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Pumpkin Cheese Blintzes

November 21, 2013

Pumpkin Cheese BlintzesPin it!

Thanksgivnukkah is just around the corner!

And the internets are abuzz with culinary strategies for celebrating this mash-up of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah (which won’t happen for another 70,000 years!).

Buzzfeed Food posted the first collection of Thanksgivukkah recipes to come across my radar. (Yes, everyone seems to spell it “Thanksgivukkah,” but I prefer to spell it with an “n” in the middle: ThanksgivNukkah! Trust me, this is aesthetically better; I’m practically a full-fledged linguist.)

The food sites Food52 and Serious Eats had a Thanksgivukkah recipes face-off. And plenty of food blogs have posted their own Thanksgivnukkah recipe concoctions. (I’ve really been enjoying the Thanksgivnukkah daydreams-made-reality over at my name is yeh; among the amazing recipes that Molly Yeh has brought to life: pumpkin pie with a latke crust.)

Pumpkin Cheese BlintzesPin it!

My own humble contributions (this recipe, and one next *MONDAY*—because no one’s going to be reading food blogs next Thursday, *on* Thanksgivnukkah!) were both dreamed up by my younger sister, after I called her for Hanukkah food ideas.

Somehow I ended up being a Jew who was unclear on exactly what Jews eat for Hanukkah. I mean, other than latkes (potato pancakes), served with sour cream and applesauce, and the Hanukkah gelt (chocolate coins) I enjoyed eating as a child, I wasn’t sure which other Hanukkah foods were traditional.

Pumpkin Cheese Blintzes, caramelized in butter and sugarPin it!

My parents occasionally have small Hanukkah dinner parties—usually overlapping with Christmas rather than Thanksgiving!—where they serve a main course, like brisket or salmon, alongside plenty of potato latkes, all accompanied by a green vegetable side dish or two, Thanksgiving-style. But it wasn’t until I called my sister and her fiancé (who know infinitely more about these things than I do) that I learned that anything fried in oil could count as Hanukkah fare.

Frying Pumpkin Cheese Blintzes

Dishes with dairy products are also traditional for Hanukkah. So what could be more perfect than sweet cheese blintzes: a dish with dairy, fried in oil. (And I just learned this now, at age 32.) If only I could go back in time and petition my parents to add cheese blintzes to our yearly Hanukkah menu… Needless to say, I am a fan.

Pumpkin Cheese Blintzes, caramelized in butter and sugarPin it!

I have lovely—though somewhat fuzzy and distant—memories of visiting my grandparents in New Jersey as a kid, and driving through the Lincoln Tunnel into the city to eat blintzes at Christine’s Polish restaurant on the lower east side of Manhattan. I’d often order both cheese and blueberry blintzes, relishing the rare chance to get away with eating dessert for dinner.

For this recipe, I Thanksgivingified the more traditional cheese-filled blintzes with puréed pumpkin and a smattering of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves (also known as pumpkin pie spice).

Pumpkin spice filling for Pumpkin Cheese Blintzes

I originally considered whipping up a batch of pumpkin pie filling for the blintzes, but pumpkin pie is far too liquidy before baking, and I wanted something firmer to wrap the crepes around. I also considered a straight-up pumpkin cheesecake filling (exactly what my sister had in mind, too; we think alike!) but I think that would have been too messy, too.

Ingredients for Pumpkin Cheese Blintzes

I compromised with a firmer ricotta mixed with cream cheese, for a little cheesecake-esque decadence. The filling turned out perfectly: a subtly sweet balance of cheese, pumpkin, and spices.

Assembling the Pumpkin Cheese Blintzes

I used a crepe batter recipe (now the third of its kind to appear on my blog!) from Alice Medrich’s “caramelized crepes filled with fresh cheese” in her cookbook Pure Dessert. This is an egg-ier crepe batter, to make the blintz wrappers more sturdy and flexible. (But as long as your mini crepes are flexible enough to be folded up tight around the pumpkin-cheese filling without allowing any pumpkin-cheese to poke its way out anywhere, then basically any crepe recipe will do.) To keep the crepes even more pliable, they are cooked only on one side, then they are stacked between wax paper and chilled. Folding up the blintzes around the filling brings the sticky uncooked side of each crepe together on the seam side, and helps seal them shut.

Pumpkin Cheese Blintzes waiting to be fried

One more tip I stole from Alice Medrich’s recipe: fry the blintzes in melted butter with sugar sprinkled over it, so they develop a crispy browned and caramelized surface.

Pumpkin Cheese Blintzes, caramelized in butter and sugar

I used an egg in the filling to keep things firmer; I then baked the blintzes for a few minutes after frying them just to make sure the egg was cooked. If you’re feeding a crowd, you might want to transfer sautéed blintzes to the oven anyway, to keep them warm (but if you want to avoid that step, you could also just fry them for a little longer, or leave out the egg and reduce the pumpkin by just a bit).

How to fold blintzes

Then enjoy them for a Thanksgivnukkah / Thanksgivukkah dessert! Or eat your dessert for breakfast, brunch, or dinner. It’s allowed; after all, it’s a (2-in-1) holiday.

Pumpkin Cheese Blintzes caramelized in butter and sugarPin it!

Remember to check back next Monday (not Thursday) for my second Thanksgivnukkah recipe.

And meanwhile, if you’re looking for more traditional Thanksgiving recipes to adorn your table next Thursday, I will leave you with a little selection:

Japanese Pumpkin Soup with Leeks
(Kabocha Soup)
Roasted Delicata Squash with Chickpeas, Potatoes, and Kale Whole Roasted Lemon Rosemary Chicken with Root Vegetables Pumpkin Puree and Pumpkin Ginger Cookies with Walnuts
Pear and Pomegranate Salad with Hazelnuts Homemade Ciabatta Bread Pear Brown Butter Buckle
Lemon Roasted Broccoli with Pine Nuts Pear and Pomegranate Salad with Hazelnuts Homemade Ciabatta Pear Brown Butter Buckle
Pomegranate Rosemary Focaccia with Dipping Sauce Skillet Cranberry Apple Crisp (Gluten-Free) Citrusy Kale and Avocado Salad Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Rosemary Butter
Pomegranate Rosemary Focaccia Skillet Cranberry Apple Crisp (Gluten-Free) Citrusy Kale and Avocado Salad Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Rosemary Butter

Print this recipe. (PDF)

RECIPE:

Pumpkin Cheese Blintzes
(Adapted from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich)

(Makes about 20 small blintzes, serves 4-5)

Active time: 1½ hours; Total time: 3½ hours (or 2½ hours and overnight)

Crepe Batter Ingredients:
~ 1 cup all-purpose flour
~ ⅛ tsp. salt
~ 3 eggs
~ 1½ cup milk (or almond milk)
~ ¼ cup water
~ ½ tsp. vanilla extract
~ 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
~ additional butter for cooking the crepes (2-3 Tbsp. total)

Filling Ingredients:
~ 5 oz. (⅔ cup) whole milk ricotta (or farmer’s cheese)
~ 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
~ ¼ cup sugar
~ ½ tsp. cinnamon
~ ¼ tsp. cardamom
~ dash of ground nutmeg
~ dash of ground cloves
~ ⅔ cup pumpkin purée
~ 1 egg

Ingredients for frying blintzes:
~ butter and/or vegetable oil (about 5-6 Tbsp. total)
OPTIONAL:
~ sugar (about 5-6 tsp. total)

Special equipment needed:
~ pastry brush
~ 5-6” non-stick skillet or omelette pan
~ wax paper

How to make it:

1. Make the crepe batter: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt, then set aside. In a medium bowl, beat the 3 eggs with a whisk, then mix in the milk, water, vanilla, and melted butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix well with an electric hand mixer. (Or place dry ingredients in a blender and gradually pour the wet ingredients in while the blender is running.) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.

2. Make the crepe filling: In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, sugar, and spices, and blend with an electric hand mixer, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Mix in the pumpkin purée, then the egg. Cover and chill while cooking the crepes (or for 15-20 minutes, if you’ve already made the crepes ahead of time).

Making the crepes for Pumpkin Cheese BlintzesMaking the crepes for Pumpkin Cheese Blintzes

3. Cook the crepes: Heat a small (5-6″) non-stick omelette pan over medium-high heat, and add a tiny dab of butter to the pan. Use a pastry brush to spread the butter evenly across the bottom of the pan, then pour in 2 Tbsp. (⅛ cup) of crepe batter and lift and swirl the pan immediately to spread the batter out evenly. Cook for 1 minute (on one side only), then use a spatula to carefully flip the crepe onto a piece of wax paper: cooked side up. Repeat for each crepe, stacking them between new sheets of wax paper. (If making crepes ahead of time, cover the stack of crepes tightly with plastic wrap and chill for up to 2 days.)

How to fill and fold blintzesHow to fold blintzes

4. Assemble the blintzes: Place a rounded tablespoon of filling near the bottom of the cooked side of a crepe. Roll the bottom of the crepe up over the filling and past the center, then fold the two edges in over the sides, like an envelope; finish rolling up the top of the crepe, and place the blintz folded seams-side down on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining crepes (you may end up with up to 1 cup extra filling, if your crepes are fragile and you fill them somewhat sparsely, but better too much than too little!). Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.

Pumpkin Cheese Blintzes waiting to be friedFrying Pumpkin Cheese Blintzes

5. Cook the blintzes: Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. of butter or vegetable oil (or half butter, half oil) over medium-high heat. Optionally sprinkle about 1 tsp. of sugar over the butter/oil before adding the blintzes. Fry blintzes for 1½-2 minutes on each side until blintzes are browned, then transfer to an oven-safe baking dish (folded sides down); Fry the blintzes in batches of only 3 or 4 at a time (adding more butter/oil and sugar in between batches), so that you have plenty of room to maneuver a spatula around them and flip them gently without letting them spill open. (I did this using two spatulas at once, to cradle a blintz from each side and lean it from one spatula to the other, and I didn’t have a single one break open or spill out any pumpkin-cheese.)  Once all of the blintzes have been fried and placed in the baking dish, transfer to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes until blintzes are crispy.

Serve warm with powdered sugar, sour cream, or maple syrup.

Print this recipe! (PDF)

Pumpkin Cheese Blintzes caramelized in butter and sugarPin it!

Pumpkin Cheese Blintzes caramelized in butter and sugarPin it!

Related recipe posts:

Crepes with Homemade Applesauce Pumpkin Pancakes Baked Brie with Fig Jam in Phyllo Dough Gingerbread Pancakes with Cinnamon Coffee Whipped Cream
Crepes with Homemade Applesauce Pumpkin Pancakes Baked Brie with Fig Jam in Phyllo Dough Gingerbread Pancakes with Cinnamon Coffee Whipped Cream
41 Comments leave one →
  1. November 21, 2013 9:15 am

    How did I miss the two holidays lining up? This is a great recipe and I can see why you would want to go back in time and have your parents make them. :)

    • November 21, 2013 11:37 am

      I’m glad you learned of Thanksgivnukkah in time for the actual holiday, since it’s a once-in-70,000 years event! And yes, there are so many things I would do if I could go back in time… including eating more blintzes. :)

  2. November 21, 2013 9:16 am

    Oh! Lovely!

  3. November 21, 2013 9:16 am

    mmmm! These look so delish!

    Christina

  4. November 21, 2013 9:45 am

    As a Jewish girl with a pumpkin problem (by problem, I mean fanatical obsession), I just love this recipe! LOVE LOVE LOVE. Thank you!

    • November 21, 2013 11:39 am

      Yay, I’m so glad to get a comment like this one! I know many people are obsessed with pumpkin—and I love it, too—but then I also worried that food blog readers may have felt like they overdosed on pumpkin already this season, so I actually haven’t posted any other pumpkin recipes this fall yet. But with this one I just couldn’t resist! :)

      • November 21, 2013 12:58 pm

        Im glad you like my comment. 😃 I’m also a huge fan of squash. I just made a roasted butternut squash alfredo that was to die for. It would work perfectly with pumpkin.

  5. November 21, 2013 11:34 am

    I haven’t heard of a blintz before but i sounds delightful, very flavoursome – everyone loves pumpkin :D

    Cheers
    CCU

    P.S I seem to have lost around 1000 subscribers on my blog and I don’t know how, so if you were subscribed, could you resubscribe please? it would really help me out :)

    • November 21, 2013 11:41 am

      Thanks, Uru!

      And oh my gosh, that’s so bizarre that a WordPress fluke like that had you lose followers; I’m sorry to hear that! I may not check in on your blog as often as I would like to, but I am definitely a devoted follower of Go Bake Yourself! (I just checked and WordPress had indeed unsubscribed me somehow… :( …anyway, now I am following you again.)

      • November 21, 2013 11:43 am

        Thank you so so much! I don’t understand why, I have contacted wordpress and the people I am transferring from :/
        I am letting all my blogging friends know and hopefully, it will be restored one way or another!
        You are a wonderful friend to have! :)

        Cheers
        CCU

  6. November 21, 2013 11:49 am

    Beautiful. I like that you used cream cheese and ricotta – what a perfect filling. These would be fabulous on Thanksgiving morning…

  7. November 21, 2013 12:42 pm

    Thank you for this post! I was looking for a good blintzes recipe because I have similar childhood memories only I’d go to Brighton Beach in Brooklyn. I have a similar understanding of tradition as you do. I’m definitely going to make these. Love your plates. I’ve never done a crepe or a blintz so this should be interesting.

    • November 25, 2013 9:41 am

      Nice! I’m not sure I’ve ever been to Brighton Beach despite my many many childhood visits to grandparents and various other relatives around NYC.

      Thanks for noticing the plates, too! I just got them from my grandmother (via my mother) after my grandfather passed away recently—my grandmother moved out of their apartment and wanted to clear it out and get rid of a lot of dishes. The plate with the thick blue flower petals is actually from Poland, so I thought that was very appropriate for blintzes! (The other plate—in the top-most and bottom-most photos—is from Tunisia.)

  8. November 21, 2013 1:49 pm

    These look great. Being Ukrainian I make these type of blintz with homemade farmer’s cheese and raisins…they are so good! For savory blintz, I make these with potatoes and fried onions.

    • November 25, 2013 9:43 am

      Oh my goodness, a savory blintz with potatoes and fried onions sounds amazing! And I’m not sure I’ve had a savory blintz before… savory knishes and pierogies, yes, but maybe never blintzes. I will make that my next blintz-making mission!

      • November 25, 2013 11:02 am

        If you do make those with potatoes and onions, be sure to serve them with a dollop of sour cream…delicious!!!!

      • November 25, 2013 11:08 am

        Yes, that sounds delicious! I’m so tempted to try making that soon… I even have sour cream in my fridge from making latkes last night!

  9. November 21, 2013 2:38 pm

    What a great post! I would love to make blintzes, I have to admit I am a little intimidated though. Your recipe sounds perfect.

    • November 25, 2013 9:46 am

      Thanks! I was totally intimidated, too, especially about getting them to seal shut (which they didn’t *completely*) and being able to fry them without any filling spilling out and creating a disastrous mess (which it didn’t!). I just handled them very VERY carefully while flipping them over in the skillet, and they all turned out perfectly!

      Since I’ve definitely failed at making far less complicated (e.g., cookie) recipes, I was so pleased that a recipe as time-consuming as blintz-making turned out just perfectly on the first try. :)

  10. November 21, 2013 5:58 pm

    I have NEVER had a blintze! But they look awesome! I have to get them into my life!

  11. November 21, 2013 5:59 pm

    This is why I follow your blog: fabulous recipes (pumpkin! blintzes! pumpkin blintzes!!!) with directions so clear even I can follow them. I love that you’ve told us how an eggier batter makes for more flexible crepes, and how cooking them only on one side works so much better for this application than, say, if you were just rolling them into a tube. Thank you, thank you, and have a very happy Thanksgivnukkah!

    (And what kind of crazy person thinks there’s such a thing as too much pumpkin?)

    • November 25, 2013 9:48 am

      Wow, thank you for your super sweet comment! It makes my day to hear that people are enjoying my selection of recipes (and wordy, thorough, careful instructions)!

      And you are right—there’s really no such thing as too much pumpkin (but I still think there *may* be such a thing as too much “pumpkin spice” everything, especially when some of those things are just seasoned with pumpkin spice, but don’t actually contain any pumpkin at all!).

      A very happy Thanksgivnukkah to you, too! :)

  12. November 21, 2013 6:08 pm

    I’ve never made a blintz, so I’m looking forward to trying this one out. I can never get enough pumpkin, even tho my mom has told me over and over they used to feed pumpkins to the pigs to fatten them up. Does that sound like a message there? Not too subtle either.

    • November 25, 2013 9:55 am

      I love all things pumpkin, too! I hope you get the chance to try out your first blintz-making experience sometime soon… it’s worth it! :)

  13. November 22, 2013 3:46 am

    I hadn’t heard of these before but they look divine!

    • November 25, 2013 9:56 am

      Thank you! Blintzes are an Eastern European treat that are often filled with sweetened farmer’s cheese or fruit of some kind… all I really did was add a little pumpkin! :)

  14. November 22, 2013 8:59 am

    Yes – love blintz! The pumpkin cheese filling sounds like the perfect festive treat!

    • November 25, 2013 9:57 am

      Thanks, Shelly! I know, these are definitely festive (especially if “festive” often goes hand in hand with “fried in butter”… :)

      I was thinking they’d be perfect for the morning of Thanksgiving, or any morning during that long weekend really!

  15. November 22, 2013 6:17 pm

    Thank goodness one doesn’t have to wait for the next Thanksgiving/Hanukkah convergence to have those!

    • November 25, 2013 9:59 am

      Yes! Thank goodness. (That should probably be the mark of a decent Thanksgivnukkah recipe—one that you’d actually want to make at other times of the year as well, not just once a year, let alone once every 70,000 years!)

  16. November 22, 2013 10:05 pm

    I definitely need more blintzes in my life! Creamy filling + fried exterior = all that is good in the world. I’ve never made them myself but I think I definitely need to make this recipe!

    • November 25, 2013 10:01 am

      Yes! You should try making these! (OR… as I often implore certain other bloggers who are creative geniuses like yourself, you should make up your own blintz recipe that I could try making! :)

      And you are totally right that creamy inside + crispy outside = all that is good in the world.

  17. afracooking permalink
    November 23, 2013 8:49 am

    I am going through a whole pumkin obsession at the moment and these just look FABULOUS!

  18. November 24, 2013 5:04 am

    So creative… I love it!! One of my coworkers was talking about what she wanted to make for Thanksgivnukkah. I’ll definitely have to pass this along and reccommend some of the websites you listed!!

    • November 25, 2013 10:04 am

      Thanks, Heather! Yes, please do! :) I actually hosted a small (early) Thanksgivnukkah dinner party *last night* and made a variation on the challah apple stuffing from that Buzzfeed post, which turned out deliciously.

      I also just posted my second Thanksgivnukkah recipe: Cranberry Swirl Challah!

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