Claire Saffitz's Sweet Cheese Blintzes With Lemony Apricot Compote

November  8, 2022
1 Ratings
Photo by Jenny Huang
  • Prep time 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

Although I consider making blintzes my birthright, I had never actually made—or even eaten!—a blintz until I worked on this book. Blintzes, for the uninitiated, are a Jewish dessert made of an eggy crepe-like pancake that’s filled with a sweetened mixture of cream cheese and farmer cheese and pan-fried until the pancake is golden brown. My mom used to help her mother, my Nanny, make blintzes when she was a child. Nanny would stand at the stove manning two skillets, cooking the pancakes two at a time. She’d bang them out onto the counter, which was lined with brown paper bags, fill and fold them up, and then pack the blintzes into a shoebox lined with wax paper and freeze them.

Nanny didn’t use a recipe, so when I started testing blintzes for the book, my mom provided the taste memory and guidance to make sure I wasn’t far off. It was a fun project, and I learned that Nanny’s blintzes are mildly sweet and therefore perfect for breakfast or dessert served with any kind of jam or preserves(a fruit topping or sauce is traditional). That said, I like them with this lemony apricot compote and a drizzle of honey. —Excerpted from “What’s For Dessert?” Copyright © 2022 by Claire Saffitz. Photographs copyright © 2022 by Jenny Huang. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House. —Food52

Test Kitchen Notes

"The blintzes are best eaten right after they’re pan-fried, but the pancakes can be cooked and filled up to 1 hour ahead. Keep the uncooked blintzes covered on the plate. The uncooked blintzes can also be packed into an airtight container and stacked in layers separated by sheets of parchment or wax paper and frozen for up to 2 months (like Nanny did). To cook frozen blintzes, fry them from frozen as directed in the recipe, but start them on low heat and cook covered for 5 to 8 minutes to thaw them before uncovering and increasing the heat to medium and browning them." —Food52

What You'll Need
  • Lemony Apricot Compote
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) dried apricots, coarsely chopped (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 medium lemon
  • Pancake Batter
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5.4 oz / 152 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 4 (7 oz / 200 grams) large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (8.5 oz / 240 grams) whole milk, at room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons (2.5 oz / 71 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon Morton kosher salt)
  • Filling & Assembly
  • 16 ounces (454 grams) farmer cheese, chilled
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, chilled
  • 1 (1.8 oz / 50 grams) large egg
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3 oz / 85 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Honey, for serving
  1. Make the compote: In a small saucepan, combine the apricots, honey, salt, and 2 cups (16 oz / 454g) water and bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, mashing the apricots often with the back of a spoon or flexible spatula, until the apricots have broken down, the liquid has reduced, and the mixture looks like a loose, chunky applesauce, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, finely grate 1 tablespoon zest from the lemon and set it aside for the filling. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze to get 2 tablespoons juice and stir it into the saucepan. Transfer the compote to a lidded container and refrigerate until serving.
  2. Make the pancake batter: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, eggs, milk, melted butter, sugar, and salt and blend using a handheld blender, pausing to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a flexible spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth. (Alternatively, combine the ingredients in a standard blender and blend on medium-low speed until smooth.) Cover the batter and set aside to rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
  3. Make the filling: In a separate medium bowl, combine the farmer cheese, cream cheese, egg, sugar, vanilla, salt, and reserved lemon zest and blend using a handheld blender until the mixture is light and smooth—it will have a bit of graininess from the farmer cheese, but that’s normal.(Alternatively, combine the ingredients in a standard blender and blend on medium until smooth.) Cover and refrigerate the filling until you’re ready to fill the blintzes.
  4. Cook the pancakes: Place the melted butter in a small bowl next to the stovetop. Also place a sheet pan lined with a clean kitchen towel next to the stovetop for holding the cooked pancakes. Heat an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Use a pastry brush to brush the skillet with a thin layer of the melted butter, then tilt the skillet and add a scant ¼ cup (1.5 oz / 42g) batter and swirl slowly until the batter coats the entire surface in an even layer. Let the pancake cook undisturbed until the surface is matte, the edges are dry and beginning to curl, and the bottom is lightly browned in spots, about 1 minute.
  5. Invert the skillet and turn the pancake out onto the towel-lined sheet pan (you only cook the pancake on one side; the other side will be fried later). Repeat the cooking process with the remaining batter and melted butter, turning out the pancakes one at a time onto the lined sheet pan and overlapping and stacking as necessary. You should get about 16 pancakes total.
  6. Once they’re all cooked, cover the sheet pan with a second kitchen towel to prevent the pancakes from drying out. Reserve the remaining butter for frying (you should have around 4 tablespoons left, but if you don’t, melt more to yield that amount).
  7. Fill the pancakes: Remove the filling from the refrigerator. Place one of the pancakes on the work surface browned-side up, then scoop a scant ¼ cup (1.7 oz / 48g) of filling and scrape it into the center of the pancake. Use the back of a spoon to work the filling into a thick 4-inch-long line running left to right, then wrap the pancake around the filling like a burrito, folding the bottom up and over the filling, folding in the left and right sides, then rolling it up. Transfer the blintz to a plate seam side down and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Repeat until you’ve used all the filling and filled all the pancakes, and all the blintzes are covered on the plate.
  8. Pan-fry the blintzes: Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add half of the remaining melted butter (or 2 tablespoons) and swirl the skillet to coat. Gently transfer half of the blintzes to the skillet and cook, shaking the skillet occasionally, until the undersides are golden brown all over, about 5 minutes. Turn the blintzes over and shake the skillet to coat them in butter, then cook until the second sides are browned, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer the blintzes to a serving platter and repeat the cooking process with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and blintzes. Serve them warm, 2 per serving, with the lemony apricot compote and more honey for drizzling over top.

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2 Reviews

[email protected] November 9, 2022
Looks like a great recipe, but could it be true that the 6 Tbs of melted butter go into the BATTER?
I will be leaving it out and using it for the frying to come later to in the recipe.
[email protected] November 9, 2022
Oops. FIve Tbs butter, not six.