Friday, May 31, 2013

Mixed Berry Three Cheese Blintzes

To download a cookbook-style copy of the recipe for Mixed Berry Three Cheese Blintzes, click HERE.

Blintzes – eastern Europe’s simple and delicious version of a crepe – are perfect for breakfast, a light lunch, or dessert. This week’s recipe, Mixed Berry Three Cheese Blintzes, takes an early Kissing the Cook post for blintzes and reworks it in a new – and, I think, better - way.

Although fruit fillings are often used, the classic blintz is filled with a sweet cheese mixture made with cream cheese and either farmer cheese, cottage cheese or, in more modern versions, ricotta. This recipe combines both fruit and cheese. For the syrup topping and the fruit in the filling, I used a blend of fresh strawberries and fresh blueberries. For the cheese filling, to be consistent with the blintz’ eastern European origins, I combined farmer cheese (which has a consistency similar to ricotta) with the cream cheese and cottage cheese. If you don’t have farmer cheese available, or otherwise prefer not to use it, no need to worry; my grandmother, originally from Kiev, used cream cheese and cottage cheese in her blintzes.

A Cook’s Note before we begin:

  • A significant difference between this recipe and typical blintz preparations is that blintzes are normally cooked twice: once to cook the crepe, and once to fry or bake the filled blintz to brown the outside and cook the eggs in the filling. In my version, there are no eggs in the filling; except for the warmed mixed-berry syrup on top, the blintzes are served cold or room temperature instead of fried or baked. It’s an unusual way to serve a blintz, but having grown up eating the ones my grandmother made this way, I can assure you it can work wonderfully. (It’s still possible to fry or bake them if that’s what you prefer.)

The following recipe makes about 10 blintzes. Here’s what you’ll need:

For the crepes: 1 cup AP flour; ¼ tsp salt; 2 Tbsp melted butter substitute; 2 egg-substitute eggs; 1-1/2 cups skim milk; and butter substitute or oil for cooking crepes

For the cheese filling: ½ pound farmer cheese; 1 cup low fat cottage cheese; 8 ounces low fat cream cheese, softened; 3/8 cup sugar; 1/8 tsp cinnamon; 1/4 tsp salt

For the fruit syrup and filling:

1 cup granulated sugar; juice of ½ lemon; ½ teaspoon salt; pinch ground nutmeg; 1 lb. fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered; 1 cup fresh blueberries; confectioner’s sugar for garnish

First, we’ll make the crepe batter:

Combine flour and salt in a bowl, and form a well. Pour the egg-substitute eggs and skim milk into the well. Add the melted butter substitute and mix into the other liquids in the well.

Once the liquid ingredients in the well are combined, gradually mix in the dry ingredients. The result should be a thick batter with the consistency of heavy cream.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

While the crepe batter is resting, prepare the cheese filling and mixed berry syrup and filling as follows. To make the cheese filling:

Put all the filling ingredients into a bowl and mix until well combined and fairly smooth. Refrigerate until needed.

To prepare the syrup topping and fruit filling:

Place a small glass plate in the freezer and put the granulated sugar and the lemon juice into a saucepan. Stir the mixture in the saucepan until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the salt, nutmeg and strawberries and turn the heat on very low. Cook until the strawberries are softened but not mushy, about 10 minutes.

Add the blueberries and cook until softened, about another 10 minutes.

Strain the fruit mixture, retaining the liquid. Set the fruit aside to cool.

Return the liquid to the saucepan. Simmer the liquid until a few drops cooled on the frozen plate have a syrup consistency. Set aside till needed.

While the cooked fruit is cooling, cook the crepes as follows:

Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat; remove the pan from the heat and melt about 1 tsp of butter substitute. Add about ¼ cup of batter, swirl around to cover the surface of the pan, and put it back on the heat.

When the crepe is lightly browned on the bottom and firm enough to be flipped (usually about one to 1-1/2 minutes, but keep an eye on it), turn or flip the crepe and cook on the opposite side till it has the desired brownness.

Stack the crepes on a plate, covered with a clean towel to keep from drying out. Repeat the above steps for each crepe, rebuttering the pan as needed.

Working one at a time, prepare the blintzes as follows:

Lay a crepe out flat. Put 1/4 cup of cheese filling half-way between the center-line and edge nearest you.

Place a little of the mixed berry mixture on top of the cheese.

Fold the crepe as you would a burrito. First, fold the edge nearest you over the filling.

Fold in the left and right sides.

Roll the crepe away from you to form the blintz.

To serve:

While warming the reserved mixed berry syrup, sprinkle some confectioner’s sugar on a plate as a garnish.

Place one or two blintzes on the plate, and pour a little of the syrup on top.

To download a cookbook-style copy of the recipe for Mixed Berry Three Cheese Blintzes, click HERE.

Hope you enjoy the comfort of this very special dish! And please visit again next week. Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)