I knew by the floury, eggy smell when I whisked the crepe batter that this was really my mother's blintz recipe that I was making. The smooth, bland and very thin mixture was made from just water, flour, and an egg -- as called for in the recipe that you can see at left, in my mother's handwriting. (Click on the picture to see a larger image.)
I've had this recipe for many years, but for some reason, I have never tried making blintzes until today; I've watched my sister do it (pictures here: Blintzes), but never have made them on my own.
On Tuesday, a friend invited me to watch as another friend of hers made a large batch of blintzes in anticipation of the Jewish holiday Shevouth, which is in a couple of weeks. (They planned to freeze the blintzes until that date.) The recipe was different in several ways from my mother's recipe, as the friend uses a French crepe recipe with milk in the batter. When I finished watching (and helping a bit to make the crepes), I decided that I finally had to do it.
Today I started at the grocery store, where I was able to buy the only difficult-to-find ingredient: Farmer's Cheese, which is a sort of dry cottage cheese. The other ingredients are mainly pantry/refrigerator staples: flour, eggs, oil, sugar, cream cheese, sour cream.
My mother had no electric appliances such as food processors or blenders, so she beat the batter with an egg beater and blended the filling with a wooden spoon. I preserved this tradition, making the batter with a wire whisk, and making the filling with a wooden spoon.
My mother used Crisco for greasing the pan, which in her case was a small, well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. I admit that I used a no-stick frying pan greased with a bit of butter to make the crepes. My mother called these very thin skins bletlech, their Yiddish name, which I guess means little leaves. I tried to make thin ones by tilting the pan as I poured in the batter. I think my mother and sister could make them thinner -- I need practice. Usually, you only cook one side, because you fry them again after filling them and folding them "like envelopes" -- says my mother's recipe.
Here are my bletlech, with a blob of filling, ready to fold:
Here are the finished blintzes, after I fried them in more butter: