This election season was a hard one on all of us. So, even if it is January, a time where we should still be maintaining various healthy-eating resolutions, I think we can all forgive ourselves if the inauguration has left us needing a little more. Personally, it left me needing to take a trip home to my mother’s kitchen, where I’ve been eating my feelings since 1988.
There we made nalesniki (or as you may know them, blintzes), the favorite comfort food of Polish and Jewish grandmothers and children everywhere. The toppings can vary from fruit sauces to chocolate to Nutella to powdered sugar, but the cheese filling is tried and true. It’s basically dessert for dinner, and who doesn’t need that today? Yesterday we marched, tomorrow we call our congressmen, today we eat blintzes.
Nalesniki (or, Blintzes)
From Mommy’s Kitchen
Makes 12-16 blintzes
For the Filling:
1 pound farmer cheese
1/3 cup whole milk, plus more if needed
3-4 teaspoons sugar, or more, to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Pastry:
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups cold water
pinch of salt
1 2/3 – 2 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for pan
vegetable oil, or clarified butter, for pan
For the Raspberry Sauce:
12 ounces raspberries
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons sugar
First make the filling. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl using a metal spoon. The consistency should be between whipped cream cheese and regular cream cheese. Add more milk if it is too thick. Add more sugar to taste. I prefer a more tangy/sour flavor, so I err on the side of less sugar (around 3 teaspoons). Set aside.
Next, get started on the raspberry sauce. Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan (too small and you will get a lot of splatter) over high heat. Mix with a wooden spoon and let the mixture come to a boil. The raspberries should start to come apart. Once a high boil is reached, decrease heat to low and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, until it reaches the consistency of a thick sauce. Add more sugar if wanted. Set aside.
Now work on the pastry wrap. Place the milk, water, egg, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk quickly until the mixture is foamy. Add flour and whisk. Keep adding flour until the batter has a consistency somewhat more runny than pancake batter. Finally, whisk in the olive oil.
Heat a small-medium nonstick pan over medium-high heat. The size of the base of the pan will be the size of your wraps. Add olive oil to the pan until it is very lightly coated–just enough to keep the wrap from sticking. Pour in a light coating of batter, just enough to spread over the base. Swirl the pan so the batter is distributed evenly. Once there are bubbles in the batter, flip (should be about 1-2 minutes). Cook another 30 seconds-1 minute. Both sides should be lightly golden brown. You will fry these again, so they should be somewhat lighter than you would like for the final product. Set aside the wraps as you finish them. Repeat until you are done with the batter. You should have 12-16 wraps.
Once all the pastry wraps are made, begin assembling the blintzes. Place 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons filling on a pancake. Use a small spoon to spread over half of the wrap. Roll up the wrap, beginning with the edge that has filling on it. Set aside, and repeat until all pancakes are rolled up.
Now, it all comes together! Heat a thin layer of clarified butter or vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add blintzes, rotating as needed, until crispy and golden brown on all sides. This should take 5-8 minutes. Remove from oil and blot on paper towels.
Pour raspberry sauce on top of blintzes. Serve with sour cream and sugar.