They may be called crepes in France or blinis in Russian, but the real Jewish version is a blintze. These are crepe like thin pancakes filled with cream cheese or cottage cheese and sometimes fruit.
For many people, cheese cake and blintzes are the ‘piece de la resistance’ on Shavout and a great way to celebrate this joyous festival. But there is also a religious link to Shavout as it is traditional to eat dairy foods at this time. Here are some of the reasons that I have researched.
When the Jews accepted the Torah, they became obligated in the laws of kashrus. But until they became familiar with the laws regarding animal slaughter, they ate dairy.
Receiving the Torah was a form of rebirth for the Children of Israel. Drinking milk is a link to this renewal.
Shavuot coincided with the time when the lambs and calves born in the spring would be suckling. Therefore an abundance of dairy products were available.
Legend has it that the Jewish people were at Sinai for so long that all their fresh milk soured and turned into cheese.
In the Torah the Jewish people are promised a "Land flowing with milk and honey." Dairy meals recall this lyrical description of Israel.
The Hebrew word for milk, chalav, has the numerical value of 40, symbolizing the number of days Moses was on Mt. Sinai
Recipes have been passed down through traditions and cheese blintzes are no exception. This recipe is from my latest book ‘The Jewish Mamas Kitchen’ published by MQ publications.
Ingredients:Preparation Time: 20 minutes Cooking Time 20 minutes
Makes: 6 blintzes Will freeze
110g Self raising flour
Pinch of salt
Sunflower or vegetable oil – for frying
225g cream cheese
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Garnish: Vanilla sugar, zest of lemon
1) Make the batter by mixing the flour, egg, salt and milk in a food mixer or blender until smooth.
2) Heat a little oil in a 20 cm/8 inch pancake pan. When the oil is hot pour in three quarters of a soup ladle of batter. Swirl around so the mixture covers the pan in a thin layer.
3) When the batter has set and the edges of the pancake begin to lift, gently loosen the edges and flip the pancake over onto the other side for a few seconds. Using a palette knife remove and gently place on some non-stick baking paper. Continue with the remaining batter to make about 8 pancakes.
4) Mix all the ingredients for the filling together. Place about one tablespoon of the cheese mixture in to the centre of each pancake. Fold in the top and bottom of the pancake over the filling, then fold over one side and roll up carefully to enclose the filling completely.
5) To finish the blintzes, heat the pan again with a little oil. Put the pancakes in the pan and fry until slightly golden brown. Turn over for a second so that it is hot on both sides.
To serve the stylish way: Serve hot. Dust with a little vanilla sugar and some lemon zest.