A Sweet Yom Kippur Tradition
Debbie Timen has been making cheese blintzes since she was 11 years old, when she stood beside her grandmother in the kitchen and learned the family recipe. Although her grandmother passed away only two years later, she made a life-long impression on Deb. A perfect balance of sweet and savory, blintzes are a long tradition for breaking the fast after Yom Kippur. It is thought to be easy on the stomach after fasting for 25 hours. According to epicurious.com, “…it is common to serve dairy-focused dishes—rather than meat-based ones—because many people find them easier for empty bellies to digest. A typical spread includes bagels with lox and cream cheese, baked casserole-style dishes like strata and kugel, blintzes and assorted cookies and cakes.”
Debbie invited us to join her in her beautiful new home in Bluffton for an afternoon of learning how to make blintzes. It turned out to be a family affair with an amazing special moment—read on! Laurie McCall and I settled into Deb’s kitchen and watched her as she made crepes, the first step in a four-step process. She had already made the filling before we arrived.
As she was cooking crepes one-by-one in an old, small frying pan, which has celebrated many Yom Kippurs on Deb’s stove, her daughter, Shawn Gorlich, arrived with her precious 21-month old son, Sawyer, in tow. Soon after, Ken, Deb’s husband, arrived, too. It’s as if the delicious, permeating smell of tradition wafted through the Lowcountry to call her loved-ones home.
Finishing up what was now a nice stack of crepes, Deb began to fill each crepe with the lightly sweetened cream cheese filling and roll them “burrito” style. She then beckoned Ken. “Are you going to fry them? You always fry them.”
Ken took his stance at the stove and begin his part of this age-old family tradition. It was easy to see he enjoyed this duty. As we talked and laughed, we all kept one eye on Ken, awaiting the final tasks—tasting, eating, enjoying, and savoring.
Once he was done, Deb put two on each plate, topped them with sour cream and blueberry pie filling and we all set down to the table to enjoy. “My family loves them. They are time consuming, which is fine. I don’t make them that often,” said Deb about the blintzes. They were delicious and well worth the time, but the most special moment came when Shawn fed Sawyer a bite. He loved it. This was his very first taste of his grandmother’s blintzes, which is now four generations strong.
2 (8 oz.) pkgs. Farmer’s cheese
1 (8 oz.) pkg. Cream cheese
⅓ cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 cup All-purpose flour
⅛ tsp Salt
1½ cups Milk
2 Tbsps Melted butter or oil
1 can Blueberry pie filling
1 (8 oz.) Sour cream
Make the Filling: In a mixer, blend all the filling ingredients together and set aside.
Make the Crepes: Sift flour and salt. Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly. Gradually add milk, mixing until blended. Add melted butter or oil and beat until smooth. Let batter stand for 1 hour before cooking crepes. Spray a small non-stick frying pan with Pam. Put enough batter into the pan to form a thin “pancake.” Cook until done, flipping once. Makes about 18 crepes.
Fill and Roll the Crepes: Once all the crepes are cooked, fill each one with a few spoonfuls of filling and roll up like a burrito, closing the ends so the filling stays in.
Pan Sear/Fry the Blintzes: In a large fry pan, melt enough butter to just cover the bottom. Fill the pan with several filled and rolled crepes at a time and cook until lightly browned and heated through. Remove from pan when done.
To serve: Place one or two blintzes on a plate and top with sour cream and blueberry filling (optional).