Ballroom Blintz


So, last year I made Nalysnyky* for Orthodox Ukranian Christmas**, based on an excellent (and very forgiving!) recipe provided by Tori Avery here:

Cheese Blintzes

I made a few changes to the recipe for various reasons, and I figured I’d copy it below.

Basically, Nalysnyky and Blintzes are some sort of filling wrapped in a crêpe. I chose cottage cheese*** instead of the Ricotta and Creme cheese suggested by the original recipe. My proportions may be a little different, as well. I feel like there’s something slightly missing in the filling, but I’m not sure what it is. They were still a hit at Christmas dinner last year and this year. (Last year, S and I made ourselves sick eating them, but they were oh so tasty. 😀 ) Both last year and this year, I made a double batch. IIRC, this makes 15-18 blintzes, more than enough to satisfy 7 and leave many left over for snacks.

This is a very forgiving recipe. You mix things in a bowl, the exact proportions don’t really matter, and you can pause partway through and nothing much will go wrong (assuming nothing is actively burning in your frying pan). The first time I made them, I had long pauses between steps (as it was my first time doing a new recipe in a long time), the second time, I only used a timer about 1/3 of the time, trusting in my ability to read butter cooking temperature (browns and crackles at 375 F), and how well done a crepe was.

Cooking utensils:
– Measuring cups
– Whisk and a lot of patience, or a blender or mixer capable of dispersing flour clumps from solution
– Frying pan (non-stick is better)
РPlates to store partially made cr̻pes
– Wax paper to put between crepes so that they do not stick to each other (essential if you’re saving time by only cooking one side of the crêpe to start
– Plates and paper towel to de-butter and store freshly cooked

– Fruits, especially strawberries and raspberries
– Thawed blueberries, pineapple, and mango worked well today (just remember to thaw them completely)

Thinking about it, if you wanted to do this assembly-line style, you could have two frying pans on the go, one making the shells, one frying the results.

Crêpe shell ingredients:
– 4 eggs
– 1 cup flour
– 1/3 cup sugar
– 3/4 cup milk (I used lactose-free milk, for reasons)
– 1/4 cup water (I used H2O, for reasons)
– 1 tsp vanilla
– Pinch of salt

Cooking requirements
Р1-2 sticks of butter (I used two full sticks for a double batch. About 85% to cook the cr̻pes and the rest to fry the filled cr̻pes.)

You could also use whatever oil suits you. We used olive oil the first time we made them, to good effect.

Filling ingredients:
– 1 tub (500g) of cottage cheese (I used organic 2%)
– 1/4 cup sugar
– (Here, the original calls for an egg yolk. I’m not sure why. I left it out.)
– 1/2 lemon, mostly squeezed into the mix (original called for 2 tsp)
– 1 tsp vanilla (I put in a little extra****)
– Pinch of salt

1) Mix all the crêpe shell ingredients in a mixing bowl.
2) Stir these ingredients until no flour lumps remain. (I couldn’t get them all out, but they still ended up fine. You’ll get better consistency if you do this step more assiduously.)
3) While stirring, turn on your frying pan/skillet to 375F. (On our stove, this is 2.5 stops below half, but really, it’s wherever butter browns but doesn’t burn. I learned this from many years of making pancakes growing up, YMMV.)
4) Apply enough butter to the bottom of the frying pan/skillet to make a thin layer for cooking. You can tell by the fact that it is sizzling and slightly browning and coating the bottom of the pan.
5) Pour 1/3 cup of crêpe shell mix onto the frying pan/skillet, then add a bit more, perhaps up to 1/2 cup (this will make the shell slightly larger and easier to fit filling into
6) Wait 60-75 seconds (I set my microwave timer for 55***** seconds), or until the crêpe can be flipped without displacing uncooked liquid on its top (If you wish, you don’t need to cook both sides of the crêpe at this stage, you can cook the inside, add the filling, then cook the outside later, which may save you 15-30 mins, if you’re really organized).
7) While this is cooking, take a sheet of wax paper, and get it ready to receive the crêpe.
8) Flip the crêpe, and cook the other side for 60-75s.
9) Take the crêpe off the frying pan and place it on the holding plate and/or wax paper

10) Repeat steps 4-9 until all the crêpe batter is exhausted.

11) While you are cooking the crêpes, you can mix up the crêpe filling:
12) Stir the filling ingredients in a mixing bowl. You may want to add different amounts than above, to taste.

13) Put a small amount (one spoon’s worth) of the filling onto the lower middle of one of the crêpes. Fold the bottom part of the crepe over the middle, then each of the sides in, then fold the bottom ‘pocket’ up until the crêpe is rolled up like a burrito around the filling.

14) Melt about 1/3 of a stick of butter into the pan (this should be enough to cover the bottom of the pan…Add more if you want to brown more of the nalysnyky during frying).

15) 3 of the filled crêpes should fit in your pan. Cook for 1.5-2 minutes
16) Flip the filled crêpes, cook for another 1.5-2 minutes

17) Dry the excess butter onto a paper towel

18) Serve warm, with fruit, or whatever other garnish you wish!



***It might have been this page, or another, which suggested the substitution:

****Or a little ‘extract’? 😀

*****I have a personal rule that I must press the fewest number of microwave number buttons whenever I program a countdown. This leads to interesting regions like 0:55, 0:66, 1:11, 0:77, where you get some nice overlap. Usually, though, it’s 0:33, 0:99, and 0:55.

6 thoughts on “Ballroom Blintz

  1. Made a double batch today. Added thawed frozen blueberries to the filling in the second half. Different flavour, but not necessarily better.

    Still don’t have a good solution for the blintzes opening up on the frying pan. Have to watch them really carefully, or they burn.

    Did all the timing by watching, things seemed to work out okay.

  2. Managed to do it in ~1h20mins this year (including choosing and writing christmas cards). Some lessons learned:
    – The line between ‘pan not quite hot enough’ and ‘looks burned afterwards’ is pretty narrow, and is very close to exactly halfway up our back large stove burner.
    – For ratios, making a double batch of batter and single batch of filling works out about right…1/3 cup of batter with 1 teaspoon of filling
    – If you’re going to add more batter than 1/3 cup, or if you’re adding in more than one pour, add the batter in the middle of the crepe. Otherwise, the pieces might not attach, especially if you do a crescent-shaped pour around the edge
    – For cooking one side of the crepes, about 70s worked well, but was highly frying pan temperature dependent. 55s might be better if it’s on the hot side
    – For cooking the filled blintzes, ~60s seemed to be plenty. Also, four seem to fit in the pan, if they’re 1/3 cup of batter blintzes.
    – How cooked the crepes are before putting them on the wax paper seems to be really important. If they’re cooked enough so that one side is browning, that seems to be enough so that the not-as-cooked side doesn’t stick too much to the wax paper. If they’re not browned, then it seems to be an issue.
    – This made 14 blintzes, two of which had issues, so they were lovingly sampled

  3. 2020-01-12 Notes:
    Double batch. Used all milk, no water. Stove takes a while to warm up at 3.5 on large burner. Kitchenaid mixer is a dream. After the issues with crepes sticking to wax paper in Dec, decided to cook somewhat the second side before putting the crepes on the wax paper (this makes the edges curl up a bit but doesn’t seem to be an issue). Not putting butter on before each crepe makes the crepe flatter and less ‘bubbly’? Difficult to put and set the temperature of the frying pan. 3.7, then 3.5? Heaping 1/3 cup of batter feels right for one crepe. Difficult to keep the crepes from burning while doing something else (typing this or making the filling or xmas cards?). All stoves are somewhat not level, which is always annoying. Put double everything but cottage cheese in filling (except lemon, which is ‘some number of squirts’).

    Cooking both sides might have added a bunch of time. Not sure. Feels like it.

    Need to watch out on the final blintz cooking step. “As soon as you think of flipping them, it’s time. Any distraction will result in them being (or at least looking) burnt.”

    Made 15 blintzes. Total elapsed time: 1h9m.

    Music (very helpful): Iron Man Trilogy Mix – Productivity Suite

  4. 2022-12-24 Notes:

    Stand mixer made all the difference…meant I could just go dancing into the living room while it was mixing

    Music playing:
    Miss Monique – Special B’day Podcast 2022 [Melodic Techno/Progressive House DJ Mix] 4K

    Did one double batch:
    – Crepes, all quantities doubled
    – Filling, one tub (500g) of cottage cheese, about 5/8 cup of sugar, 1tsp vanilla, two tsp of ReaLemon juice

    Lemon juice ‘RealEmon’, two tablespoons….made a huge difference….I’m always surprised how will it brings everything together

    Made 14 blintzes, most of them were 1/3 cup of batter, with 1 spoon of filling, some of them (perhaps 5) were 1.5-2x 1/3 cup, each of which had 1.5 spoons of filling.  The smaller (1/3 cup) ones I managed to fit 5 into the skillet at once

    Used 1 3/4 sticks of butter total, about 3/4 to do the initial cooking of the crepes, the other stick to do the blintz frying.

    The skillet heat up steadily through the process…I think it was <375 for the first part.  The first set of crepes/blintzes came out somewhat moister(I think), but still seemed fully cooked, closer to egg pastry than pancake.  By the end, the butter was brown and fried.

    We used 'Simply Organic' vanilla, the last two teaspoons, as we tried opening Clubhouse vanilla from both last year and this year, and neither of them smelled right.  I forgot to eat the strawberries, but I will tomorrow.  Didn't add the pinch of salt again.

    Because the skillet was a bit colder (and/or perhaps because I was playing close attention because I had music playing/I had cleaned the kitchen that morning/I was mostly familiar with the recipe), I used a one-minute timer mostly to remind me to pay attention to the pan, not for any specific amount of time.

    I flipped the entire stack of half-done crepes at once, so that the cooked side was now facing up, which made the second half of the process go much smoother.

    Last time, I was really careful about taking the blintz that I put in first to fry out first, so that they were all cooked as close to the same amount of time that I could manage, but this time, I did it somewhat at random, and it didn't seem to matter.  Perhaps I was faster with the assembly, perhaps because the crepes were the correct way up to start.

    - 4:14pm: Put on 'Ballroom Blitz' to play
    - 4:21pm: Skillet starts warming
    - 4:46pm: (I think) First crepe ready to go in the skillet!
    - 5:17pm: Crepes flipped and ready for assembly!
    - 5:20pm: First set of blintzes flipped and frying!
    - 5:39pm: Last set of blintzes flipped and frying!
    - 5:42pm: Christmas Delivery Blintzes packaged up and resting peacefully in the fridge!
    - 5:44pm: Taste test!

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