Monday, April 19, 2010

rhubarb-cheese blintzes

So that roasted rhubarb recipe I was raving about? It yields a lot. Even when you greedily consume a ton of it, you still might find yourself with a container of leftovers. Which is a good thing! Especially the next morning, when the flavors have spent enough time together that they've become more heightened and delicious.

Here's what you should make: rhubarb blintzes. Thin crepes filled with sweetened ricotta cheese and topped with roasted rhubarb and a little powdered sugar. These blintzes are so darn pretty you will feel immensely proud of making them, especially if you're making them for friends who have come over for brunch. (Or just for yourself, in your rattiest pajamas.)

Don't be afraid of flipping blintzes. They are more forgiving than you'd think, especially after the first go of it. The key is to keep your pan oiled, even if it's nonstick. And don't overload the pan with lots of batter. The Joy of Cooking recommends only two to three tablespoons of batter per blintz. Also be sure to keep a plate and dish or paper towel handy to keep them covered and warm.

While I've railed against making pancakes when you're having people over for brunch, blintzes are an exception to this rule because they can be made in advance and stored overnight in the refrigerator. Just layer them between sheets of wax paper on a plate covered in clear plastic wrap. Then, when people come over, you can reheat the blintzes in a pan, fill them with cheese, and top them with the rhubarb mixture. Serve. Bask in compliments.

Sweet cheese blintzes
(Makes 8 blintzes, serves 4 people)

Blintz batter:
1 cup flour
1 cups milk
3 large eggs
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. sugar
Pinch salt
Butter for cooking the blintzes

Cheese filling:
10 oz. farmer's cheese, ricotta, or drained small-curd cottage cheese
2 ounces cream cheese
1 egg
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
zest of 1/2 orange or lemon (optional)

Roasted rhubarb, about 1 cup or so

To make the blintz batter:
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth. Or, mix them together by hand in a large bowl until smooth. Refrigerate the batter for 30 minutes or up to two days, which allows the flour to absorb the liquid and gives the gluten a chance to relax.

To make the blintzes:
Place a nonstick or seasoned crepe pan or saute pan over medium heat. Coat the pan with a little butter. Stir the batter and pout 2 1/2 to 3 Tbsp. into the pan, lifting the pan off the heat and tilting and rotating it so the batter forms an even layer. Cook until the top is dry and set and the underside is golden and starting to curl up. Remove to a plate or piece of wax paper. Continue cooking the rest of the blintzes, buttering the pan and stirring the batter before each one. Use as soon as they are cool enough to roll.

To make the filling and fill the blintzes:
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth. Or, mix them together by hand in a large bowl until smooth. Spoon the filling in the center of one uncooked blintz. Fold the sides around to form a rectangular package. In a large skillet, melt 2 Tbsp. butter. Add the blintz, seam side down and cook until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to a paper towel to drain, and then to a plate. Top with rhubarb and powdered sugar.

(Or, to make the nontraditional, heathen, rolled version that you see in the photos, spoon the cheese filling onto one side of the blintz, then roll it into a crepe-like shape. Carefully brown the blintz in the buttered pan on both sides. Let drain on paper towel, place on a plate, then top with rhubarb.)


Daniel said...

What makes a blintz different from a pancake?

Unknown said...

Blintz time. I've always liked the look (and taste of them) but haven't tried to make them myself. I love the idea of combining them with rhubarb.

Lisa said...

Daniel: A blintz is much thinner and is filled with cheese, similar to a crepe.

Tender Branson: Do you guys have TooJay's restaurants in your part of Florida? I loove their cherry-topped blintzes.


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