Fewer than 20 minutes drive from my house is a Polish food shop. Having a Czech husband, that store’s presence is valuable, since some products are the same or similar as ones he grew up with. They always have fresh blintzes for sale, which I especially enjoy eating. Since theirs are definitely not low calorie, I worked out a version that is diet-friendly, but still tastes plenty good.
The first step was to create a lower fat/lower calorie crepe for the blintz wrapper. To achieve this, you must have a non-stick pan (6 or 8-inch) and preferably a bit of non-stick cooking spray. Then, a tasty filling needs to be made. The filling below uses ricotta cheese with simple added flavors. I like to add a bit of fruit, as well. For my recipe, I used thawed frozen wild blueberries. These little buggers are super sweet and flavorful, and don’t even need additional sweetening. Other tiny (or chopped) soft fruit could be used instead, but check the sweetness. A little extra may be needed.
It’s your choice whether to make the ricotta filling first or the crepes. I usually make the filling first, and prep the filling fruit (in this case wild blueberries). I’ll label the filling step as #1.
Step # 1 – Blintz Filling (lowered fat and calories) – for up to 6 small blintzes
- 3/4 (three-quarters) cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 4 teaspoons sugar, to taste (or equivalent in sugar substitute, like Truvia)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, loosely packed
- In separate bowl: 1/2 cup of thawed and well-drained wild blueberries. Or, use the same amount of another soft flavorful fruit, but fresh, chopped into small bits (i.e. strawberries, ripe apricots, plums, red currants). If desired, add a small amount of sweetener, to taste. I do not recommend hard fruit, like apples, or ones that are excessively juicy when chopped. Alternatively, use your favorite no-sugar added jam of choice.
Mix the first four ingredients (through zest) in a small mixing bowl. Prepare fruit and put in a separate small bowl. Set both bowls aside, or refrigerate for later use.
Step # 2– Low Fat Crepes
The following recipe makes six, 6-inch crepes (or 5 or 6, eight-inch) for 5 or 6 blintzes. If you like, feel free to double (or triple) the crepe recipe. It’s always nice to have extra for other purposes. For example, many people like to top them with jam, cinnamon and sweetener, lemon juice and sweetener, or even ice cream. They also work great for savory dishes. Crepes will also freeze well, if individually stacked between sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap, and then put in a freezer container or on a plate covered well with foil or freezer bag.
- ½ cup all-purpose flour, carefully measured
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 2/3 (two-thirds) cup low-fat milk (I use 1%)
- Optional: 2 teaspoons sugar (or equivalent in sugar substitute)
- For pan: Cooking spray (i.e. canola flavor)
Measure ½ cup flour by gently spooning into measuring cup and leveling. Add to a medium-sized bowl, and then whisk in salt. Make a well in center and lightly whisk the egg and then slowly whisk in the milk. If using, whisk in the optional sugar (or sugar substitute). Sweetener is not required for the blintzes. Whisk the batter until it is smooth with no lumps. Let the batter sit for about 10 minutes before the cooking process. Important.
Heat non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Spray with cooking spray. Pour into the pan almost ¼ cup size of batter and quickly swirl to evenly coat pan bottom. Let cook until when checked (lift a little with spatula), there are light golden specks on the bottom (about 1 minute), then flip to briefly cook the other side (30 seconds or less). Remove crepe to a plate and lightly cover with foil or waxed paper. Repeat cooking crepes, adding a bit more spray, if necessary. Pile completed crepes on top of each other under foil. If making many crepes, consider using two pans (if you have two) to double the speed up the cooking process.
Step # 3– Assembling Blintzes
The following are instructions, followed by a coordinating diagram. [Sorry, I forgot to take actual photos.]
- Place 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of ricotta filling towards the bottom third of crepe, with enough room on the closest edge of the crepe circle to just fold over the filling. Before making that fold, sprinkle 1 tablespoon thawed and well-drained wild blueberries (or chopped soft fruit of choice) over the ricotta filling.
- Fold the crepe upwards over the filling, until it is just covered.
- Then fold in both sides of the crepe (over the covered filling) as if making an envelope.
- Roll filled crepe upwards to fully encase the filling.
Step # 4 – Final Reheating and Plating
If you have frozen leftover blintzes, I recommend thawing them before this step. To reheat blintzes, heat a non-stick skillet to medium-low. Spray with cooking spray. Put blintzes in pan and slowly heat, being sure not to burn. Turn over to the other sides and heat for a bit more. Alternatively, they could be microwaved. In this case, zap for no more than about 30 seconds. Plate and then decorate, if desired, with fresh berries or other fruit, and whipped topping or plain yogurt.
Note: Using wild blueberries in the filling, and sugar substitute (Truvia) for all of the sweetening, the MyFitnessPal calorie estimate is approximately 120 calories per blintz. This estimate does not include any final toppings for the blintz (i.e. whipped topping and extra fruit decorations).