18 November 2010

Buckwheat Blinchiki (Naleśniki)

My Russian tutor mentioned blinchiki (filled blini, or crepes) the other day and I woke up yesterday thinking about them.  However, my early morning daydream centered on buckwheat blini and my mind wandered to a Polish version for the filling I had tasted many years ago in Detroit.  So here was yesterday’s breakfast:  blinchiki (or naleśhniki, in Polish) freshly made from scratch and filled with a sweetened cottage cheese, sour cream and egg mixture.

I first tasted these heavenly treats at a Polish festival in downtown Detroit the summer of 1971—and I went crazy for them.  Like all good Polish-Ukrainian girls, I wanted to make them myself, so after my aunt gave me a Polish cookbook (Polanie Club’s Treasured Polish Recipes for Americans, 1973), I tried them.  I wasn’t much of a cook back then and it was a miserable failure (I didn't know the Russian saying: Первый блин коман, which translates to: the first blini is always ruined, or I would have tried again!), but I kept the cookbook on my shelf and some thirty years later I tried them again.  This time they were heavenly and took me right back to that hot summer day in Detroit.

The big difference, of course, is that these blinchiki will not cause bloating and other nasty symptoms, because these babies are gluten-free.  My body doesn’t rebel when this mixture of buckwheat and all-purpose gluten-free flour hits my digestive system.  And the whole grain goodness of the buckwheat keeps my blood sugar from spiking and sending me into sugar shock. How did I do it, you ask? Here’s how:

Buckwheat Crepes 
1/3 cup each buckwheat and all-purpose gluten-free flour 
pinch of salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup each water and milk (recipe calls for dairy-free, I used 1% milk)
3T butter (recipe calls for dairy-free margarine, I used 2 T unsalted butter)

Cheese Filling 
(I used the one from The Russian Tea Room Cookbook then ad libbed)
1 lb large curd cottage cheese (strained) or farmer cheese or Tvorog 
(I used about 2/3 cup cottage cheese)
1 egg (I used half an egg)
1/2 cup sugar (I used 1/4 cup superfine sugar)
(I added 1/4 cup each nonfat plain Greek yogurt and nonfat sour cream because my filling was too watery given the lack of cottage cheese.  This makes it more like a Polish cream filling)

This is how I made them: whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and add the wet, then add 2 T of melted butter.  Heat a pan with a little more butter and make thin crepes.  When one side is done, spoon a heaping teaspoon of the cheese mixture into the center of the uncooked side of the crepe.  Let it cook briefly then fold over one side of the crepe, then the other, then after it starts to puff up, roll it over.  Let is puff up again and slide it out onto your plate.  Top with a bit of jam.

Don't blame me if you go back for seconds!

Karen, herself


Staci Joy Photography said...

Just to clarify, do you need buckwheat flour or just buckwheat? These look AMAZING and I want to make them for Christmas! My boyfriend's family has a crepe tradition, and since I've gone gluten free since last Christmas, I was sad that I was going to miss out. But not with this recipe -- you saved me!

Karen said...

Yes, you need buckwheat flour and an all-purpose gluten-free flour. Use half of each. Usually buckwheat flour alone is too strong a taste, although I have tried it in banana muffins and quite liked the outcome.

Staci Joy Photography said...

Thanks so much! I can't wait to try these!