Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights as it is also known, celebrates the miracle of a short supply of lamp oil lasting for eight days, long enough for second century Jews to fight and regain their Holy Temple in Jerusalem. To this day, in tribute to the miracle of the oil, Jewish families continue to eat fried foods such as doughnuts and latkes.
With another nod to history, it is tradition to enjoy dairy foods during Hanukkah festivities. This consumption of dairy comes as an insult to the Jews’ enemies as one of the significant battles fought and won by the Jewish army was a result of feeding their enemies cheese. Combining the traditions of both frying in oil and feasting on dairy and cheese, this recipe for Cheese Blintz is a true staple for a Hanukkah celebration. Perfect for a holiday breakfast, brunch or meal, this recipe for Cheese Blintzes from Amesbury chef and novelist Jane Ward is a delicious way to celebrate tradition.
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for the pan
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups farmer cheese, or whole milk ricotta
1/2 cup cottage cheese (not low- or non-fat)
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of salt
Cinnamon sugar for dusting
Extra: Applesauce for serving, if desired
1. With a rubber spatula, blend together the two cheeses with the egg yolk. Add the oil, sugar and salt and stir to blend. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill while you make the blintz pancakes.
2. Heat a small amount of oil in a flat 7-inch crepe pan, or small shallow skillet, over medium-high heat. Wipe out the excess oil with a paper towel.
3. Pour 1/4 cup of batter into the pan. Quickly lift the pan from the heat and turn your wrist in rapid motions to coat the bottom of the pan evenly with the batter. When very lightly browned on one side, flip and cook just a second or two more. Turn the pancake out onto a plate and proceed to work your way through the batter in this fashion.
4. Stack the pancakes as they are finished. Brush the pan with additional oil as needed to prevent sticking; remember to wipe away excess when necessary.
5. With the finished pancakes in front of you, take the filling from the refrigerator. Take a pancake and place it, browned side down, in front of you. Spoon a generous amount of filling in the center in a long oval.
6. To wrap the blintz, turn both sides in over the filling, then lift the top edge toward you to cover the filling. Finally, lift the bottom edge away from you to completely cover and seal the blintz. Finish filling and sealing the stack of pancakes.
7. When you have finished, heat a small amount of oil or butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Working with up to four blintzes at a time, place the blintzes in the pan, seam side down, and brown first one side and then the other. When golden on both sides, return the blintzes to a serving platter or individual plates.
8. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar immediately and serve with applesauce if desired.
Recipe courtesy of food blogger and novelist Jane Ward, 2012.