Blintzes are like crêpes, but kicked up a notch. Sure, crêpes are delicious all on their own, or topped with fruit, or dusted with powdered sugar, or finished with whipped cream... but blintzes are next level—because they are crêpes that are filled (generously!), wrapped up, and sautéed in butter until they’re crispy on the outside, and perfectly gooey on the inside. Topped with sauce (often made of fruit), they’re the ultimate lazy-day fuel. This is one breakfast that’s really made for eating in bed. Bonus points if you make them for your mom this weekend—though they’re so crazy good, you might find yourself making exceptions for pet moms, plant moms, and the like, on any day of the year.
Mixing the batter
One of the many wonderful things about crêpes is how easy the batter is to make. Whisk your dry ingredients together to combine. This is usually just flour, a bit of sugar (which helps promote browning along with adding flavor), and salt. In another bowl, whisk your wet ingredients to combine—usually milk (a high ratio of it!), eggs, and melted butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk the batter vigorously—you don’t want visible lumps inside your crepe batter. There is significantly more liquid in the batter than flour, so it will look quite soupy when you’re done mixing.
Resting the batter
Crêpe batter benefits from at least an hour of rest in the refrigerator. This rest period does several things—it allows any air bubbles formed during mixing to pop, making a smoother batter. It also allows the batter to relax, which is beneficial after the vigorous whisking. This relaxation period ensures the crêpes aren’t overly tough. Finally, this rest period allows for the starch molecules in the batter to absorb moisture. As these molecules hydrate, the batter becomes slightly thicker and more viscous—this makes it easier to cook the crêpes later. Crêpe batter should rest at least 1 hour, but can rest up to 8, so sometimes. I mix the batter just before I go to bed, so I can be in blintz heaven come morning.
Making the crêpes
I’ve always found my crêpe pan to be a worthy kitchen investment. It’s base and sides are thinner than my usual pots and pans, which makes it lightweight and easy to lift off of the stovetop. It cooks the crêpes evenly and they don’t stick to its smooth surface. My crêpe pan is 6 inches, but of course, you don’t have to have a specialty pan to DIY blintzes—just use a small saute pan, preferably nonstick. Heat the pan over medium heat and spray it with nonstick spray. You can also use butter or clarified butter at this stage, which adds more flavor, but I find it can lead to less even browning and often some undue crispness, which can make the crêpes harder to roll up later. Since you’ll be cooking the filled blintzes in butter later, I find using nonstick spray or a light coating of neutral oil in the pan is perfect here.
Ladle about 2/3 cup of batter into the hot pan, and quickly lift the pan off the flame and swirl the batter around the make a thin, even layer. Ideally, the edges of the crêpe will immediately set into light, lacy edges. Let the crêpe cook for 1-2 minutes, then carefully flip it and cook on the other side 1-2 minutes more. My favorite tool for flipping crêpes is a fish spatula because it’s wider and more flexible than a standard spatula. It makes easy work of crêpe flipping, every time! As I cook the crêpes, I stack them between layers of parchment or wax paper. The finished crêpes can be used immediately, or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 days (make ahead alert!!!!).
Technically, blintzes can be filled with anything, but one of the most common fillings is cheese. This can be anything, but my preferred mixture uses cream cheese (for stability and tang) and mascarpone (for texture and richness). The filling should be only lightly sweetened, and can also boast flavoring agents like citrus zest, extracts, etc. The filling often has an egg beat into it, to help provide structure after it is heated. If you opt for a thicker mixture of cheeses, like cream cheese and ricotta, the egg can be optional. I find it’s best to keep the filling chilled until just before I’m ready to shape the blintzes.
Shaping the blintzes
Working one at a time, lay a crepe on a work surface, and spoon 2 tablespoons of filling in the center. You want to be as generous as possible with the filling without making it difficult to roll up. Roll up the blintz like you’re rolling up a burrito: First fold the outside edges inward, then roll up the crepe around the filling. Transfer the filled blintzes to a parchment lined baking sheet and keep in the refrigerator until ready to cook. I find a period of about 30 minutes in the fridge is helpful in keeping the blintzes together when you go to saute them, but it’s totally optional.
Cooking the blintzes
Brush the chilled blintzes on both sides generously with melted butter. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and working in batches, add the blintzes to the pan and saute until they are golden brown and lightly toasted, 1-2 minutes per side. Immediately transfer the blintzes to a serving platter or divide between plates (I usually serve 3 blintzes per serving). If you’re cooking for a crowd, you can transfer the blintzes to a buttered 9x13 pan, cover with foil, and keep warm in an oven (at 250° degrees) for up to 30 minutes.
Just like the filling, technically anything goes here. But with a rich, creamy filling, having a fruit sauce seems like a no-brainer! I like to cook fresh fruit with a small amount of sugar and lemon juice just until the fruit breaks down. You can add a thickener, like cornstarch, or you can strain the fruit away from the juices and reduce the juices to a thicker consistency. Or, if you’re working ahead, make your sauce and refrigerate it for up to 1 week, then warm it up just before serving. You can also use fresh fruit—really, anything you want can be doused over your dreamy blintz breakfast.
Serve the blintzes immediately, doused with sauce or fruit, and preferably in bed. Nothing is better or more decadent on a lazy weekend morning.
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/3 cups whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 recipe Crepes (https://food52.com/recipes/70725-crepes)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 pints blueberries
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract