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Fresh Strawberry Brunch Blintzes

Contributed by: Chris WebAdmin. of RecipesNow.com

Take a Breakfast Blintz Break Before You Start the Day - Ideally, you would be reading this either having had or sitting down to a satisfying breakfast. However, with modern schedules as busy as they are, breakfast is usually the first thing to take a back seat. It's a shame, too, because those who settle for a piece of dry toast and a shot of juice miss all of the scrumptious breakfast offerings found in Beth Hensperger's new book, "Bread for Breakfast" (Ten Speed Press).

For example, featured in the book is a beloved Jewish brunch classic called a blintz. Blintzes are a crepe-like pancake filled with a smooth, tangy cheese center that contrasts with their crisp, buttery wrapping. Try your hand at this easy-to-make rendition, in which soft, velvety ricotta and cream cheeses are blended to make the simplest of fillings.

This recipe is especially well suited for entertaining, because it calls for baking all the blintzes at once instead of frying them one-by-one on the stovetop, although either method given here is suitable. Crepes are surprisingly easy to handle, and bake up quickly once you get the wrist action of tilting the hot pan to distribute the batter evenly. (Many bakers reserve a well-seasoned pan solely for this task.) The size of the crepes depends on the size of the skillet, since the thin batter tends to spread out to the perimeter of the pan. The standard size for crepes varies from six to nine inches.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cups cultured buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Strawberry Sauce

  • 2 pint baskets fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
  • 1/2 cup strawberry preserves
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or freshly squeezed orange juice

Cheese Filling

  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 l!rge egg yolks, or 2 tablespoons liquid egg substitute
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 1/4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter for frying
  • Cold sour cream or plain yogurt for serving

Directions:

To make the wrapper batter, combine the batter ingredients in a large bowl or in the bowl of a food processor. Using a hand-held immersion blender, whisk or process with metal blade, beat until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour. Lightly grease a 6- to 7-inch seasoned crepe pan or nonstick frying pan with cooking spray. Heat the pan over medium heat until hot. Stir the batter to avoid separation. Working quickly, remove pan from heat and pour 2 tablespoons of batter, tilting and rotating the pan to completely cover the bottom. Cook until bottom is golden brown and top is set (about 30 seconds); do not turn the crepe over. Slide the crepes, cooked side up, in a single layer onto paper towels next to each other, but not overlapping to cool. Repeat with the remaining batter. (if not filling immediately, wrap the cooled wrappers in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.) Makes about thirty 5-inch wrappers.

For the Strawberry Sauce

To make strawberry sauce, place all ingredients for sauce in a food processor with metal blade or in a blender, and process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

For the Cheese Filling

To make the filling, combine cheeses, sugar, egg yolk, vanilla and orange zest in food processor until smooth.

For Assembly

To assemble blintzes, place one heaping tablespoonful of filling and one tablespoon of sliced strawberries at the bottom end of the cooked side of the wrapper. Fold each side over to almost meet in the center; the filling will still be at the end. Fold the blintz up from the bottom to enclose the filling, ending with the seam side down, to make a plump rectangular packet. The uncooked side of the wrapper will be on the outside. Place on a plate or in a plastic container. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to cook. (The blintzes can be made to this point and frozen in a plastic container up to one month. Place a piece of parchment between the stacked layers to prevent sticking.)

Fry the blintzes by melting one tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place as many blintzes as will fit in the pan, seam side down. Fry for one to two minutes on each side, until crisp and golden brown. Add a bit more butter for frying each batch. Keep cooked blintzes warm on a late, covered in foil, in a 300 F oven. If frying frozen blintzes, do not defrost first. Serve immediately with bowls of sour cream or plain yogurt and strawberry sauce on the side.

To bake blintzes, rather than fry them, adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat oven to 400 F. Butter a piece of parchment, place on a heavy-duty baking sheet, and put in oven to melt butter. Arrange the packets in a single layer, seam side down, turning once to coat the tops with butter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden and heated through. Bake frozen blintzes without defrosting in a 350 F oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve immediately on a dessert plate toppad with strawberry sauce and accompanied by a bowl of sour cream or yogurt. Store any leftover blintzes in the refrigerator.

Serving Size: Makes 28 Blintzes (Serves 6 to 8)


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