depending on the size of your crepe pan and the ingredient quantities provided here, you may be able to make 6 to 8 blintzes. To be honest, eating just one is fairly enough as it is quite a rich recipe. The problem is you will want to eat another one (because it is so good!) but you’d rather not, otherwise you may suddenly feel too full. I leave it up to you though! Just warning… I served mine with fresh strawberries and a dash of lemon juice, that I found added to the balance of the dish.
For the Crepes
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup of flour (250 grams)
- 1 cup of milk (250 ml)
- 1/4 cup of cold water (60 ml)
- 2 tbsp of sugar
- 2 tbsp of vegetal oil
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
For the Filling
- 1 cup of Ricotta Cheese
- 1/2 cup of Cream Cheese
- 1 raw egg
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp of sugar
- The zest and juice of a lemon
- For a blintz with a twist, you can replace the lemon by a lime, or add them up if they are both small.
- Prepare the crepes by mixing all ingredients with an electric mixer. If you do it by hand, make sure there’s no lump in the end, you want your crepe batter to be smooth.
- Let it rest 30 minutes under a dry kitchen towel.
- In the meantime, prepare the filling by combining all ingredients in a small bowl with a fork. It doesn’t have to end up smooth.
- Make the crepe. Heat a small amount of butter in a flat pan before you make each crepe. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter in the pan and help it spread in a circle. After less than a minute, gently flip it over and briefly cook the other side. Repeat the process, starting with heating butter in the pan. Stack up your crepes.
- Preheat the oven at 165 degrees Celsius.
- Slightly butter up an oven baking dish.
- Start filling the first crepe. Put about 3 to 4 tbsp of cheese mix in the lower part of the crepe as shown on picture. Fold the bottom side, the left and right sides, and roll it to form a casing.
- Gently flatten up your crepe before putting it back in a pan to fry the bottom and stick you crepe shut.
- Put the fried crepe in your oven baking dish, seamed side down.
- Bake for about 10 minutes.
- Serve warm, plain or with fresh juicy fruits (the best combination being with any kind of berry).
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Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi, © 2016 All Rights Reserved.