Blintzes and crepes for Shavuos
By: Richard Pearce, Owner and Head Chef Totally Kosher
Shavuos is a celebration of the giving of the Torah. It is Hashem and His Torah that have preserved and been the motivating force of the Jewish people’s existence throughout the ages. Cultures, diets, languages, and countries of residence all change, yet Torah remains constant because it is founded on unconditional truth, the only kind of truth that can continue to insure the unique existence of the Jewish people despite all odds. The Torah was given by G-d to the Jewish people to keep and guard for all generations wherever we may find ourselves.
On the first day of Shavuos it is customary to serve a dairy meal. Cheese dishes, such as blintzes, are traditionally served. Many reasons have been put forth for this, one being that the Jews had just received the Torah which contains the laws of what one may and may not eat and as they were not yet well-versed in the laws of shechita (kosher slaughter), they refrained from eating meat.
So, my wife Danya asks me why, in our home, we don’t have a dairy meal on Shavuos. The answer is simple: I’m lactose intolerant.
Enjoy the recipes and chag sameach!
Blintze and Crepe
The basic blintze (parev)
1 cup flour
Pinch of salt
1¼ cups of water
2 Table spoons of vegetable oil
To make different colours one can replace a ¼ cup of water with beetroot juice for a light pink tone or strained spinach juice to make a green-tinged crepe.
The gluten-free crepe (Makes 6-8 crepes)
½ cup almond flour
2 tablespoons arrowroot flour (optional)
2 teaspoons honey (or other sweetener)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch sea salt
Olive, coconut, or avocado oil for frying
In a medium-sized bowl, break the eggs and whisk them until they are well-mixed. Add the flour(s), honey, vanilla, and salt and combine well. You are done stirring when there are no lumps in the batter; it should have a similar consistency to a heavy cream. Heat your pan hot enough that water will sizzle if you flick a few drops on it. If you have a cast iron pan, definitely use it; its heftiness allows it to get very hot and hold its heat very evenly for great results. Brush your oil onto the pan. Pour about ¼–½ cup of batter onto the pan and tilt and swirl it until it cannot get it any wider. Try to swirl it evenly so that it is nicely round, but don’t worry about it too much. Flip the crepe when the top is shiny and the edges are quite dull — this should only take about one minute so don’t walk away! Cook the other side for about one more minute. Serve your crepes with whatever toppings you desire, either folding them in half or in quarters, or rolling them up into delicious little tubes.
Goat cheese and courgette
6 spring onions, sliced
4-6 courgettes grated salted and strained to remove excess liquid
½ cup (125ml) grated mature cheddar
½ cup (125ml) crème fraîche
3 large eggs, beaten
1 roll goat cheese
Salt and milled pepper, to taste
Take the grated courgettes with the addition of a little salt, place in a strainer and allow all the excess moisture to drip out. Cut the spring onions finely and add to the courgettes that have been strained. In a separate bowl, mix the crème fraîche and eggs together, then mix with the courgettes and spring onions, and fold in the grated cheddar. Break up the goat cheese into small pieces and add to the finished mixture. Fill and fold into the blintzes or crepes and bake or fry as desired.
Spinach and feta
1 onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
400g baby spinach leaves, wilted
100g Feta Cheese, crumbled
½ cup Full Cream Milk, hot
¼ Cup Cream, warm
Salt and black pepper
Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute. Whisk in the hot milk and cook for 3 minutes. Add the cream and stir. Season with salt and pepper.
For the spinach, heat the butter in a pan over a low heat, cook the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Finely slice the drained and dried, wilted spinach. Stir in the spinach, cook for one minute and add the feta.
Sundried tomato and basil pesto
Sundried tomato paste
100g Sundried tomatoes
1 cup water
30 ml lemon juice
30 ml spirit vinegar
5g chopped garlic
15ml olive oil
3 tbsp. sugar
Place everything in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer until the tomatoes are soft. Allow the mixture to cool and then blend the tomatoes to a paste adding in a little liquid at a time, don’t make it too runny.
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (can sub half the basil leaves with baby spinach)
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts (can sub chopped walnuts)
3 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place basil leaves, nuts, garlic, and grated cheese into food processor and start to pulse blend the ingredients. Slowly add in olive oil and don’t make the mixture too runny. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Medley of mushrooms
2 tbsp. butter
1 large shallots, finely chopped
500g white mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
100g shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, cut into 1-in.-thick slices
100g oyster mushrooms (cut in half if large)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
1 tsp. lemon zest
Heat butter on medium-high. Add shallots and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms, garlic, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook 8 to 10 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and browned and liquid has evaporated, stirring frequently. Only add zest at the end or it will bitter the mushrooms. Fill the blintzes or crepes.
Smoked salmon and cream cheese relish
Cream cheese relish
250g Cream cheese
50 g Pickled cucumbers drained and strained, padded on a paper
20 g Spring onions
20g Chopped celery
1 Tablespoon brown onion soup powder.
Mix the ingredients above together to make the cheese spread. Spread approximately 2 tablespoons of softened cream cheese on the blintz or crepe. Cover with smoked salmon. Place spring onions, in a bunch, over the salmon. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the salmon. Roll up tightly and wrap in saran wrap. Place in refrigerator for at least a few hours or overnight. Slice and serve
The sweet cheese
1 tub smooth cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla essence
Mix all the ingredients together and spread on blintz or crepe.
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and salt and bring to a boil. Continue boiling, stirring continuously, until the mixture is dark, about 2 minutes. Allow to cool. Spread on the blintz or crepe and top with sliced bananas. Fold over and fry till golden brown.
Orange coffee and ricotta cheese
1 tub soft ricotta cheese
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp. orange zest
2 tbsp. orange juice
1 tsp. coffee powder
Mix all the ingredients together and fill the blintzes or crepes.
Wash and remove the stems and quarter 2kg of apples. Cook slowly in 2 cups of water, cider or cider vinegar. Put the fruit through a fine strainer. Add to each cup of pulp ½ cup of brown sugar.
3 tsp. of cinnamon
1 ½ tsp. of cloves
½ tsp. of all spice
Grated lemon rind and juice
Cook the butter over a low heat stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Spread a layer on your blintzes or crepes, roll, and enjoy. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar to enhance the flavour.