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By the Book: Noah and Rae Bernamoff’s Blintzes

September 10th 04:09pm, 2013


Every recipe in this book has an introduction or short anecdote from one half of the husband-wife team Noah and Rae Bernamoff that started Mile End in Brooklyn, a Jewish deli. Any description of blintzes, knishes or hamantaschen is really nice because it helps gentiles like me understand what the dish is in the first place, why it’s awesome, and if it’s tied to a holiday tradition. There are stories from fellow chefs and artisans in Manhattan and Brooklyn, too, like Niki Russ Federman, the fourth-generation co-owner of the famed Russ & Daughters in New York City. I love the food photos in this book; they make you hungry, and the photos of step-by-step assembly instructions for more complicated recipes are useful.




I decided to make blintzes. I’ve never had blintzes before, but I thought: I love ricotta cheese; I love crepes. Sounded good to me. It was … kind of.




These blintzes are not that sweet. The recipe calls for just ½ teaspoon of sugar, which only went in the crepe batter. The filling had lemon zest, salt, ricotta, butter and egg yolks, and when I rolled it into a crepe and tried it, I felt the filling needed sweetness. I drizzled honey and cinnamon over the top as the recipe suggested, thinking that might be enough, but because the filling wasn’t sweet, it didn’t taste right.




I added 3 tablespoons of sugar and a splash of vanilla to the filling, rolled the rest of the blintzes and topped them all with honey and cinnamon. Maybe I just have a sweet tooth, but the sugar and vanilla made a huge difference, making the ricotta and lemon zest more pronounced.




Noah and Rae Bernamoff’s Blintzes
6 Servings

The blintz is a classic old-world Jewish specialty and a go-to food for Shavuot, when dairy dishes are traditionally served. We like ours with fruit compote, but anything from fresh fruit to sour cream to applesauce will work, especially with a drizzle of honey or a dusting of cinnamon sugar. You can even make a sauce by warming a cup of concord grape jelly together with ¼ cup water.

For the crepes:
4 large eggs
1½ cups whole milk
½ tsp. Diamond Crystal Kosher salt
½ tsp. sugar
¼ cup rye flour
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsalted butter, divided

For the filling and finishing:
3 cups whole-milk ricotta, drained overnight in the refrigerator in a fine-mesh sieve lined with a double layer of cheesecloth
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp. Diamond crystal kosher salt
Zest of 2 lemons
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
Compote of your choice, for serving

Making the crepes
• Combine the eggs, milk, salt and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until the ingredients are incorporated.
• In a separate bowl, mix together the two flours. Sift them into the liquid and whisk until the batter is smooth. Cover and rest the batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
• In an 8-inch nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the butter over medium heat. Pour in ¼ cup of the batter and swirl the pan gently to coat it. Cook until the edges of the crepe start to pull away from the pan, about 2 minutes. Then flip the crepe, cook it a few seconds more, and transfer it to a plate. Repeat with the remaining butter and batter to make 6 crepes in all.

Make the filling
• Place the ricotta, egg yolks, salt and lemon zest in a bowl and stir until thoroughly combined.

Assemble and cook the blintzes
• Working 1 crepe at a time, spoon about ½ cup of the filing onto a crepe, fold in the edges, and roll it up snugly around the filling like a burrito. Repeat with the remaining crepes and filling.
• Working in 2 batches, heat half the butter in a large pan or skillet and cook 3 blintzes, flipping once, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining butter and blintzes. Serve the blintzes with fruit compote.

Reprinted with permission from Clarkson/Potter Publishers

What is your favorite crepe filling? Tell us in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of The Mile End Cookbook by Noah and Rae Bernamoff. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Rebecca, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won a copy of The New Jewish Table by Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray. Rebecca, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.



By Meera Nagarajan

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4 Responses to “By the Book: Noah and Rae Bernamoff’s Blintzes”

  1. Amy Wallerstein Says:
    September 10th, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    I have to go with the classic cheese filling.

  2. Katie Says:
    September 11th, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Nutella and banana. Yum!

  3. Joe Says:
    September 11th, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Ditto on the nutella but I like it with tart cherries

  4. Hao Says:
    September 17th, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    i like savory crepes like cream cheese, capers, and smoked salmon.

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