Although Shavuot technically celebrates the wheat harvest, it is known as a holiday where our plates are bursting with dairy. The custom of eating dairy is thought to have originated from the hope for a promised land of milk and honey when we were given the Torah on Mount Sinai. Between mouthfuls of cheesecake and blintzes, I’m happy to oblige
My grandmother, Eva, was a fabulous host and cook, with a fridge and freezer overflowing with delicious treats. She was known across the community for her love of baking; especially her cinnamon buns, New York Style-Cheesecakes and blintz casseroles.
Blintzes are a traditional Eastern European dish made with a thin pancake, similar to French-style crepes, that can be filled with a variety of sweet or savory ingredients such as farmer’s cheese, fruit, potatoes or vegetables. The sweet variety is often topped with a fruit compote or sauce and lightly fried in butter.
Instead of serving blintzes individually on a plate, my grandmother would neatly line up her rolled blintzes and bake them into a buttered casserole dish before topping them with strawberry sauce, similar to the sauce she would serve on top of her cheesecake. This recipe pays homage to these two iconic, dairy-laden dishes, giving us a reason to eat cheesecake for breakfast.
Notes: Blintzes can be made in advance. You can make the crepes up to three days ahead of time and stack between pieces of wax or parchment paper. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. When you are ready to assemble, remove from the fridge and follow the directions below to make the filling and roll.
For the crepes:
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs, plus more for serving
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, for cooking
For the filling:
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
For the strawberry compote:
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp water
- To make the crepes: In a blender, combine the flour, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, eggs, milk, vanilla, and oil until smooth. Let sit for 20-30 minutes or covered in the fridge overnight.
- Lightly grease a 9-inch nonstick fry pan with butter over medium heat.
- Pour ¼ cup of the batter into the center of the pan and swirl the pan to evenly coat.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the top is fully dry. Flip, and cook for an additional minute. Set aside and repeat with the remaining batter.
- To make the filling: Combine the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, egg yolk, lemon zest, vanilla and powdered sugar until smooth.
- To make the strawberry compote: Combine strawberries, lemon juice, sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the strawberries have broken down. Set aside.
- Lay one crepe on a work surface and place 2 Tbsp of the filling in the bottom third of the crepe. Fold bottom edge over top of the cheese filling. Fold the sides towards the center. Roll as if you are rolling a burrito, tucking the edges in as you go.
- Heat the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Carefully place the blintzes, seam side down into the pan, cooking for 2-3 minutes, or until golden and crispy, flip, and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Serve blintzes warm with strawberry compote.