Golden brown and delicate, the blintzes from JBF America's Classics Award–winning restaurant Barney Greengrass are filled with lightly sweetened farmer cheese, a pot cheese with a soft but crumbly consistency that’s often used in eastern European cooking. If you can’t find farmer cheese in a store, you can make your own by pressing cottage cheese in cheesecloth overnight to remove the moisture. Ricotta or fromage blanc can also be substituted. Both the crêpes and the filled blintzes can be made ahead of time; just cover and chill overnight or freeze for up to one month. If frying the blintzes from frozen, do not thaw before cooking.
4 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted, for frying
1 pound farmer cheese
½ cup sugar
1 extra-large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Sour cream, for serving (optional)
Fruit preserves, for serving (optional)
To make the crêpes: Combine the eggs, flour, ½ cup water, the milk, and the salt in a medium bowl and whisk until foamy. Cover and transfer to the refrigerator and let rest for 6 hours or overnight. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before using to bring to room temperature.
Heat an 8-inch crêpe pan or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and lightly brush with some of the melted butter. (Reserve the remaining melted butter for frying the blintzes.) Pour ¼ cup of the egg mixture into the pan, swirling it around to coat the bottom evenly and pouring off any excess to leave a thin layer.
Cook for 30 to 45 seconds to let the crêpe batter set and begin to brown. Use a spatula to loosen the crêpe from the pan and flip it (you may need to use your fingers to flip the crêpe; take care when doing so to avoid burning yourself). Allow the crêpe to cook on the other side for 15 seconds more. Remove immediately and transfer to a plate. The crêpes should be lightly browned but still soft and pliable.
Repeat until all the batter is used, stacking the crêpes as you go and covering the stack of crêpes with a towel to prevent them from drying out. There should be about a dozen crêpes. If not using the crêpes right away, keep wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
To make the filling: In a large bowl, stir together the cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla.
To assemble the blintzes: Place a crêpe on a work surface. Place a heaping tablespoon of the cheese filling in the center and fold the bottom edge up to cover the filling. Fold each of the sides in toward the center, enclosing the filling, then roll the crêpe up and over, tucking the edges in, to form a blintz, leaving the seam side down. Repeat with the remaining crêpes and filling.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, brush the skillet liberally with the remaining melted butter and cook the blintzes until brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Serve with sour cream or fruit preserves.
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Makes 1 dozen blintzes