Wednesday, December 8, 2010


This past January my friend Amy Rudnick and her then 12-year old daughter Maizy Hillman provided a "blintz seminar" for me and our friend Rean Zurofsky.  Neither of us knew how to make them and both of us thought the time had come for us to learn.  We spent an enjoyable morning in their kitchen, and then ate the blintzes with suitable accompaniments for lunch.  Our textbook was Ben Hillman's underground classic "The Devil Ate My Blintzes."  The book's back cover boasts his grandmother Goldie's blintz recipe.

Months went by and nary a blintz did I make.  But on the off-chance that I'd instruct my grandchildren on blintz making when they visit in late December, I decided to make the crepe just to see if I could remember how Amy and Maizy did it.  As happens all too often with my cooking experiences, I didn't remember so the crepes were too fat.  But Joan Nathan's book on Jewish cooking saved the day--she recommends using a "half ladle" of batter per crepe.  That led to exactly the right texture.  So here's Ben's Grandma Goldie's recipe with the addendum of using a half-ladle worth of batter. By the way, Ben recorded his grandmother reading the recipe, which is why it reads so beautifully.

2 cups of milk
A cup and a half flour
Three eggs.
And if you have a blender…a blender
A pound of pot cheese or a pound of farmer cheese
Salt or pepper
An egg
You put your eggs and your milk in the blender; you blend that, and then you put your flour in gradually.  And, if you like salt, you can add a little salt.
You take a frying pan and you take a piece of paper towel.  You wet the towel with oil and wipe the pan—don’t make it too wet.
Make the pan warm and then your pour in your batter.  Swish it around and pour it back whatever’s extra.  You keep it on the fire for about a minute.  You see…you judge… then it’s finished, you turn your pan over a big plate and the pancake falls out.  How do you know when it’s done?  That you get with experience.  Then you do it again until your batter is used up.
For the filling, you take a pound of cheese.  You put an egg in it and you mash it up.  Pepper and salt is optional.  Then you put a tablespoon or more of the filling into the pancake.  You fold it over a little bit this way and a little bit that way…Then you roll it up.
(diagram showing a pancake with a spoonful of cheese mixture in the middle.  Fold from bottom, then right side, then left side, finishing with top so that it’s all wrapped up)
You put the oil in the frying pan—enough to fry the blintzes.  You put your blintzes in and you fry it and turn it over until one side is brown and the other side is brown.
Then you take it out and eat it!
But wait!  There's yet another blintz recipe from the Hillman-Rudnick household.  Several months ago Amy brought a blintz casserole (not kidding) to a "break fast" dinner at Rena's.  Amy's mother used to make it in a pink casserole, a la early 1950's, which Amy now uses when she makes this dish.

This is not a recipe you'll turn to often, but when the occasion calls for something really really rich and really really delicious and really really old-fashioned, this is what you'll make.  And enjoy.

Blintz Souffle

8 frozen cheese blintzes cut in half
1/4 lb butter melted
6 eggs, beaten
1 pint sour cream
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla

Grease a deep casserole dish with some of the melted butter. Place the blintzes in the casserole and put the remaining butter over them. Beat together the remaining ingredients and put on top. Bake uncovered in a 350 oven for 1 hour.

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