Cheese blintzes are a traditional Ashkenazi dairy food for the festival of Shavuot. One rather poetic explanation for this tradition is that two blintzes laid side-by-side resemble the two tablets Moses received on Mount Sinai.
I offer two options for filling here. The ricotta filling is not traditional, but its smooth texture and sweet, mild taste is pleasing to all palates. I personally prefer the tanginess of farmers’ cheese, the traditional filling, in my blintzes. Farmers’ cheese is a fresh, soft cheese with very small curds. (Pot cheese, which is cottage cheese with some of the whey pressed out, is even more traditional, but can be hard to find.) You want a soft version, not a dry or crumbly one. You can usually find farmers’ cheese in better grocery stores; otherwise, quark or small-curd cottage cheese is a suitable substitute, so long as you drain it before using it.
For the crepes:
- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
For the sweet ricotta filling:
- 15 oz. whole milk ricotta
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- Zest of one lemon
- Pinch salt
For the farmers cheese filling:
- 16 oz. farmers’ cheese
- ¼ cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- 1 egg yolk
- Pinch nutmeg
- Salt and white pepper to taste
For cooking and serving:
- Butter for cooking
- Jam or sour cream for serving
- To make the batter, whisk together milk, eggs and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Add flour, sugar and salt and whisk until thoroughly combined and no longer lumpy. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.
- To make the crepes, heat an 8 or 10-inch nonstick crepe pan over high heat. While the pan is heating, prepare four clean dishtowels or four squares of parchment paper to hold the cooked crepes. Stir the crepe batter to recombine.
- Once pan is hot, turn heat down to medium. Add 1/3 cup of crepe batter and immediately tilt pan to swirl batter to the edges. The batter should thinly coat the bottom of the pan. Cook undisturbed for 40 seconds to 1 minute, until edges are lightly browned and release easily from pan and center is dry.
- Using your fingers or a thin, flexible spatula, loosen an edge and carefully remove the crepe to the dishtowel or parchment paper. (Do not use tongs, which may puncture or tear the delicate crepe. If the bottoms of the crepes are browning before the center is dry, flip them over and briefly cook the underside, then add slightly less batter to the pan for the next crepe.) Repeat until batter is gone. Layer finished crepes between dishtowels or parchment paper. (Crepes may be prepared up to a day ahead and refrigerated.)
- To make either filling, mix all ingredients together in a bowl. To fill the crepes, place one crepe, cooked side down on a clean dishtowel or board and spoon 2 to 3 TB of filling just below the center of the crepe, leaving a border on the bottom and each side. Fold the bottom layer over the filling, then fold in each side, enclosing the filling completely, and roll up. Place the filled crepes seam-side down in a baking dish. (They can be refrigerated at this point for up to 1 day.)
- To cook the blintzes, melt 2 Tbsp butter in a 12-inch, non-stick skillet. Place four blintzes in the skillet and cook over medium heat until lightly browned. Flip and brown other side. Keeping cooked blintzes warm, repeat with remaining blintzes, adding more butter to the skillet as necessary. Serve topped with jam, sour cream and fresh sliced fruit.