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Eat, Drink + Think

Better-than-Ratner’s cheese blintz

If you’re from New York, the name Ratner’s gives you dewy-eyed nostalgia for the great dairy restaurant of yore. But I’m from LA, and Ratner’s just makes me think of my dentist, Dr. Farkas, whose office is on Ratner St. There’s a connection– Alex Ratner came west in 1914 to beat back tuberculosis, and he ended up doing better in real estate than he ever did in borscht and blintzes.

But for those nostalgic for a taste of the not-so-old country, Tori Avey posts the recipe for Ratner’s original cheese blintz, taken from the restaurant’s cookbook. By all means check it out. But I’ve followed it, and I can tell you: mine are better.

I use ricotta cheese, Meyer lemon zest and sour cream (or mascarpone) for a filling that makes these taste like cheesecake in blintz form. There’s a video below, embarrassingly old, of younger me making them with some great former colleagues.

Join Rob Eshman, national editor of the Forward and creator of @Foodaism for a live cooking demonstration of these lemon blueberry blintzes. Thursday, May 28 at 5:30 p.m. PDT/8:30 p.m. EDT. Facebook Live Jewish Daily Forward. Click here to watch.###

Blintzes, frying in butter.

Blintzes, frying in butter.

Lemon Ricotta Blintzes

(Makes 10 – 12)

FOR THE BLINTZES:

1 cup flour
1 tsp. sugar
½ t. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 tbsp. vegetable oil

FOR THE FILLING:

1 lb. ricotta cheese, at room temperature, drained
3 T sour cream or mascarpone
2 egg yolks
3 tbsp. sugar
½ t. Meyer or regular lemon zest
½ t. vanilla extract

1.Combine crepe batter ingredients in blender or bowl and mix until smooth. Let rest a half hour.

2.Combine filling ingredients in mixer or bowl and blend until smooth. (Use good quality, whole-milk ricotta. If very moist, drain in a cheesecloth-lined colander set inside pan for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. You can also use the more traditional farmers cheese, if you wish)

3.Heat a non-stick crepe pan or 8-inch skillet. Coat with oil or butter. Add ¼ cup batter and tilt pan to spread batter thin. Cook until set, then flip. Cook until dry, then turn out onto a plate. Repeat until all the batter is used. I layer baking parchment or wax paper between the crepes.

4.Spread 2 or 3 T. of filling along the bottom of a crepe. Roll up into a cylinder, tucking ends in before you finish rolling. Repeat until all the crepes are filled.

5.Heat 3-5 T. vegetable oil or clarified butter in a skillet, Add crepes 2-3 at a time and cook on each side until golden. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and fresh berries.

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