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Jewish Food: The World at Table by Matthew Goodman

     Blintzes are of Ukranian origin, having evolved from the Russian pancakes known as blini. Interestingly, blini are a favorite in Russia during the week leading up to Lent, while blintzes have a long association with the Jewish springtime holiday of Shavuot. Dairy foods are traditionally served on Shavuot (calves, after all, are born in the spring), and blintzes are about as dairy a food as you can get, involving milk, butter, and cheese, not to mention the sour cream topping; moreover, two rolled-up blintzes side by side on opiate ore said to resemble the stone tablets Moses brought down from Sinai.
     Even with the decline of dairy restaurants. New York is probably still the world capital of blintzes, and for my money the city's best may be found at the Ukrainian restaurant Veselka, in the East Village. This, slightly adapted, is their recipe.  For plain cheese blintzes, just dust them with confectioner's sugar and serve with applesauce and sour cream. Fruit fillings and toppings may also be used.


1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons Cognac
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups milk

1 1/2 pounds farmer's cheese
1 egg
2 tablespoons sugar
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Butter for frying

1. Make the batter: Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until smooth. Mix in the lemon zest, vanilla. Cognac, and butter. Slowly add the milk and stir until the batter is the consistency of heavy cream. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

2. Make the filling: Combine all of the filling ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until smooth. Refrigerate for at least i hour.

3. Make the blintzes: Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in an 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Pour in a scant 1/4 cup batter, just enough to cover the bottom when you tilt and swirl the pan. When the pancake starts to look dry and the edges are lightly brown, run a spatula around the edges and gently flip it over. Cook the second side for just a moment, then turn the pancake out onto wax paper. Continue making pancakes until all the batter has been used. Allow to cool to room temperature.

4. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

5. Set out a pancake with the more cooked side facing up on the work surface. Place 2 heaping tablespoons of the filling in the middle of the pancake. Spread the filling thinly over the entire pancake, leaving about a 1/2-inch border at the edge. Fold the pancake in about 1 1/2 inches on the top and the bottom. Next, roll the pancake sideways, forming a cylinder about 5 inches long. Repeat the process with the remaining pancakes and filling.

6. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place 4 of the blintzes in the pan seam side down and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Rmove the blintzes from the pan and place on a baking sheet; place the sheet in the warm oven. Repeat the process with the remaining blintzes. Serve warm.

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