Memory association with food. We all have it. When I sat down to write this post I started really thinking about this topic. Growing up I know we had a Thanksgiving meal but I don’t remember it at all. I know we went to church potlucks but I have no memory of what my mom’s dish was. I know we went to picnics but none of the food stands out in my memory. However, if I smell or taste cheese blintzes, even bad ones, I am immediately at the house I grew up in and it’s the first night of Chanukah!
It’s funny, I don’t even know how the blintz tradition began but I can clearly picture my mom at the stove making piles of blintz wrappers and giant bowls of filling. I can picture her cooking them on the griddle and making heaping mounds of them on a cookie sheet that was being kept warm in the oven.
There might have been latkes. I again really don’t remember. For me it’s all about the blintzes. As a kid I would “put away” tons of these things. The next day I would even eat them cold straight out of the refrigerator!
As our family grew so did the love of blintzes. It’s funny really, I know some of the family could take ’em of leave ’em but I know there are several of us who wait all year anticipating the delicious cheese blintz. If this isn’t a weird enough “dinner” it only got weirder for “first timers”. As each new member saw the cheese blintz and then saw it slathered in sour cream and topped with granulated white sugar, they each had a questioning look, but once they tried it they either fell into the love it or indifferent camps. Thankfully my husband saw the appeal and loves them, maybe not as much as I do but at least he loves them.
Three years ago when we were moving to Iowa we did the drive from California to Iowa and went up through Washington to see my family. Since this was during the holidays I lucked out and got to have my mom’s blintzes! Not only that but I finally had my mom teach me how to make the blintzes. I took notes and photos so that I could try to make them myself in the future.
Two years ago I finally gave it a go and achieved making my own blintzes for Chanukah! Although I am not a practicing Jew I find my history and heritage incredibly important so ever year we light our menorah every night and have our cheese blintzes and latkes.
The Cheese Blintzes are not necessarily “hard” it’s all about the temperature of your pan. You want it warm enough to cook the crepe but not dry it out or over cook it.
- 3 Extra Large Eggs
- 8 ounces Whole Milk
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 102 grams All-purpose Flour, sifted
- 3 cups Cottage Cheese, strained in cheese cloth
- 2 Extra Large Eggs
- 226 grams Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
- 16 ounces Cream Cheese, room temperature
FOR THE BATTER:
In a blender mix 3 eggs, milk, salt, olive oil and flour (sifted). Blend. Scrape down sides. Blend until smooth and lightly frothy.
The key for Blintz’s is the size of the pan (a small fry pan is best) and the temperature (it needs to be just warm enough to cook the crepe but not put much color on it). Heat the pan on medium low heat. (This will take a few crepes to find the perfect temperature for your stove.)
Rub the warmed pan with a buttered paper towel. Using a ¼ cup measure scoop batter to fill the measure cup about ½ way. If it’s easier you can pour about 1 ounce or just eyeball it. You want just enough batter to coat the warmed fry pan in a very thin layer.
I remove the pan from the heat and hold the pan in one hand and pour the batter with the other. As I pour the batter I tip and rotate the pan to get it to evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Then return it to the heat. As it cooks the edges will start to pull away from the edge. If they are not loosening you can use a rubber scraper to encourage it to release just be gentle. Once it will lift from the pan flip it over for a few seconds and then remove and stack on a plate. (They will not stick together.)
(I find I need two batches of batter for the amount of filling that is in this recipe.)
Every 2-3 crepes re-butter.
FOR THE FILLING:
Line a small bowl with cheese cloth then add the cottage cheese. Bring all the corners and edges of the cloth together and twist. As you twist the liquid from the cheese will be extruded. The more you twist the more liquid will come out. This also means the dryer your mixture will be. (This is something that can only be learnt from doing and trying to get the right consistency. The end product should be spreadable but not runny or thick and pasty. )
Put Cottage cheese and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until well incorporated. Add mozzarella and mix together on low. Once the mozzarella is incorporated stop the mixer and add the cream cheese. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix well.
Scoop two spoonfuls of filling onto crepe and spread in a line through the center of the crepe. (I found about 2 ounces of filling is perfect for the size crepe I make.) Fold over each side making a trifold. Set aside and repeat until you have filled all the crepes.
Warm your skillet or fry pan on medium to medium low heat. Once the pan is warm add as many blintzes as will fit. Cook 2 minutes ,flip, and repeat. Place on cookie sheet in oven at 240º to keep warm.