Citizens, you may not be aware that in 2006, President George W. Bush set a law that Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM) was to be annually recognized, each May, to celebrate the 350-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture.
So, in that spirit and to happily celebrate the law, here is a classic Jewish blintz recipe for your enjoyment!
A blintz (plural: blintzes, Russian: блин, блины (pl.) bliny; Ukrainian: млинці, mlyntsi; blini; Yiddish: בלינצע blintse) is a thin pancake (similar to a crêpe) which is often served in connection with a religious rite or festival in several cultures.
The English word blintz comes from the Yiddish “blintse” which in turns come from blin. “Blin” comes from Old Slavic mlin, that means “to mill” (compare the Ukrainian word for blin млинець, mlynets’).
Blins had a ritual significance for early Slavic peoples in pre-Christian times, since they were a symbol of the sun due to their round form. They were traditionally prepared at the end of the winter to honor the rebirth of the new sun (Pancake week, or Maslenitsa).
This tradition was adopted by the Russian Orthodox church and is carried on to the present day. Bliny were once also served at wakes, to commemorate the recently deceased.
Jews adapted the blintz but made them in a folded rectangular shape and stuffed with Farmers Cheese – two fried blintzes side-by-side bear a remarkable resemblance to the tablets of the 10 Commandments and are a traditional delicacy to be eaten on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (happening on June 11 in 2016), which celebrates the giving of the 10 Commandments.
Traditionally, dairy meals are eaten on Shavuot and the cheese-stuffed blintz became the traditional dessert of this holiday for Russian and German Jews. Cholesterol and fat meld in a new decadent form in this recipe, so eat in moderation!
Citizens, these are the blintzes you remember from your youth – and I remember from early morning deli excursions in MY youth 😀
TFD’s blintzes are extra creamy by mixing in a secret ingredient: Mascarpone cheese! When added along with the traditional Farmers Cheese filling, these are the creamiest blintzes you will ever try.
Frying them in clarified butter (Ghee) is appropriate to the dairy-themed holiday and adds a special richness as well to the final product.
Battle on – The Generalissimo
Batter for Blintz Wrappers
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour, preferably unbleached
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1 1/2 pounds farmer cheese
1 1/2 pounds mascarpone
1 large egg
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla
Clarified butter (Ghee)
Fruit preserves or jam
For the blintz wrappers, put all the batter ingredients into a blender or a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until very well combined.
Scrape down the sides of the container once or twice during the processing. The batter will be very thin, similar to the consistency of cream. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Combine all the ingredients and mix very well. Set aside.
To make the blintz wrappers, preheat a shallow 8-inch skillet with sloping sides (and preferably, a non-stick surface) over medium-high heat. Very lightly grease the hot pan with butter or non-stick coking spray.
Give the batter a brief stir to recombine. then, pour enough batter into the hot pan to complete cover the bottom about 1/4 inch deep.
Let the pan sit on the heat for only about 5 seconds; then IMMEDIATELY lift the pan by the handle and pour all the excess batter out of the pan and back into the original container. The small amount of batter that remains in the pan will make a very thin, perfectly smooth blintz wrapper.
Cook the blintz wrapper for about 30 seconds, or until it is dry on top and cooked through. The bottom does not have to brown very much. Do not flip it over in the pan; it is cooked on only one side.
Use a knife or spatula to loosen the edge of the blintz wrapper. Turn it out of the pan onto a table or countertop covered with paper towels. The cooked side should face upwards. (If the wrapper does not come right out of the pan, pull on it gently to release).
Repeat with the remaining batter, arranging the cooked blintz wrappers next to each other, but not overlapping. (If space is very limited, they may be stacked in one pile – however, it is easier to divide the filling when all the wrappers are spread out).
Spoon filling onto the center of each blintz wrapper, dividing the filling equally among them. To form each blintz, fold two opposite sides of a wrapper over the filling so they almost meet in the center.
Then, fold up the two remaining sides so that they overlap, completely enclosing the filling and forming a rectangle. Turn all the formed blintzes over so that the seams are on the bottom. The uncooked side of the shell will now be on the outside.
The blintzes may be made ahead to this point and refrigerated or frozen. Arrange them next to each other on a platter or in a freezer container. If the blintzes need to be stacked, place a sheet of wax paper between each layer).
To cook the blintzes, melt a generous amount of clarified butter in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
Beginning with their seamed sides down, fry the blintzes in batches, until they are golden brown on both sides. If the blintzes have been frozen, do not thaw them – simply fry at a lower temperature for a longer time to make sure the cheese filling is cooked through.
Serve the blintzes with your choice of accompaniments.