Submitted by Bonnie Benwick, reprinted with permission from The Washington Post. In 2010, I had the honor of observing an 86-year-old great-grandmother Shirley Greenberg make these blintzes with three generations of her family’s cooks joining her for the effort. Blintzes were already on my top-five foods list, but the experience of watching them work in concert—recipe from memory, hands rolling tender cylinders—made me swoon with new appreciation.
From the original Washington Post recipe write-up: This recipe almost demands at least two pairs of hands: one for making the blini and one for filling and rolling them while they are still warm. Silver Spring resident Shirley Greenberg fills her blintzes with a traditional cheese mixture or with a potato-onion mixture. For convenience, she now uses dehydrated potato flakes, but you can substitute with 8 to 10 medium russets instead. Each of the filling recipes will make about 48 blintzes; it’s easy to whip up extra batter. And if you have any leftover blini, you can use canned pie filling to fill them.
Make Ahead: The fillings can be made a day in advance, covered and refrigerated. The filled blintzes can be frozen on a baking sheet, then transferred to freezer-safe plastic food storage bags and frozen for up to 1 month.
- Cheese Filling
- 7½ ounces farmer cheese, such as Friendship brand
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 pound pot-style cottage cheese, such as Friendship brand (may substitute dry, small-curd cottage cheese or ricotta cheese)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Ground cinnamon
- Potato Filling
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 5 cups cooked potatoes (see NOTE)
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup low-fat or nonfat milk
- 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1½ cups flour
- Butter or margarine, for the skillet
- For the cheese filling: Combine the cheeses, egg, lemon juice to taste and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Mix well, taste and season with sugar (start with a tablespoon for a slightly sweet filling) and cinnamon as desired. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- For the potato filling: Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is softened. Remove from the heat. Prepare the potatoes using either method (see NOTE). Transfer to a mixing bowl; add the cream cheese and cooked onion. Stir to incorporate, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover until ready to use.
- For the blini: Combine the eggs, milk, buttermilk, salt, oil and flour in a blender. Puree to form a smooth batter, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender jar as needed to make sure all the flour is incorporated. The batter should be smooth and fairly thin. Transfer to a bowl.
- Lay a clean dishtowel near the stovetop. Have 2 small (6-inch) skillets or crepe pans at hand, preferably with thin walls. Coat the inside with a thin film of butter or margarine and place over medium heat.
- When the skillets or pans are hot, use a ¼-cup measure to scoop about 3 tablespoons of the batter into a skillet; tilt so a thin, even layer of batter covers the inside bottom; let any excess drip back into the batter bowl. Cook for about 30 seconds, or just until the edges look dry and have a few bubbles. The blini will have a matte finish. Use a round-edged knife or spatula to loosen the edges of the blini.
- Remove from the heat; invert the skillet or pan over the dish towel and rap it sharply that will let the blini fall onto the towel. (The blini may have a slight tail from where the excess was poured; this will help in the rolling.)
- Use a little butter or margarine to grease the skillet or pan, then return to medium heat. Repeat with the batter. Once you establish a rhythm, cook in both pans so that one blini is ready just as you have started another one. (After about 10 blini, you may not need to keep re-greasing the skillets or pans. When ready to assemble, lay a piece of wax paper on the work surface. Have a rimmed baking sheet at hand, the bowl(s) of filling at hand and the just-cooked blini at hand.
- Place a heaping tablespoon of the filling on the blini near the edge that is closest to you. (If the blini has a tail, position it so it is the first flap to roll over the filling.) Roll forward, tucking in the sides as you go. Place on the baking sheet seam side down. Repeat to use all the blini, using plastic wrap or aluminum foil to create layers as needed.
- Freeze until firm, then transfer to freezer-safe resealable plastic food storage bags.
- To reheat, the blintzes can go straight into the pan or they can be transferred to the refrigerator to defrost overnight. Lightly grease a large saut´´ pan with butter or margarine and place over medium heat. Add 5 or 6 blintzes and cook for a few minutes until lightly browned on one side, then turn them over and cook until lightly browned on the second side and the filling is pliable inside.
- Serve warm, with sour cream on the side.
- NOTE: For the potato filling using dehydrated flakes, bring 4 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of margarine and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low; stir in ½ cup milk and 2¾ cups of dehydrated potato flakes until well combined. Cover and remove from the heat; let sit for 5 minutes. Proceed with the remaining filling ingredients.
- If using russet potatoes, peel 8 to 10 medium ones and cut into large chunks. Cover with several inches of water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until tender; drain and cool slightly. Mash them together with ½ cup milk, 2 tablespoons of margarine and 1 teaspoon of salt. Proceed with the remaining filling ingredients.