In the book, Smart Mama, Smart Money, I sing my mom’s praises for her humor, kindness and great cooking. She always had something on the stove or in the oven. We would help her in the kitchen stuffing artichokes, shelling peas for soup, swirling cinnamon and chocolate through coffee cake. Like little puppies waiting for scraps, we especially loved being underfoot as she made blintzes. As she fiddled with getting the blintz bletlach to the right consistency and keeping the fry pans properly heated, we’d happily snarf down batter that didn’t cook right. Then we’d help her fill and roll the blintzes.
This recipe is from her mother who taught her how to make the lightest, fluffiest and most delicious blintzes I’ve ever eaten. When I wrote Smart Mamas’ Guide to Afterschool Activities I had in mind cooking with my mom as one of the wonderful ‘homey’ activities that has gotten lost in the drive to organized-for-pay enrichment programs for kids. I’ve taught my own daughters how to make this and can’t think of a greater gift than passing on this family tradition.
Be patient. Blintz making is more art than science and you’ll need to experiment to get the bletlach (crepe like pancakes) and filling to your liking. While we usually make cheese blintzes, in summer-time we go blueberry and strawberry picking and fill them with fresh fruit. As kids we would eat them with sour cream and sugar. Today we use non-fat plain greek yogurt– and skip the sugar.
2 2/3 cups flour
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 -3 c water
In a mixer fitted with the whisk, mix together the bletlach ingredients until blended. Strain through a fine sieve to remove the remaining lumps of flour.
Heat a small teflon frypan on the stove. (Once you get the hang of making them, you’ll want two pans going at a time to speed up the process.) Place bowl with batter next to the pan, use a small ladle or measuring cup and pour just enough to coat the fry pans and pour the excess batter into a third bowl. Lightly butter the pan (just for the first one or two bletlach). Use a low to medium low heat and cook until the bletlach is done (see photos) and turn out onto a clean dish towel. Stack as finished. The hard part is keeping the fry pan at the right temperature and you may need to keep adjusting the heat to evenly cook the batter. I find that every 6th or 7th blintz bletlach doesn’t cook quite right (my mom was surely happy we were there to eat these castoffs), and need to clean off the pans with a dry paper towel and adjust the heat. Use up the first bowl of batter and then re-use the batter from the bowl you’ve been pouring the excess from the fry pans into. You’ll need to add water to this batter as it will have thickened.
3/4 lb farmers cheese
1/2 lb cream cheese
In a mixer on high, whip the cheeses, salt and eggs. If you like you can add a tablespoon or two of sugar. (I skip the sugar and if there are those with a sweet tooth in the room, I’ll offer sugar to top them after the blintze is cooked in the pan.)
Heat fry pan to medium and add just enough butter to help the blintze get a nice golden brown crust. Cook until the cheese filling oozes.