Stone soup is overrated and recipes from children’s books seldom appeal to me. Several months ago, however, our family received a wonderful book from the PJ Library.
We sat down to read A Mountain of Blintzes, which is about a poor Jewish family living in the Catskills in the late 1920’s. This loving family wanted to make blintzes for Shavout, a Spring holiday. Recognizing that they couldn’t afford the ingredients, each family member took on an extra job without telling the other. The story culminates in the making of a mountain of blintzes, which the family spread jam on, then feasted on around a festive holiday table.
For months, Caleb and Sadie have been begging to make the recipe from Mountain of Blintzes. This weekend, with all of the ingredients in our pantry, we finally did.
On Sunday morning, the kids took turns pouring, mixing, and assembling the ingredients and before we knew it, we were gently placing our neatly folded blintzes into a pan of sizzling butter. When each side had turned golden brown, we put the blintzes in the oven. Next, we prepared a simple berry sauce on the stove top. In about 45 minutes, we had our own ‘mountain of blintzes’. Well, not really. They were gorgeous looking, but a little too delicate to pile on top of each other.
I placed a spoonful of warm berry sauce atop each golden blintz and passed the plates around the table. The blintzes were sensational and elicited rave reviews from each family member. This may not be Spring, but there was nothing unseasonable about this recipe. Spirits bloomed, our family came closer together, and our bellies were well-rewarded for our hard work. We were even treated to an impromptu performance from Mateo who is teaching himself guitar on the weekends.
Later in the day, when we were walking with the kids, Sadie volunteered, “I liked the blintzes, but I don’t think we made a mountain!” We laughed and I thought, but like in the book, the family came together and did everything it took to make and enjoy blintzes. I was grateful too for the inspiration to make food from our roots.
A Recipe for Your Own Mountain of Blintzes
Adapted from the book by Barbara Diamond Goldin
3 large eggs, well beaten
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup water
¾ cup flour
Filling (mixed together in separate bowl)
1 pound dry cottage cheese or drained regular cottage cheese
¾ tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
Dash of salt
1 bag frozen mixed berries from TJ’s
4-6 tablespoons sugar (to taste)
½ lemon squeezed
1 tablespoon flour
Butter for frying; sour cream, jam, and cinnamon for topping.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine eggs, salt, and water, and beat well. Gradually stir flour in until batter is smooth, with a syrupy consistency.
Grease a six-inch frying or crepe pan (we used a pancake griddle). Spoon enough batter to make a thin pancake. Tip the pan from side to side to spread the batter. Cook both sides of the pancake over medium to high heat, until lightly browned all over. Turn the pancake out onto a clean plate.
To fill the pancake, spoon a generous tablespoon of the cheese mixture onto the center. Fold in the sides and the ends to make an ‘envelope’ around the filling. Set aside. Continue making pancakes until all the batter and the filling have been used.
To make the sauce, add the frozen berries to a small saucepan, along with sugar and lemon juice. Cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat until berries have softened, then add flour to thicken (whisk, until flour has dissolved into sauce).
To serve, stack the blintzes to look like a mountain on a serving plate (ours were a little too delicate for this). You can also sprinkle cinnamon, and serve with sour cream, jam, or my quick berry sauce.