Now there’s a word–and food– that hasn’t passed my lips since going gluten free over a decade ago.
I’ve scarcely even thought of blintzes in that time, until recently when I was challenged by my friends at Green Valley Organics Lactose-free, for whom I serve as consulting dietitian, to come up with some recipe ideas for the Jewish holiday of Shavuot in May. (Cue FTC disclosure music here!) Shavuot being a holiday in which it is customary to eat dairy foods, my mind went straight to Cheese Blintzes.
And once I got cheese blintzes on the brain, I wasn’t able to shake them.
The problem, of course, is that cheese blintzes are a veritable digestive Armageddon for people like me. All that lactose-rich creamy filling… the flour-based crepe… the dollop of sour cream on top… I’m getting cramps just thinking about it.
It didn’t take long, however, to find workarounds to all of these problems. The biggest hurdle, as it turned out, was convincing myself that I am indeed the type of person who makes Cheese Blintzes from scratch. The last person on earth who made cheese blintzes from scratch, and this is a well-documented fact on Wikipedia, was my Grandma Esther (whose Salmon Croquette recipe you can snag here). And sometimes even *she* bought the frozen ones.
You can imagine, then, my sheer surprise and delight to discover that making Cheese Blintzes from scratch is fast fast fast! And easy! It requires a very small number of ingredients which get combined in a matter of seconds. The filling need not be cooked… just measured out and mixed. You make some pancakes, scoop some filling, wrap the blintzes, and bake for 10 minutes. It was faster than cooking a pot of rice.
The blintzes turned out to be pretty freaking spectacular. The crepe was so spongy, the filling so creamy and sweet… this gluten-free, lactose-free version is not compromised in any way from the original. I daresay I even like it better.
Once you’ve made these blintzes, check out my gluten-free, lactose-friendly version of Grandma Mary’s Noodle Kugel… another Shavuot classic in which you can utilize the remainder of the Sour Cream and Cottage Cheese called for in the blintz recipe below. It’s a shanda to waste food, after all!
Gluten Free, Lactose Free Cheese Blintzes
Recipe adapted from Living Without Magazine
For the crepes (yields about 8):
- Vegetable oil, for greasing pan
- 3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 cup gluten-free all- purpose flour blend* of choice, more if needed
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum (use only if all-purpose flour blend does not contain xanthan or guar gum)
- 1½ cups lactose-free milk of choice, room temperature; more if needed
- 1 cup Green Valley Organics® Lactose-Free Sour Cream
- 1 cup Lactaid® cottage cheese
- 1 tablespoon sugar (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*Note the difference between GF All Purpose Flour Blends vs GF All Purpose Baking Mixes. You want the former. The baking mixes contain chemical leavening agents like baking soda or baking powder and are NOT suitable for this recipe. Also, read the ingredients of your All Purpose Flour blend. If it contains xanthan gum or guar gum, you can omit the xanthan gum called for in the recipe, or add it sparingly as needed to achieve the desired texture of your batter.
- Lightly grease an 8- to 10-inch nonstick skillet with vegetable oil, like grapeseed or canola oil, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and butter until well combined. Mix the flour blend with the xanthan gum and blend into the egg mixture. Pour in the milk in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until batter is smooth. Add more milk or flour by the tablespoon, if necessary, to ensure a smooth and thin batter.
- Heat prepared skillet over medium heat. Using a large ladle or spoon, place a generous ~¼ cup batter into the center of the hot pan, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan in an even layer, taking care not to spread the batter too thin. (If batter is too thick and resembles more of a thick pancake than a larger, thinner crepe, you may need to add more milk. If it’s too thin and your crepe isn’t taking shape, try adding a smidge of xanthan gum. Results may vary based on the brand of flour you’re using.)
- Cook the crepe until edges begin to brown slightly, about 2 to 3 minutes, and flip with a wide spatula. It will flip easily when ready. Cook the other side for about another 20 to 30 seconds until the pancake is set. Turn the pancake onto a plate lined with a moist tea towel and cover to keep warm.
- Repeat with remaining batter, layering pancakes one on top of the other. Cover after each addition. You do not need to re-oil the skillet in between pancakes.
- In a medium-size bowl, mix filling ingredients until well combined. You will likely have some extra, which you can use as a topping. Alternatively, save it for breakfast tomorrow and use it as a spread for toasted gluten free Cinnamon Raisin bread.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- To assemble blintzes, place one pancake flat on a plate. Place 2 TBSP filling on the flat pancake, about one-third of the way from the edge closest to you. Fold the bottom of the pancake over the filling, turn in the sides toward the middle and roll away from yourself to create a cylinder. Repeat with remaining pancakes. Fear not if the filling seems a bit too liquid; just wrap it carefully and place open seam down on the baking pan. It will all firm up during baking, and will turn out better than you could have imagined.
- Place rolled blintzes in preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. (Alternatively, you can sauté blintzes in a bit of butter or oil in a pan over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes, flipping halfway through the process. I baked them.)
- Let blintzes sit for a few minutes before plating and serving to allow filling to set. Serve warm or at room temperature, plain or garnished with extra filling, lactose-free sour cream, or fruit compote.
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