Ricotta Cheese Filled Blintzes/Crepes

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Blintzes

Making this dish has transported me back  17 years ago to my great aunt’s kitchen during one Hanukah snowy evening. Aside for her personality, she was legendary for her homemade blintzes. There were no second helpings as they were devoured in moments upon sight. Her personality matched her cooking abilities. She would put a lot of effort and love into anything she did; especially her food. Sadly, I don’t have many memories of her as she passed away when I was a little girl. But the plate stacked with her homemade blintzes is still engraved in my mind. Whenever I eat blintzes/crepes, I always think of her. That is why I am dedicating this recipe to her and to the little but wonderful memories I have of her.  This recipe also happens to be my 200th publication. I can’t believe I have gotten this far and I wouldn’t have without the unconditional support from my loving family and devoted readers.

People have asked if there is a difference between blintzes and crepes and if so, what is the difference. There isn’t much if a discrepancy as both items use the same ingredients and the cooking process and techniques are very similar. Crepes are generally cooked through on both sides whereas blintzes are only cooked on one side; reserving the uncooked side for fillings. Crepes and blintzes have the consistency of thin pancakes.  Crepes originated from France. The word “Crepe” is derived from the Latin word “crispa” which means “curled”.  The common ingredients used in crepes are wheat flour, eggs, milk, butter, and a pinch of salt.

Buckwheat came to Europe from Southwest Asia and also spread to Eastern Europe, where a similar meal called blintz also developed. In Brittany,  France, crepes are traditionally served with cider. In areas of Central Europe, the meal is called palačinka (Serbian, Czech, Slovak, Croatian and Slovenian), Palatschinken (in Austria), palacsinta (Hungarian), all these terms being derived from Romanian plăcintă (Latin placenta meaning “cake”). Interestingly, an actual Romanian “plăcintă” is actually more similar to a quiche than to a crepe, and the Romanian word for crepe is clătită. In Danish it’s Pandekage, in most German regions it’s Pfannkuchen. In Dutch pannenkoeken, derived from the words for pan and cake.

Depending on the fillings you use and how you present these dishes, blintzes/crepes can be served as an appetizer, side dish, or a dessert. Fillings can vary from sweet to savory with cheese, meat,  fruit or just sauteed vegetables. Blintzes/crepes with goat cheese strawberry/raspberry fillings are my personal favourites. Since I couldn’t find the goat cheese I wanted and that hubby doesn’t care for fruit, I went for a sweet but zesty ricotta cheese filling. Making the batter may seem tedious but if you practice enough times with persistence and patience, it will come naturally to you. The trick to making a perfect blintz/crepe is allowing the batter to chill in the refridgerator for a while. These blintzes can be made ahead of time because they freeze well. While crepes/blintzes are generally fried, I will be skipping that step because they taste just as good oven-baked. And you know how much I abhor greasy and very oily food.

For this recipe, you will need:

  • For the Blintzes/Crepes
  1. 2/3 cup of whole wheat flour
  2. 1/3 cup of buckwheat or regular flour
  3. 2 egg whites + 1 large egg beaten
  4. 1/2 cup of skim milk (you can use non-dairy milk)
  5. 1/2 cup of water
  6. Pinch of salt
  • For the Filling
  1. 1 lbs of low fat ricotta cheese or cottage cheese
  2. 1 large egg
  3. 1/4 cup of sugar
  4. 1 tablespoon of lemon zest (optional)
  5. 1 teaspoon of vanilla

Instructions

  • For the blintzes/crepes
Beat together all the blintz ingredients and let the batter rest for at least an hour. Heat a small skillet (about 7 inches) and grease it with a bit of oil or cooking spray. Pour about 1/4 cup batter into the pan and swirl it around, pouring off excess. Don’t let it brown. Flip and cook the other side for a few seconds. Then turn blintz out onto a towel. Repeat with with remaining batter and pats of butter.
  • For the ricotta filling

Mix all the filling ingredients in one bowl.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  To assemble, place 1 blintz on a work surface and place 1 tablespoon on top. Fold envelope style and roll up. Continue with remaining blintzes and filling.  Line the blintzes/crepes in a baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until blintzes/crepes are crispy.  Serve hot with low fat sour cream, vanilla yogurt, or berries.

Yields 8-10 blintzes/crepes
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