Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Blinchiki S' Tvarog (Cheese blintzes)

This recipe was a childhood favorite of mine. No, scratch that- it was not. I do not know exactly how it came to be, but my Aunt Faina thought that I loved these blintzes so much, she would squeal in delight whenever I came over and she had them prepared. "Milachka! Guess what I made for you!?" In turn, I would force myself to widen my eyes and fake excitement and respond "blinchiki!" in a high pitched five-year old voice. 

I have not revealed to Faina that I have no idea why she thought I loved them so much that one time that she would insist to make them for me again and again. However, I have since matured my palate and realized that I would have to be crazy not to enjoy every cheesy, berry-popping, sweet bite. So thank you Faina for always making these for me and for sharing your delicious recipe!

The blinchiki are fairly easy to prepare, just time consuming. However, I consider any recipe that is time consuming to be therapeutic. This one in particular required me to stand over a stove for about 45 minutes swirling my wrist so that the batter coated the pan evenly in a paper-thin layer. One at a time, each crepe was stacked, filling the room with the smell of sweetness. All was quite except for the sizzling and whistling of the blinchik forming over the hot heat.

Now, the only place that one can find the Farmer's Cheese required for the filling (according to my mom and Faina) is the Russian store. Once in a while, you can find a brand name farmer's cheese at the local grocery store, but the real stuff needs to come from Ruskis!

Never having been the expert burrito roller or wrap maker, I knew I'd be faced with a challenge when attempting to roll the blintz. Fold the sides in and roll. Sounds easy enough? 

I rolled and fixed and tucked and folded in an attempt to create the perfect blintz. But realized after a few tries, they need not look flawless, for their taste will make up for any untucked edge.

Blintzes with cheese and blueberries (makes about 20 crepes, 12 blintzes)
Adapted from Faina's original recipe

Blintz batter:
1 cup flour
2 cups milk
3 eggs
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tspn salt
2-3 tbsp oil

1 container farmer's cheese 
1 egg (optional)
1 cup Sugar (or more according to taste)
1 pint blueberries


For the crepe:
1. Whisk together flour, sugar, salt. Slowly add milk while whisking. Add eggs and oil and mix very well until no lumps remain
2. Heat a little bit of vegetable oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat (just enough to coat the pan; use towel to take some out if necessary)
3. Lower the heat and with a laddle, pour 1/4 cup of batter into the pan
4. Swirl batter around so it forms a thin layer over the entire pan
5. Loosen the edges of the crepe and flip
6. Heat other side until cooked through
7. Allow to cool before filling

For the blintz:
1. Mix together all ingredients for the filling
2. Take about 2 tbsp of filling and place in the center of each crepe
3. Tuck in edges and roll