Battle of the Blintz Returns – Russian Grandma’s Recipe Prevails!

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Sharon’s Cheese Blintzes reign supreme. Learn how to make them and how she won the second year of the Battle of the Blintz.

Note: Since this post was first published in 2011, much has changed. My son tragically passed away in 2017. But his blintz legacy lives on as Sharon makes her incredible blintzes for us each and every year. I have also created a jam in his honor – please read more about him and my new jam recipe in his memory: Gregory’s Jam.

two blintzes on red plate with strawberry jam and sour cream

In 2010, my brave and kitchen-savvy teenage son challenged his uber-talented Aunt Sharon to a blintz-off for our annual break-the-fast meal on Yom Kippur. It ended in a tie with Sharon’s crepes taking the lead but my son’s filling getting top nod.

In case you aren’t familar with cheese blintzes, a blintz is a cheese-filled pancake usually pan-fried in butter and served with jam and sour cream. The word blintz is derived from the yiddish word “blintze”  which is derived from the Russian word “blinyet”, which means little pancake. (Thanks to the Manischewitz web site for that linguistics lesson.)

Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement that comes ten days after the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. Traditionally, Jews fast and ask for forgiveness for their sins to start the year off with a clean slate. Come sundown, Jews across the globe scramble to the dining table to end their 24-hour hunger strike with dairy-based menus.

How the Cheese Blintz Battle Began

Aunt Sharon and Gregory in Sharon's kitchen

Aunt Sharon and her dueling blintz buddy – my late son Gregory Lee

Two years ago, we couldn’t attend Aunt Sharon’s annual gathering and my son decided he wanted her mouth-watering blintzes anyhow. So he headed to his infinite cookbook of the 21st century, the Internet, and found Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Blintz Recipe and proceeded to cook. They came out so well, he decided to make them again last year to compare to his Aunt Sharon’s (which are quite frankly a legend in our time – they are that good!) Low and behold – he almost won the battle but the crowd called it a tie.

Battle of the Blintz – Round 2

When our annual invitation arrived this year, I checked with my son and he quickly agreed to take part in Round 2 of the Battle of the Blintz. Despite his outstanding prep technique (see below), Sharon prevailed this year. He once again attempted to oven bake (yes, you can blame me) instead of fry and with her much improved filling over last year and her thin, crispy blintz leaves pan-fried in butter, the nod went her way. But even she admitted, his filling is OMG! Yummy (meyer lemon zest and ricotta soprafina take it over the top).

And the homemade strawberry jam he served with his blintzes almost elevated the outcome to a tie. (Disclosure: I made the jam – a mother will do almost anything to help her offspring – right?!) The jam was studded with a little fresh fig, vanilla, and a few splashes of a Mexican orange liqueur called 43.

blintzes frying in pan

The Winning Cheese Blintzes Recipe

Now onto the winning recipe and some more detailed photos and videos of my son’s blintz-making technique.

old cheese blintz recipe from Bon Appetit cooking series

Sharon’s winning recipe from an old Bon Appetit cooking series

Sharon explained that this recipe is from a series published in 1983, called Cooking with Bon Appetit, specifically the volume called “Breakfasts and Brunches.” Her mom gave her the series of books when she was first learning how to cook (must have been a dozen books, maybe more). She only kept two in her collection — this one, and one on breads.

The person who first showed her the recipe and served it to her was her best friend’s dad. “He made them for us to eat one day when I was in St. Louis for Betsy’s wedding which, as you know, was a million years ago! I make them in large batches and freeze them. Usually, I have about 3 dozen in the freezer, which we’ll eat between now and the end of the year. I usually fry up some over Thanksgiving weekend, when we often have guests.”

If you are now yearning for blintzes (and you should want to eat blintzes, trust me), then here’s a visual how-to of my 16-year old’s blintz-making techniques:

mise en place for making crepe batter, Gregory style

Ingredients ready to go for batter

Gregory making crepe batter in blender

Blending Batter Ingredients – so easy to do!

close up of Gregory's cheese blintz filling

The lemon zest-studded filling, blended in the Cuisinart

Gregory making his crepes

Preparing the crepes or blintz leaves

stacked cooked crepes ready to be filled

Blintz leaves separated by wax paper

Gregory folding a cheese blintz

Filling and rolling the blintz

tray of cheese blintzes ready to cook or freeze

Several artfully-rolled blintzes ready to cook

Have you ever prepared blintzes? Do you have a favorite recipe? Do you make something similar but with a different name and cultural background? Share your stories in the comments below.

two blintzes on red plate with strawberry jam and sour cream
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Sharon's Cheese Blintzes

Originally from an old Bon Appetit mini cookbook, this Russian Grandma's Cheese Blintz recipe is easy to prep ahead and cooks up in a flash on the stovetop. Perfected and made her own by a dear family friend - Sharon - these blintzes are legendary in their own time.

Course Breakfast
Cuisine Jewish Holiday Cooking
Keyword blintz, cheese blintz, Yom kippur
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 396 kcal



  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour


  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 8 ounces farmer cheese
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg
  • teaspoons vanilla

For Pan Frying

  • 2 tablespoons butter


Crepe Batter

  1. Place eggs, water and milk in blender and mix until combined.

  2. Then add slightly cooled melted butter and flour and blend until smooth.

  3. Refrigerate the crepe mixture for 1 -2 hours or even overnight.

Blintz Filling

  1. Add the cheeses, sugar, egg and vanilla to the bowl of a food processor and blend well. (You can also do this by hand - Aunt Sharon always does, Gregory used the processor.)

  2. This can also be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated for a few hours or overnight.

Make Crepes

  1. Use an 8-inch non-stick frying pan (or crepe pan if you have one). Heat skillet over medium heat until a drop of water bounces off the surface. (For extra insurance, you can also brush with a bit of melted butter.)

  2. Add a scant 1/4 cup of batter to pan when it is ready. Quickly swirl it around to cover the bottom of the pan and let it cook until the edges begin to curl and brown. Do not flip the crepe.

  3. If you are new to blintz-making, place crepes browned side up on a towel (place a piece of wax paper or parchment in between each just to be 100% sure they don't stick together) and cover lightly. Repeat with remaining batter - be sure to keep cooked ones covered as you make the balance of the crepes.

  4. When you are confident in your crepe-making, see notes below for Aunt Sharon's tips on speeding up the process.

Fill and Fold Blintzes

  1. To fill and fold each blintz, place 1 heaping tablespoon of filling down the center of the crepe. Tuck two sides toward the center. Then fold the two remaining sides like an envelope. Place seam side down on a parchment-lined tray or platter. Repeat with remaining crepes and filling.

  2. Now you can either cook them, refrigerate them covered, or freeze them for later use.

Cook Blintzes

  1. Heat two tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat or until butter is bubbly. Place blintzes seam side down in pan - do not crowd. Heat until browned on both sides. Serve immediately.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Sharon fills and folds the bilntzes as she make the crepes. This makes life easier, as you don’t have to layer the crepes with the wax paper. Here is how she does it. Make crepe. Turn cooked crepe onto clean dish cloth, cooked side up. Pour batter into pan and cook next crepe. While it cooks, fill and fold blintz. Put blintz on cookie sheet lined with wax paper or parchment. Freeze one sheet at a time, and then you can layer frozen blintzes in freezer container. Generally, she does this by herself, but a helping hand is always nice.

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24 Responses to Battle of the Blintz Returns – Russian Grandma’s Recipe Prevails!

  1. Little Cooking Tips June 9, 2015 at 3:42 am #

    Those look amazing Beth! So blintzes are the Jewish tradition’s blinis? Do we understand that correctly?
    We can’t wait to try your wonderful vanilla-cheese filling. Have you ever served that with honey on top? Does that sound good?
    Thank you both for the recipe and the insight into your culture/heritage.
    Panos and Mirella

    • Beth Lee June 9, 2015 at 9:56 am #

      Thanks for stopping by – I just love your enthusiasm for multicultural food! Blinis are actually the little buckwheat yeasted pancakes that usually serve as a vehicle for caviar. I would say these blintzes are more like the Eastern European version of a French crepe. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and the cultural context of the recipe. I have to give Tyler Florence most of the credit for the filling, tho my son and I do adapt as we continue to compete for the best blintz prize!

      • Little Cooking Tips June 9, 2015 at 11:13 am #

        Thank you for taking the time to clarify Beth! It’s true what you said about being enthusiastic, both of us (we’re a couple) love to learn new recipes and their link to a people’s culture. And Jewish culture, like ours (Greek), is immensely rich!
        Congrats both to Tyler, you and your son for this post. Excellent work!
        Have a beautiful week!
        Panos and Mirella

  2. Tori @ The Shiksa in the Kitchen October 19, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    Yay! I’m so happy to discover your site via Eating Rules. Battle of the Blintz = amazing! So much fun. Looking forward to reading your blogs. 🙂

  3. Andrea October 15, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    I come from a long line of crepe makers. Which has enabled me to never have to make a crepe myself. Ironic since I love to cook. But my dad has always made them.And then my sister. So I just skipped it. But I imagine I may need to try soon because this recipe looks amazing!

  4. Leah October 12, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

    These look exactly like the ones my mother and grandmother made. What memories!

  5. Martha Kokes October 12, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    I must second my hubby’s comment – the strawberry jam was KILLER!

  6. Bibi October 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    I absolutely love blintzes, but I never made them. One of the foods I look forward when visiting Vegas is breakfast buffet with blintzes.

    Stopping by from SITS. Nice to meet another food blogging sitsta

  7. Lana Watkins October 12, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    Beth, I find a few things more heart-warming than a child of mine cooking for the family! Bravo, Gregory! Those blintzes look amazing! I make crepes often, filled with jam, ground walnuts and sugar, lemon and sugar, Nutella:) I bet my girls would love Gregory’s blintzes (especially my oldest daughter who is studying Russian).
    We are food nerds, too! I sometimes center a meal around a holiday or a dish (any culture, any nation, any meridian:) and as we eat, we tell stories (I assign each of my girls a bit of research) and we learn.
    I hope your are getting along with the demands of the school year. I am still in Serbia and I miss my family, but I should be home in a month or so.
    Greetings, my friend!

    • omgyummy October 12, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

      Lana — so good to hear from you! Oh how I hope to join one of your “nerdy” family meals so I can learn too! I saw Ferran Adria of ElBulli fame speak in SF Monday night and he said he knows nothing of cuisine – meaning there is always so much more to learn than we can possibly know in one lifetime.

      I am really enjoying your posts from Serbia and hope you can come back with some peace of mind that you have truly done everything you can for your mom.

      I am coming to IFBC in November in Santa Monica so if you’re back – I hope to see you there! Or let me know when you are coming up to see your daughter at CAL and we’ll coordinate up here.

  8. Serene October 12, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    Oops, tried to post the photo and failed. The link to the photo is here, and here’s a last try at posting the pic itself:

    • omgyummy October 12, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

      Serene – those are beautiful! “Mom food” and “grandma food” at it’s best and loveliest!

  9. Serene October 12, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    Gorgeous! I recreated my aunt’s blintzes:

  10. Jay Mellman October 12, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    I know the post is about blintzes and I wait the entire year to have them. But what I was most taken with was the strawberry jam. For a condiment that usually ends up tasting mostly of sugar or sweetness, the jam tasted of the ripest strawberries with almost a caramel undertone. I’m still thinking about it.

    • omgyummy October 12, 2011 at 11:43 am #

      Sharon and I are still analyzing the blintzes and you are still thinking about the jam – what more could a food blogger hope for??!!

      I wrote about the basic jam recipes in this post ( From those two basic recipes, I have evolved a bit. I use far less sugar than they call for, tasting about half way through to check for the right sweetness. For the blintz jam, I added a teaspoon or two of vanilla and a shot of a Mexican liquer called 43 which has orange caramel flavors. I also had some fresh figs in the house and added about 3 of those.

      It’s really easy to make jam, if you’re not going through the canning process. Takes about 10 minutes to get going (have to wash and cut up the fruit, but once it’s on the stove, it’s a no-brainer. Just let the stovetop and pan do the work.

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  11. Sharon Vinick October 12, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    Aunt Sharon here . . . in looking at the pictures, I have a couple of comments that might be enlightening to anyone who wants to make the blintzes. First, I mix my filling by hand. I don’t know if that makes any difference. Second, I fill and fold the bilntzes as I make the crepes. This makes life easier, as you don’t have to layer the crepes with the wax paper. Here is how I do it. Make blintz. Turn cooked blintz onto clean dish cloth, cooked side up. Pour batter into pan and cook next crepe. While it cooks, fill and fold blintz. Put blintz on cookie sheet with wax paper. Freeze one sheet at a time, and then put into tupperware once it is frozen solid. Generally, I do this all by myself, but this year my kids helped with filling, and crepe making.

    • omgyummy October 12, 2011 at 10:21 am #

      OMG! Sharon – fabulous suggestions – that’s why you are the current champion – efficient and yummy. Doesn’t get any better than that 🙂 And the food nerd in me is just loving all of these technique details.

      And aren’t you the pillar of a good opponent, giving away all of your trade secrets for the good of the food community and your blintz-making nephew!

    • Serene October 12, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

      Oh, thank you for the tips! I think I’ll make some in my next big freezer-cooking session. Oh, man, the thought of having blintzes whenever I want them is almost making me cry! Yay!

      • omgyummy October 12, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

        Oh – my readers are talking to each other and bringing each other to tears over a blintz! I think this might be my best day ever as a food blogger!

  12. Sandy Corman October 12, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    OMG gregory’s blintzes look fabulous. Did he save some for his grandma & Papa? The best blintzes before yours & Gregory’s were Aunt Trudy’s and Grandma Reich’s. Man my mouth is watering at the thought.

    • omgyummy October 12, 2011 at 10:22 am #

      They were excellent, but Sharon’s were really fabulous this year – back to her true legendary form. Aunt Trudy and Grandma would have been proud of her too!

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