The Blintz, the Bletel, and Geopolitics

A blintz is a crepe, called a bletel (Yiddish for leaf or page) that is wrapped securely around a filling which is usually cheese. The rest depends on what part of Eastern Europe your parents came from. My mother’s parents came from Russia, where fillings were a little sweet and bletlech were thick and chewy, and you ate blintzes with powdered sugar.

My father’s parents, on the other hand, came from Hungary, where fillings were sweeter and bletlech were thin and tender. So my mother made blintzes with bletlech that were thin enough to read through (just the headlines) and filling that was just a little sweet. I make thin bletlech, too, and get my recipes from the Internet.

Blintz Filling:
1/2 lb Farmer’s or Hoop Cheese
4 oz cream cheese (if you want)
4 TB maple syrup or honey
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 egg yolk

Mix well in small bowl. Set aside until bletlech are done.

Bletlech:
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
pinch salt
1 TB oil

Mix well in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let stand for a few minutes so bubbles pop. Pour batter into smaller measuring cup. Thin batter in the cup until it is the consistency of heavy cream. The thicker the batter, the thicker the bletlech. (and the inverse)

Lightly oil and heat a 7-inch nonstick pan. Because you will be continually wiping and oiling the pan, fold up a paper towel and dip one corner in oil and keep on a small dish near the stove.

When pan is hot, pour batter onto pan, swirl around, and pour out any batter that has not made a cooked layer back into cup.. Steam will rise off bletel. When top appears dry, loosen edge of bletel with thin spatula, or, if you are lucky, you can shake bletel loose and turn onto plate, bumpy side up. Wipe pan with oily paper towel. Repeat until batter is used up. Burned or torn bletlech are great for snacking.

When all the batter is used up, turn off stove, put pan aside, get the bowl of filling and bring out a cookie sheet lined with freezer paper to freeze the blintzes on. Form blintzes by putting a heaping teaspoonful of filling near the bottom of the bletel, about 2 inches from lower edge where you should have a bulge from where you poured the batter out. Fold lower edge of bletel up to cover filling, and fold both sides in to enclose filling, and roll up blintz to complete. Put on cookie sheet seam side down. Repeat till all filling is used up. Then put cookie sheet in freezer overnight and in the morning you can put the individually frozen blintzes in ziploc bags.

If you don’t freeze blintzes right away, you will probably eat a few of the blintzes raw.

To cook, fry blintzes in oil or butter till filling is heated through and outsides are golden and crisp. Or put raw blintzes in a souffle.

About Onecakebaker

Author of a memoir called The Girl On the Wall, and working on a novel. Former Synagogue president, gardener, empty nester. Raising bees.
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