Shavuot is a time for many things. It’s an all night study-a-thon, reading of the Book of Ruth, a serious look at the Jews’ covenant and the Torah, but to me, it’s all about the midnight buffet. The Kabbalist movement’s effects on Judaism cannot be overstated.
Since the 16th century, the all-nighter has been on the menu at most synagogues and often, hopefully, they serve a wonderful dinner around midnight. Yes, it’s filled with dairy and sweet treats aplenty. But I don’t serve only sweet things. I love serving savory surprises. Yes, studying all night is both enervating and energizing, and the study itself should keep you revived. But honestly, a meal with a cup of something with way too much caffeine and a plate full of fresh food is a respite for body and brain.
Eating, noshing, dining—whatever you call it—paired with studying and learning and, of course, elevated by camaraderie, laughing and talking—it’s a scholarly night worthy of some great food.
These blintzes are a nice change of pace from the fruit or sweet-cheese-filled versions. The filling is Balkan influenced and a bit spunky. These are best served with a fat dollop of cold sour cream or tart yogurt and sprinkling of fresh dill.
This batter needs to rest for 30 minutes before you can fry it. As written, the recipe offers a way to use the resting time by roasting the veggies that will go in the filling. However, you can also prepare the blintzes ahead of time and keep them, unfilled, in the fridge for up to 2 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month. If you freeze them, you can roast the veggies just before you assemble the blintzes.
Kirmizi pepper is a mixture of sweet and hot peppers that have been crushed, salted, dried, ground to flakes and then coated with olive oil and roasted. The mixture originated in Turkey. The flavor is a combination of fiery heat, salt, and sweetness.
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For the blintzes:
¾ cup (125 grams) unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup plus 3 Tbsp milk
½ stick (57 grams/¼ cup/4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 Tbsp olive oil
For the filling:
6 small zucchini (about 2 pounds), cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 bunch scallions, garlic scapes or ramps
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 bunch dill fronds only, minced (about ⅔ cup)
¼ tsp kirmizi pepper (optional)
1 (7.5 ounce) package farmer cheese, at room temperature
½ pound feta cheese, at room temperature
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp sour cream or crème fraîche
Zest of 2 lemons
3 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
½ bunch dill (about 1.5 ounces), fronds only, minced (about ⅓ cup)
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the garnish:
Sour cream or plain yogurt
Fresh dill leaves, finely chopped
To make the blintzes: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place a sheet of parchment paper onto a work surface and sift the flour, sugar, and salt onto it. Set aside.
Combine the eggs, milk, and 3 tablespoons of the melted butter in a blender. Cover and blend until just combined.
Add the flour mixture and blend at high speed for 15 to 20 seconds, until well combined, with no lumps. Pour the mixture into an airtight container and let rest for 30 minutes (see Kitchen Tips).
While the dough is resting, place the zucchini, scallions, oil, salt, smoked paprika, dill and kirmizi pepper, if using, in a mixing bowl and toss to coat. Place the zucchini on a baking sheet. Roast the zucchini for 10 minutes. Turn the zucchini, move it to one side of the baking sheet and place the scallions next to them. Roast both zucchini and scallions for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Meanwhile, prepare 14 (8- or 9-inch) square sheets of parchment paper. Position a baking sheet or platter next to the stovetop. Place 1 sheet of parchment on the baking sheet or platter and pile the rest next to it.
When the batter has rested, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the oil in a 7- or 8-inch nonstick crepe or omelet pan over medium heat. Swirl the pan to coat and pour out any excess fat into a small bowl. Reserve the bowl and its contents. Then, with a ladle or measuring cup, pour 3 to 4 tablespoons batter into the center of the pan. Immediately pick up the pan and swirl it around so the batter thinly coats the bottom. Pour off any excess. Return the pan to the heat, and cook for about 45 seconds, until lightly browned (use a spatula to check a corner). Carefully turn over and cook the other side for about 15 seconds.
Transfer the blintz to the parchment on the baking sheet or platter and cover with another piece of the parchment paper. Continue making the blintzes, stacking them one on top of the other, separated with parchment paper. After 3 or 4 blintzes you might want to coat the pan with a little of the reserved butter and oil again. (At this point, you can assemble the blintzes or wrap them in plastic with parchment between each layer and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze them for up to 1 month.)
To assemble the blintzes: Combine the farmer cheese, feta cheese, egg yolks, sour cream or crème fraîche, lemon zest, garlic, dill, and pepper and mix well. Add the zucchini and scallion mixture and mix until combined.
Fill the blintzes: Place a blintz on a piece of parchment paper. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the zucchini and cheese filling along the edge nearest to you. Fold the right side in about one-third of the way, partially covering the filling. Then fold the left side in about one-third of the way, again partially covering the filling. One-third of the filling will be visible in the middle. Carefully roll up the blintz, rolling it away from you, lifting the “packet” of filling as you go. Repeat with the remaining blintzes and filling to make a total of 14.
Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and remove the pan from the heat to allow it to melt without burning. As soon as it bubbles, return it to the heat. Gently place 2 stuffed and rolled blintzes into it and cook until the bottoms are a toasted light brown; then carefully turn over and cook until the other side is light brown. Repeat with the remaining blintzes.
Serve immediately with sour cream or plain yogurt and lots of fresh dill.