Over the weekend our Web Master and VideoJew Jay Firestone came over to our house to video me making Lemon Ricotta Blintzes for Shavuout.
Judaism has developed two main ex post facto reasons why we traditionally eat dairy foods on Shavuout: because the holiday commemorates the giving of the Torah on Mt Sinai, and Torah is like mother’s milk to the Jews, or because the newly-given laws of kashrut were too complex regarding meat eating, so instead of mistakenly crossing them, Jews stuck to dairy.
But the Foodaism reason is more straightforward: we eat dairy at Shavuous because it’s late spring, and the mother animals are bursting with milk. A lot of Jewish laws—a lot of religious laws in general—have obvious roots in natural cycles, and the traditions of Shavuout are no exception. When God gives you milk, make milk-ade.
These are my favorite blintzes. They’re not made with the usual hoop cheese or farmers cheese. So, they’re not dry, but have more of a cheesecake-like filling. They are not like those industrial strength deli-bombs, but light and delicate, a filed crepe by way of the shtetl, if the shtetl were in Italy.
The ricotta I used came from Whole Foods, the brand is Angelo and Franco, and it is superb. I also used some of the last Salvatore Brooklyn ricotta that I brought back from Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood. It’s a locally made artisanal brand, very thick, and perfect for this dish.
Foodaism Lemon Ricotta Blintzes
FOR THE BLINTZES:
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. sugar
- ½ t. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
FOR THE FILLING:
- 1 lb. ricotta cheese, at room temperature
- 3 T sour cream or mascarpone
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- ½ t. lemon zest
- ½ t. vanilla extract
1. Combine crepe batter ingredients in blender or bowl and mix until smooth. Let rest a half hour.
2. Combine filling ingredients in mixer or bowl and blend until smooth. (Use good quality ricotta. If very moist, drain in cheesecloth-lined colander; set inside pan for a few hours or overnight in refrigerator)
3. Heat a non-stick crepe pan or 8 inch skillet. Rub with oil or butter. Add ¼ cup batter and tilt pan to spread batter thin. Cook until set then flip. Cook until dry, then turn out onto plate. Repeat until all the batter is used.
4. Spread 2 or 3 T of filling along bottom of crepe. Roll up into a cylinder, tucking ends in before you finish rolling. Repeat until all the crepes are filled.
5. Heat one T. vegetable oil in a skillet, Add crepes 2-3 at a time and cook on each side until golden. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and fresh berries.