If you’ve never eaten this Jewish delicacy, you have not truly known gastronomical nirvana. It consists of a cheese mixture wrapped in something like a crepe, and is usually served with jam or applesauce.
I remember my Grandma Sophie made these treats for me after she retired and moved from Chicago to New York, where I grew up. I remember watching her in her miniscule kitchen, breaking some eggs, throwing in a random amount of flour, a bissell (Yiddish for “a little”) this, a bissell that. She would say “Be sure to buy good farmer’s cheese, don’t use that cottage cheese from the grocery store, it won’t taste the same.”
When I moved to Portland, Oregon to attend college, none of the local restaurants offered blintzes. I lived in a dorm that had a kitchen – the only one on campus – and I wanted to make blintzes. I called Grandma Sophie and asked her to send me her recipe. “What recipe?”
This is what grandma wrote in her letter to me on February 11, 1971, when she was 75 years old.
“When you asked me for a recipe for blintzes, you really posed a problem for me. I did not know how to explain the method I was using, however, your sharp mother hit on an answer. She suggested I make a batch and measure everything which goes into it (ain’t she smart!).
So here it goes: two beaten eggs, 2/3 c of flour, ¾ c water, a pinch of salt. Add the flour to beaten eggs, a little at a time. Alternate with water. Make sure the mixture is of a fine consistency. Use a frying pan which does not stick [this was before Teflon pans – JNR]. When hot, grease it lightly with butter and pour your mixture, just enough to cover the pan (pour off surplus). The pancake should be very thin, otherwise it will not taste too good. Watch carefully, as soon as the edges of the pancake separate from the pan, take it off and turn the pan upside down so the pancake falls on a clean towel. It may need a little coaxing. It will take a little practice to get it just right.
Take a pound of baker’s cottage cheese (dry), one egg, a pinch of salt, ½ ts of sugar, mix well and put about 1½ tb of it for each blintz. Good luck!”
The step she left out was folding the pancake around the dollop of cheese mixture, and frying the blintz on both sides until the cheese melted into deliciousness.
I made one batch of blintzes, and put the letter away. I think its time to make my second batch, in honor of grandma, who died in 1990, at the age of 95.