Frozen blintzes are for cowards, so here’s how to make them from scratch
Don’t get me wrong. I have at least four boxes of (Streit’s?) cheese blintzes gathering a third layer of permafrost in my freezer right now. I bought them before the glatt marts could jack up the prices because this is not my first go-round, folks. This is my life.
However! I do not expect to unpackage them this holiday. Or, perhaps, ever. That is because after making my own blintzes with the following recipe I have settled on the conclusion that frozen blintzes are for cowards. You can whip up a batch homemade so easily that to buy the little kosher hot pockets from the store would be to impugn—nay, swear off—your integrity in the kitchen.
Not to mention that the frozen kind never cook evenly and don’t taste that great to begin with. Have I ever had a positive frozen blintz experience? The short answer is no. The long answer is, has anyone? Nothing like biting into a blackened potatoey crust that you are certain is cooked all the way, only for the cool dispassion of stubborn icicles to greet you in the interior. Come on now. Let’s just make them from scratch.
First: go shopping!
Here’s what you need that you might not have: good ricotta cheese, sour cream, a lemon, and blueberries. (I take it you have vanilla.) Everything else is below:
You will need:
…for the crepes
1 cup flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1.25 cups whole milk
1 tbsp vegetable oil
…for the filling
1 lb ricotta cheese (get the good stuff)
3 tbsp sour cream or mascarpone
2 egg yolks
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
…for the win
a tablespoon (or less!) of sugar
Also get out: a big round frying pan, a saucepan, a mixing bowl, a strainer and a stick of butter to play around with.
After you have all your ingredients together, start by making the crepe batter. Take all the ingredients from the first half and whisk them together in a bowl. This should be a relatively thin liquid, thin enough to drip off the whisk when you hold it over the bowl but thick enough that it doesn’t all run off immediately. Okay, now let it sit.
[The life hack here is to double this part of the recipe and save half the batter for breakfast, when you can cook up crepes any other way you like. Thank me later.]
Next, take a look at the ricotta. Is it good and wet, dripping like a baby fresh out the bathtub? In that case, let it towel off in a colander to drain some of that excess liquid. (You can also dry it out in the fridge.) We’re not trying to make soggy blintzes. That’s what Big Kosher wants us to do.
[It’s important, here that we’re pronouncing ricotta “ree-coatt-ah.” It enhances the taste, I guarantee it. Make sure to get that double ‘t’ sound.]
When the ricotta is ready and at room temperature, combine the filling ingredients in a separate bowl and blend until smooth. You should have a nice, heavy whip going.
Okay, now you’re ready to make the crepes!
Heat a non-stick crepe pan or 8 inch skillet. Grab that stick o’ butter and slather the pan with it. The pan should froth about it as you are merely teasing the main event. So, deep breath at this point. Next is the part where you showcase your elegance and prove your worth as a chef: pour about a quarter-cup of batter into the frying pan as you tilt the pan to spread the batter thin. You’re making broad, thin circles here, about seven or eight inches in diameter.
It should cook in a flash — no more than twenty seconds on each side if your pan is hot enough. Throw it on a plate to cool and repeat. Make a bunch of these and kill the batter, unless you wisely doubled the recipe for later, in which case kill half of it.
All set? Now take the action to the countertop. Spread a crepe out onto a flat surface (cutting board is fine), and drop a couple of tablespoons’ worth of filling into the bottom third of the crepe. Don’t worry about spreading it out—it’s easier to roll up into a lil’ burrito this way. Roll the bottom flap over the filling and tuck it under, then fold over the side leaves, then roll the whole thing forward like a sleeping bag. Honestly, just make a lil’ burrito. Repeat until all the crepes are filled.
Now heat up that pan and smother it with butter again. (Hey, diets don’t count on chag!) Throw your Hungarian blintzes on there 2-3 at a time and cook on each side until golden. Then you’re done.
Oh yeah! Blueberry sauce: take all those blueberries, throw them in a pot, and throw some sugar on top of it, and then just cook it until you get this oozing pot of succulence that looks like it does on the frozen box of Streit’s blintzes. That takes like 10 minutes? Tops.
I have no idea how many this makes because I eat them as I go. Rob, whose recipe this is, says it’s good for about a dozen. Happy Shavuot!
Edited to add: this recipe makes about eight blintzes.