I have 404 posts in my drafts folder. (Coincidence that 404 is an error code?) Among them, I’ve had blintzes at the ready to make since June 1, 2009. I’ve loved them since we lived in Toronto in grade 1, close to a Jewish deli, and upon moving to Calgary (which was not the culinary hotspot it is today on the cusp of the 80s let me tell you) my 7 year old self had a hard time finding a proper bagel and decent blintz. Fast forward a few decades I was not so gently urged to stop talking about them and MAKE SOME ALREADY.
The ones I had planned to make – being as it was June back when I first started making notes on the subject – were strawberry-rhubarb blintzes with mascarpone. Since it’s now the dead of winter almost 5 years later (!!) I decided to default to cherries, which are more typical, and easy to find in the frozen fruit section these days. I finally stopped in at a teeny Russian deli I’ve been meaning to check out for what turned out to be about a decade, and found thefreezer was stocked with sour cherries, and the fridge had crumbly farmers’ cheese, which is like ricotta, pressed dry, and tubs of 20% butterfat sour cream. But if you don’t have a little Russian deli to visit, plain old sour cream and ricotta will do the trick just fine. And I plan to take another go at these with half ricotta, half mascarpone. For research purposes, you understand.
My computer is being temperamental and not letting me see my photos, quite possibly because there are eighteenhundredthousand unsorted files in there, so I’m leaving you with one and hoping it speaks loudly for itself. It’s worth a thousand words, right?
Cherry Cheese Blintzes
1 1/4 cups milk
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp. canola oil
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. sugar
2 cups farmers’ cheese or ricotta
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream, crème fraîche or mascarpone
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups fresh or frozen pitted sour cherries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cornstarch (optional)
butter, for cooking
To make the crêpe better, put the milk, eggs, oil, flour, sugar and salt in a blender and pulse until well-blended and smooth (scrape down the sides once or twice) and let sit for 20-30 minutes. It should have the consistency of heavy cream.
To make the filling, stir together the farmers’ cheese, sour cream, egg, sugar and vanilla. To make the sauce, bring the cherries, sugar and water to a simmer in a medium saucepan; cook until the cherries collapse. If you’d like it thicker, stir the cornstarch into a tablespoon of cold water; add to the cherry mixture and bring to a boil. Cook for 4-5 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
To make the crêpes, set a medium skillet (I like my well-seasoned cast iron skillet) over medium-high heat and drizzle with oil or spray with nonstick spray. Consider the first a practice; pour a few tablespoons’ worth of batter into the pan and quickly swirl it to coat the bottom – or make an even circle. Cook until the edge starts to curl from the pan and it’s golden on the bottom – at this point it will be easy to slide a thin heatproof spatula under the edge and flip the crêpe. Cook for another minute, until golden on the other side. Repeat with the remaining batter. (The crêpes can be made a day ahead; keep covered with plastic.
Filling a blintz is like filling a burrito: place a crêpe on your work surface and put about 1/4 cup filling in a strip down the middle, leaving about an inch at each end. Fold one long side over to enclose the filling; fold each short end over, then flip the whole thing over to close. Fill all the crêpes and set aside (or refrigerate for up to a day).
When you’re ready to cook your blintzes, heat a good-sized pat of butter in your skillet set over medium-high heat. Cook a few at a time, without crowding the pan, until browned and crisp on both sides. Serve warm, with cherry compote on top.
Makes 8-10 blintzes.