Cheese Blintzes with Berry Jam
Blintzes can be filled with a sweet or savory filling. Here, farmer and ricotta cheeses are mixed with a little sugar and lemon zest to create a smooth, creamy filling with just a hint of sweetness. If you decide to create your own filling, make sure that it does not contain too much liquid, which will make the blintzes soggy.
For the blintzes:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted, plus 2 Tbs. butter, softened
For the berry jam:
- 2 tsp. cornstarch, dissolved in 3 Tbs. water
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup blackberries
- 1 cup raspberries
- 3 Tbs. sugar
- One 3-inch cinnamon stick
For the filling:
- 1 cup farmer cheese
- 1 cup whole-milk or part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2 Tbs. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. grated lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 tsp. unsalted butter
- Blueberries and raspberries for garnish
To make the blintz batter by hand, in a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the eggs, milk and water, and whisk until smooth and blended. Add the 3 Tbs. melted butter and whisk until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
To make the blintz batter with a food processor, combine the flour and salt in the processor. Add the eggs, milk and water and process until smooth and blended, about 10 seconds. Add the 3 Tbs. melted butter and process until smooth, about 4 seconds. Pour into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the berry jam: In a nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, combine the dissolved cornstarch, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, sugar and cinnamon stick. Bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring gently, until the jam thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook at a gentle simmer for 3 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a simmer. Uncover and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Serve the jam warm, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Warm over low heat before serving.
To cook the blintzes, place a 9-inch fry pan with low, sloping sides over medium heat and heat until hot enough for a drop of water to sizzle and then immediately evaporate. Brush with about 1/2 tsp. of the softened butter. For each blintz, ladle about 1/4 cup batter into the center of the pan, tilting the pan so the batter forms a thin layer on the bottom. Cook until the edges begin to brown and the top of the blintz is set, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Using a wide spatula, carefully turn the blintz over and cook for about 1 minute more.
Turn the blintz out onto a plate. Repeat with the remaining butter and batter. Stack the blintzes on a plate, putting a piece of wax paper between each. You will have at least 12 blintzes. The blintzes can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
To make the filling, in a large bowl, combine the farmer and ricotta cheeses, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla and stir until blended.
Spread about 2 Tbs. of the cheese filling in the center of each blintz. Fold the sides over the filling, then fold in the ends to enclose the filling completely and form a rectangle.
In a large fry pan over medium heat, melt 2 tsp. of the butter. When the butter just begins to sizzle, add half of the blintzes, seam side down, and fry until browned, about 2 minutes. Repeat with the remaining butter and blintzes. Serve hot with the jam and berries on top. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch, by Georgeanne Brennan, Elinor Klivans, Jordan Mackay and Charles Pierce (Oxmoor House, 2007).