The origin of the cheese blintz is unknown and most likely lost to time. Most agree that they began in central or eastern Europe, where they have been popular for centuries in sweet and savory versions. Bletlach is the Yiddish term for “leaves” or the crepe, while blintz is the term for a filled crepe. Whatever the origin, cheese blintzes are a wonderful treat for a special breakfast, snack or dessert.
Top these with your favorite berries and serve with cherry syrup, strawberry compote or maple syrup. A dab of sour cream works well if syrups aren’t available. Cheese blintzes are easy to prepare ahead of time and can be kept in a buttered, oven-safe dish. The sauce can be prepared ahead of time as well.
By preparing the day before, this is the ultimate breakfast dish that makes you look like a champ without the back-breaking work. While blintzes can be made the same day in stages, it will take over an hour to go through all the steps, so prep the day before and enjoy morning coffee or tea with your guests.
There are any number of berry sauces or syrups you can serve with cheese blintzes. In this recipe I’m using Bing Cherry Syrup. There are other recipes in this blog like Blueberry Champagne Syrup or Strawberry Compote. While I prefer to use a fresh berry sauce, maple syrup works as well.
Cooking the Blintzes
Cooking blintzes in a pan is delicate work. When starting out, expect to break a few. It’s not the end of the world if some of the cheese filling spurts out. Once they bake in the oven, the cheese and egg sets up and becomes like a custard. Any leaks will firm up and the blintzes will still be delicious. In time, and once you’ve practiced, you will be able to make them without any leaks.
Because cooking the blintz takes some finesse, prepare everything up to the point of baking them the day before. Just be sure they are cooled completely before wrapping, otherwise the heat trapped from sauteing will cause condensation and make the blintzes soggy the next day. Keep them wrapped and chilled in the refrigerator until needed.
Cheese Blintz with Cherry Syrup
Prepare these (up to baking in the oven) the day before you serve and enjoy them with your guests, stress free.
- 3 whole eggs
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp sugar, white granulated
- 1/8 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp butter, melted
- 1 ½ cup Ricotta-drained if wet over cheesecloth and a fine mesh strainer. Use whole fat Ricotta. Low fat Ricotta is too watery.
- ½ cup cream cheese, softened You can substitute mascarpone/neufatel/farmer's cheese
- 1 whole egg, large
- 1 whole lemon, zested
- 2 tbsp sugar, confectioners or powdered
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 lb cherries, pitted
- 1/2 cup sugar, granulated or caster
- 1/2 lemon juiced or about 2 tbs
- 1 whole lemon zest peeled with pith removed
- ½ cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp kirsch (add at the end of process) optional: kirsch or kirschwasser is a cherry distilled brandy that adds pop to the syrup.
- 12 whole blackberries garnish
- ½ cup blueberries
- 12 whole raspberries garnish
- 9 whole strawberries, sliced garnish
- 2-3 mint sprigs
- 1 tsp sugar, powdered or icing sugar
- 1/2 cup cherry syrup
Mixing the batter
Add the eggs, flour, milk, water, vegetable oil, sugar, salt, vanilla and melted butter to a blender container. Mix until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined after a few seconds. Reserve. (You can make this batter the night before using it.)
Making the filling
Add the ricotta, cream cheese or mascarpone, egg, lemon zest, butter and salt to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk or mixing bowl and hand whisk. Beat the batter slowly at first to incorporate the ingredients. Slowly add speed to the whisk to make a smooth consistency.
Add cherries, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, water, cinnamon, vanilla and salt to a medium sized pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and allow to cook for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on the syrup since it will tend to foam up and will need to be stirred back down by removing from the heat and whisking occasionally.
Once the syrup has cooked for 10 minutes, remove from heat and remove the whole lemon zests and reserve. (Make sure there are no cherry pits in the sauce.) Allow the syrup to cool for 8-10 minutes. Add the syrup to a blender container and mix briefly until very smooth. Strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer back into the cooking pot. Return the lemon zest to the syrup and heat over medium heat. Reduce the syrup to desired consistency and remove the lemon zests. Stir in the kirsch and you have a delicious homemade cherry syrup.
Cooking the Crepes
Preheat oven to 325°F
Prepare a 9x13 baking dish by brushing the bottom and sides with warm butter and reserve.
Heat a 10 inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp of butter and melt while moving the butter around the skillet. Add 1/4 cup of the crepe batter and tilt and roll the skillet around to cover the bottom. The crepe will cook quickly-about 1 minute. Once the top of the crepe looks dry and the batter is no longer wet, gently remove the crepe with the help of a non stick spatula and reserve on a clean plate. Repeat the process until all of the crepe batter has been used. There should be enough batter to make 10-12, 10 inch crepes.
Once all the crepes have been made, place one crepe on a clean cutting board and add 3-4 tbsp of cheese filling about 1 inch from the edge closest to you. Roll the leading edge over the top of the cheese filling and gently tuck the cheese inside the crepe. Then fold the sides over the center and continue rolling until the crepe is a small neat package. Repeat this process until all the cheese filling has been used.
Using the same non-stick skillet used to make the crepes, add a tablespoon of butter (or vegetable spray) and melt over medium heat. Add three or four rolled blintzes to the hot butter and cook seam side down. After about 2 minutes gently turn over the crepes. They should be golden brown. Once the blintzes have cooked on both sides, add them to a pre-prepared baking dish. Repeat this process until all of the crepes have been cooked and placed into a baking dish.
Add the baking dish filled with crepes to the oven. (Be careful not to overcrowd the crepes. They should have enough room to be in the pan without touching directly.) If your pan is overcrowded, use a second pan. Place in the oven at 325°F for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Serve warm.
After the cheese blintzes have rested 5 minutes out of the oven, pour 1-2 tablespoons of cherry syrup to the bottom on the serving plate. Add 2-3 warm blintzes on top. Add cleaned berries and sprigs of fresh mint. Using a fine sieve, dust the cheese blintzes with a light covering of powdered/icing sugar.