Friday, October 07, 2011

Blueberry blintzes

This recipe has been a long time in the making! I cut it out of a Martha Stewart Living magazine five years ago and kept it knowing that someday, I could make it lactose-free. Well, the day finally came! I now have relatively easy access to Tofutti’s Better Than Cream Cheese (also available in several places in Montreal, as I now know), and Lactaid now makes lactose-free cottage cheese. So I was all set, and the blintzes were delicious!  I absolutely loved them.

I was running low on vanilla beans. Normally, I buy them at a ridiculously good price at La Dépense, but I didn’t buy any over the summer. I figured that since I’m so close to Mexico, I’d just end up getting Mexican vanilla beans at a good price. It turns out that I haven’t found Mexican vanilla beans, and the beans I did find were totally overpriced. I’ve decided to save the two beans I have left for an occasion where they need to be used in presentation. I did, however, see this Chowhound video on how to make the most of your vanilla beans, and given the consistency of the seeds when they are used, I decided to finally give myself permission to crack open my jar of vanilla bean paste. It was the perfect thing to use, and I really wish I’d started using that sooner!

The crêpe recipe worked perfectly, and I didn’t even have to throw out the first one. That being said, as I’m writing out this recipe, I notice that the directions – but not the ingredients – call for ½ cup water. I hate when a recipe does that, because I often miss that water addition; now, I cannot for the life of me remember whether I used the water or not! I’ll add it to the ingredients below and hope I used it. I ended up straining the batter and letting it rest in the fridge. After that, I had a bit too much filling, so I served the rest on the side. I also found the filling a bit too liquid, so I would recommend straining the cottage cheese overnight before using it. On the bright side, it wasn’t too sweet; as a matter of fact, the Engineer said it had just the right amount of sugar. This recipe makes 8 blintzes, and I found that 1 per serving was sufficient.

For the crêpes
¾ cups + 2 Tbsp lactose-free whole milk
½ cup water
5 Tbsp unsalted butter or margarine, melted (divided)
2 large eggs
1 cup + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
¼ tsp coarse salt
3 Tbsp canola oil

For the sauce
1 pint (about 2 cups) blueberries
6 ½ Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp unsalted butter or margarine
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp cornstarch
pinch of coarse salt

For the filling
16 oz lactose-free cottage cheese, strained
4 oz Tofutti cream cheese, softened
½ cup + 3 Tbsp sugar
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved, bean discarded (or ½ tsp vanilla bean paste)
½ pint (about 1 cup) blueberries

For the crêpe batter
Whisk together milk, water, 2 Tbsp melted butter and the eggs in a medium bowl. Whisk in flour and salt. Strain the batter through a sieve and let it rest in the fridge while you continue the recipe.

For the sauce
Stir blueberries, sugar, butter, lemon juice, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring mixture to a low boil. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring often, until berries begin to break down and release their juices, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

For the filling
Purée cottage cheese, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla seeds in a food processor. Transfer to a medium bowl; stir in blueberries. Set aside.

For the crêpes
Stir together the remaining 3 Tbsp melted butter and the oil in a small bowl; reserve 4 Tbsp for cooking blintzes. Heat an 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Lightly brush pan using the remaining butter-oil mixture. Pour a scant ¼ cup batter into pan; swirl to form an even layer. Cook until bottom is lightly browned, about 1 ½ minutes. Using a heatproof spatula, flip crêpe; cook 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining butter-oil mixture and batter (I found that I needed to brush the pan again for every other crêpe).

Assembling the blintzes
Transfer a crêpe to a clean work surface. Spoon 2 heaping Tbsp of filling onto one end of the crêpe, 1 inch from the sides. Fold the edge over the filling; fold in the sides, and roll up. Repeat with remaining crêpes and filling.

Heat some of the reserved butter-oil mixture in a clean pan over medium heat. Working in batches of two or three, fry blintzes, turning once, until golden and crisp, 2 to 2 ½ minutes per side. Serve with warm sauce spooned over top. (Optional: dust with confectioners’ sugar or serve with a side of leftover filling, if any.)

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