Tuesday, September 6, 2011

ABC - Quintessential Cheese Blintzes

Sweet cheese-filled Blintzes on homemade red fruit preserves

For this month's ABC baking project, I asked Toni of Big Smiles and Bigger Hips to select a recipe for us, and she chose the Quintessential Cheese Blintzes. I "met" Toni through the Heavenly Cake Bakers and was very happy when she decided to join ABC. One of the things I like about Toni is her honest feedback on the goodies she bakes as part of the baking group. If she doesn't like a recipe, she'll tell you :o) She also has adorable little helpers.

Blintzes (also called Blinis and a very other names) are similar to crepes with a sweet or savory filling. My (late) Russian friend, Svetlana, made Blinis for me that were filled with ground beef. That was my first (and yummy) encounter with Blinis/Blintzes. So I was very eager to try Flo Braker's sweet filling made with farmer's cheese, sugar, citrus zest, and a little salt. I substituted cream cheese for the farmer's cheese. Other substitutes that work well are ricotta cheese and small curd cottage cheese.


If you're a passionate baker and like to join the Avid Baker's Challenge club, please email me at HanaasKitchen [at] live [dot] com.
Since I was only making a 1/4 of the recipe, I made the crepe batter in the cup of my immersion blender. It took about 10 seconds to whiz everything together. After that, it went into the fridge for a few hours while I ran some errands (Flo recommends a 1-2 hour rest in the fridge).

Crepe batter, ready for the fridge

Making the crepes, is easy. My small non-stick pan was slightly smaller than 6" so I used 2 Tbsp of batter for each crepes and got nice thin crepes. A total of 6, to be exact.

I cooked my crepes on both sides (sorry Flo!)

For the filling, I used 4-6 oz of cream cheese which I had in the freezer. After thawing it out in the microwave (slowly), I added 25 grams of sugar, the zest of 1 clementine (my lemon was too sad looking for any zesting), some salt, and some vanilla. I left out the egg. I figured a 1/4 egg is not going to give me that much binding power. And since there are stabilizers in the cream cheese, I wasn't too worried about a runny filling (and I wouldn't have to worry about whether the egg inside the blintzes is fully cooked), so it's a win-win :o)

Here are some step-by-step pictures on how to fold the blintzes (it's much like folding egg rolls):






Gently fried in a little butter for a nice crust and to heat up the blintzes
Bon appetit!
 To make these yourself and learn firsthand how good they are, you can find the recipe in Flo Braker's wonderful book, Baking for all Occasions, or you can find it online here.

Final thoughts/tips:
  • I wasn't so sure hubby would like it since he's not a big cheese fan. Not surprisingly, his first comment was: "This is rich!". But he kept on eating and declared it a winner, also citing that the homemade preserves paired nicely with the blintzes. He gave it a 9 out of 10.
  • I  loved these too. The blintzes had a thin crispy outer layer, while the filling was creamy, sweet, with a nice citrus punch from the clementine zest. I served our blintzes on some homemade red fruit preserves (made with strawberries and plums) that I heated slightly. A light dusting of powdered sugar sealed the deal :o) Thanks for another winner, Flo!
  • Don't forget to check out what the other ABC bakers said about these Blintzes.

11 comments:

  1. You are up late also! Those blintzes look so good!! I've never tried making them or my own preserves. I need some ambition!!! More fun things for me to try this winter!

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  2. yummy looking Hanâa! Rich indeed but so good. I was pleasantly surprised.

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  3. Wow - gorgeous, Hanaa!! I wasn't going to make these but I might have to try it this weekend. They look delicious, especially with your homemade jam!

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  4. I have always wanted to learn how to make a blintz...we used to go to a place in college that served them and I haven't had them since, maybe after all these years it is time. Yours look wonderful. Phyl has been yacking yacking yacking about the ABC group and joining for 2012...like we all need another baking group, but I am starting to weaken and think that I might just be interested as well. Phyl is a dangerous person to know.

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  5. they look delicious! Love the folding pictures.

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  6. I haven't made crepes in forever; that needs to change! I'm with Jane, the step by step photos are great.

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  7. @BakingRibbons: Thank you! Definitely put both on your todo list. I don't think I've bought preserves from the store since I found this recipe. You can find a link to the "master recipe" in this post: http://hanaaskitchen.blogspot.com/2010/09/sms-plum-raspberry-preserves.html

    @BakingSoda: thanks!! A pleasant surprise indeed. That filling might become my goto bagel spread from now on (I left out the egg).

    @inthekitchen: oh no, don't skip these! Definitely give them a try. Make a small batch, if you have to :o)

    @Kayte: these blintzes were not only easy to make, they didn't much take time at all. I found the recipe online for you, in case you'd like to try it: http://articles.sfgate.com/1997-12-03/food/17765111_1_crepes-butter-pure-vanilla. As for Phyl, it's very nice of him to advertise the ABC club. He told me he really liked the idea of baking from one book for only 1 year and then moving on to something else. Please feel free to join us anytime you'd like.

    @Jane: thank you:o)

    @Lois: I see crepes in your near future :o) They're so easy to make and quick too. Looking forward to seeing what you fill them with, especially since you have access to real Farmer's Cheese (do they call it Tvorog in Poland?)

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  8. Your crepes looks so perfect, I love how round they look. And nice step by step photo.

    PS: congrats on the "About me" page :).

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  9. Looks very nice, Hanaâ. I bet the Russians made these with what Germans call quark - the farmers' cheese in Germany and Eastern Europe - unfortunately not available in the US (the one made in Vermont tastes odd and costs a fortune).
    In my opinion cream cheese with lemon is the best substitute, the farmer's cheese I tried in the US is not the same, and ricotta tastes entirely different, no tang, and cottage cheese is too grainy.

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  10. It was so wonderful to meet you. I really hope we see each other again. Your blog is absolutely mouth-watering.

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