Don’t be afraid. I know, I know. Blintzes—those are made with crepes, right? And crepes are terrifying to make, right? They rip and burn and act all fussy, and who has time to it in front of the stove and babysit that type of food anyhow? Well, sorry, but no. I mean, yes, blintzes are made of crepes, but whatever fears you may have about crepes need to be shown to the door right now. Crepes are not to be feared.
Truth be told, I think that crepes are not fussy at all, and don’t need to be treated as such, if done right. With a rock-solid recipe for your batter and a nicely buttered pan, you can’t go wrong with making crepes. And if you think they take a lot of time, you’re mistaken. Yes, you have to deal with them on the stove, but with each crepe only taking about a minute to cook—and only on one side, my friends, which means no flipping involved—I’d go do far as to say that crepes are easier to cook then pancakes. Yes, I know, then you need to stuff the crepes. But, look, if you know how to fold a piece of paper (and I am not talking origami folding here, I am talking stuff-a-grocery-list-in-your-pocket style folding), you know how to fold a crepe. I promise you, there is nothing to fear. Plus, with results so delicious, I can’t imagine that any lingering doubts you may have about crepes or blintzes would stick around after your first bite of one of these babies. No, really. They are good enough to erase fear.
It is not often that I look at a food and the most distinctive adjective I can come up with to describe its appearance “cheery,” but that is exactly what happened when I took a look at a plate of these delicious crepes wrapped around a soft pink filling of raspberries, ricotta, and cream cheese. These blintzes, with their brunch-eaten-outside vibe and touches of fresh fruit, made me think of spring, and when enveloped in the sort of grayness that we in the PNW experience throughout the plodding months of the winter and beyond, a tasty little hint of spring is an especially cheery sight to behold.
Last Year: Esquire Pancakes–apparently the end of March makes me think of pancakes and the like.
Raspberry Cheese Blintzes
¼ cup cream cheese, at room temperature
¾ cup ricotta cheese
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
½ cup fresh raspberries
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 cup sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
4 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
To make the cheese filling, combine cheeses, lemon zest, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Whisk thoroughly to combine, until the filling is light and fluffy. Using your hands, break apart the raspberries over the filling, then fold the berries into the mixture.
To make the crepe batter, in a blender, combine milk and eggs, then blend until just combined. Add flour and salt, then blend until smooth, stopping the blender and scraping down the sides if necessary.
Heat an 8-inch or 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add a teaspoon or so of butter to the pan, or just enough butter to coat the bottom of the pan. When the butter has melted pour about 2 tablespoons of batter into the pan, then tilt the pan to coat the bottom as much as possible. Cook the crepe on one side only, until the edges appear dry, about 1 minute. Slide the crepe onto a plate, or remove it to a plate using a flexible spatula. Repeat until all the batter has been used, stacking the finished crepes on top of one another, and adding butter to the pan as needed. Depending on how judiciously you doled out the batter, you’ll end up with anywhere from 9 to 12 crepes.
To make the blintzes, place a heaping tablespoon of the cheese and raspberry mixture onto the center of a crepe. Fold in the sides, then the ends, to encase the cheese and form the crepe into a square.
Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium to large skillet over medium-high heat. As you wrap each blintz, place it in the pan, seam side down, and cook, turning over once, until the blintzes are golden brown on both sides. The blintzes should only take a maximum of about 3 minutes total to finish cooking.
You can serve these blintzes hot, warm, or cold. If you want to make them ahead of time, you can place the fully-cooked then cooled blintzes in the refrigerator overnight (wrapped in airtight plastic), then either reheat them in a pan the next morning using the same skillet-browning method as before, or serve them cold, which I sort of prefer. Serve with extra raspberries, and, if you wish, a small dollop of whipped cream, sour cream, or crème fraiche.