Crepes, those paper thin French inspired pancakes are wonderful but add a bit of cheese and your pancakes are now blintzes. These blintzes are inspired by a recipe from my father-in-law. My blintzes use a combination of cottage cheese and fresh ricotta cheese–I prefer homemade which is super easy to make but you can also use store bought.
Cooking the perfect crepe takes practice and skill but once you’ve mastered the technique you will be able to cook up batches of perfectly thin crepes in no time. I’ve found that the trick is to have a hot, well oiled crepe pan and use a scant 1/4 cup of batter for each crepe. Any more and the pancakes will be too thick. Once you have ladled the batter in the pan, quickly swirl it around to for a thin layer over the entire surface. When the outer edges curl a bit and turn crisp the crepe is ready to flip. The technique can be perfected with just one or two crepes.
The blintzes keep well frozen for several weeks so when I make them I double the recipe and keep a stash in the freezer for last minute meals. My husband grew up eating these blintzes for dinner and we continue with this tradition in our house as well. But we also eat them topped with fresh fruit for brunch or even a rich chocolate sauce as a dessert. They are so versatile and just so good.
For the crepes:
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup cold water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
For the cheese filling:
1 1/2 cups small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter, for frying
For the crepes:
- Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl until well blended.
- Add the milk, water and the melted butter.
- Add the salt to the flour and sift into the batter, stirring well to until incorporate.
- Cover and allow the batter to sit for at least 3 hours before proceeding.
- Stir the batter well to reincorporate the ingredients before cooking.
- When ready to make the crepes, heat an 8 inch crepe pan over medium heat.
- Lightly coat the pan with non-stick cooking spray then add a scant 1/4 cup of batter to the center of the pan.
- Immediately swirl it around the pan to create a thin coating over the entire bottom of the skillet.
- Cook for 60 to 90 seconds then use a thin metal spatula to loosen the crepe around the edges.
- Flip the crepe over and cook for an additional minute or two, until the crepe just begins to turn a pale golden brown.
- Slide the crepe to a plate and repeat until all of the batter has been used.
For the Cheese Filling
- Combine the cottage and ricotta cheeses in a small bowl.
- Lightly beat the egg in a separate bowl then add into the cheese mixture, stirring well until incorporated.
- Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest. Set aside until ready to proceed.
To make the blintzes:
- Place a crepe on a flat surface.
- Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture into the center of each crepe. Fold both sides of the crepe towards the center then fold the bottom up towards the middle followed by the top.
- Place the crepe seam side down on a plate. At this point the crepes can be wrapped tightly and refrigerated for up to one day until you are ready to serve them.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet set over medium heat.
- Working in batches if necessary, place the crepes seam side down in the melted butter. Fry for 3-4 minutes per side until they are golden brown and the cheese is heated through.
Yields 16 crepes