Seven weeks after Passover, just as spring begins to bloom into summer, the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (in English, “weeks”) is celebrated. It originated as an agricultural festival, marking the end of the grain harvest and the beginning of a new agricultural season when the first fruits were brought to the Temple in Jerusalem. (Later, the focus of the holiday shifted to commemorating the gift of the Torah to the Jewish people on Mt. Sinai.)
For Shavuot, it is customary to eat light dairy dishes and desserts—most notably sweet and savory versions of blintzes. Two blintzes stuffed with sweet, creamy cheese filling perched side by side atop a pool of jewel-toned berry sauce evoke Torah scrolls. The lush fruit sauce makes use of the first fruits of the new summer season—a nod to Shavuot’s early roots.
In this recipe, the toasty-edged blintzes are stacked between layers of cheese filling to create a multilevel vertical take on traditional Ashkenazic blintzes.
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 to 3 teaspoons butter, for frying
* Whisk together the eggs, milk, butter and salt. Slowly whisk in flour to create a smooth, thin batter with the consistency of heavy cream. Cover, and chill batter for at least 30 minutes.
* Heat a nonstick skillet with an 8-inch base over medium-high heat, and add a quarter teaspoon of butter. Pour a quarter cup of the batter into the center of the pan, and tilt in all directions until the batter coats the bottom evenly.
* Cook until the edges begin to brown and lift from the sides of the pan (about 1 minute). Flip the blintz over, and cook 20 to 30 seconds.
* Stack the blintzes on a plate as they’re done; they won’t stick together.
* Keep the blintzes in the fridge, wrapped in plastic, for up to three days. To freeze, place sheets of wax paper or parchment paper between every few blintzes, so that it’s easy to remove as many as you need. Wrap in plastic and store in a freezer bag. Thaw blintzes to room temperature before using.
Sweet Cheese Filling Ingredients:
1½ cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1½ cups cream cheese
1 teaspoon fresh lemon rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 to 7 tablespoons granulated sugar
Sweet Cheese Filling Directions:
* With a hand mixer or a wooden spoon, combine all the ingredients.
Berry Sauce Ingredients:
2 cups blueberries, chopped strawberries or pitted cherries
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup sugar
½ cup water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Berry Sauce Directions:
* In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring all ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Cool before using.
Directions for Assembling the Stacked Blintz Cake (Yields 10 Blintzes):
* Lay one blintz on a cake stand or platter. Spread a generous quarter cup of the sweet cheese filling smoothly over the surface of the blintz, leaving a quarter inch border all around. Lay the second blintz on top, and repeat this process until the cheese filling is finished. Spread a thin layer of the sweet cheese on the top blintz.
* Cover loosely with wax paper or parchment paper, and chill for at least 2 hours (or up to overnight).
* Before serving, spoon the fruit sauce (and a few dollops of sour cream or Greek yogurt, if desired) over the top, allowing it to run over the sides and pool at the bottom of the plate. Cut the blintz cake into slices. Save some sauce to spoon over each cut and plated slice.
Rachel Harkham’s cookbook “Get Cooking! A Jewish American Family Cookbook,” written with Doni Zasloff Thomas, will be available this fall.