LESSON OBJECTIVES AND OUTLINE FOR TEACHERS
I. LESSON OBJECTIVES
A. The students will demonstrate their knowledge of proper cooking techniques by preparing the blintzes; thereby demonstrating that they know how to:
- Measure and combine ingredients.
- Use a food processor.
- Skillfully swirl crepe batter around a pan to fill it in.
- Recognize when the crepe is ready to come off the pan.
- Skillfully remove it from the pan and stack.
- Fold the crepe around the filling.
- Fry the blintzes.
B. The students will demonstrate their knowledge of the relationship of blintzes to the
holiday of Shavuot by completing the final Sample Test.
II. KITCHEN ORGANIZATION AND TECHNIQUES
1. This recipe divides the class into two groups. Filling and batter can be made at the same time, and crepes can be made and filled by the two groups working together.
2. It is best to let the batter stand for about 30 minutes before using to allow the flour to soften. It is not absolutely essential, but if you have a few classes, it is better to make the first batch ahead of time and let each class make the batter for the next class.
1. You will have far better success with this recipe if you use non-stick surface pans. It also goes much faster if you have a pan for each burner.
2. Instruct the students who are making the crepes to stir the batter with the ladle before they lift it out to make the next crepe. The flour tends to settle to the bottom, and the batter gets thicker as you continue, if you do not remember to stir each time.
3. The technique for tilting the pan takes a little practice in the beginning and works better if you pour the proper amount of batter in the center of the pan while beginning to tilt it and then swirling it around the edges.
4. It is worthwhile to invest in a very small, long-handled ladle for the purpose of pouring in the batter. If there is too much batter in the pan to form more than a very thin skin, it can be poured off back into the standing batter. A thick crepe will not fold up properly and may crack.
5. The crepe will not peel off the pan properly if it is not cooked enough.
6. It is only necessary to grease the pans lightly at the beginning as, after the first crepe is fried, they are tempered.
7. Leaving the fried crepes stacked between layers of waxed paper for a few minutes softens them and makes them easier to roll.
8. It is sometimes easier to bake the finished blintzes rather than frying them. To do this, brush melted butter on shallow baking pans, place a single layer of blintzes in them, and then brush the tops with butter. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown at the edges. Whether you decide to bake or fry depends upon your time frame and the logistics of the kitchen.
III. FOOD FOR THOUGHT
A. Why are cheese and other dairy dishes eaten on Shavuot?
1. Shavuot occurs during a season when grazing animals are giving birth and the pasture land is lush; thus, there is an abundance of milk during this season. (The holiday is celebrated on the sixth and seventh day of Sivan, and only on the sixth day in Israel. This usually corresponds to late May or early June.)
2. The Jewish people did not know about kashrut until they received the law and since they did not have time to prepare kosher meat, they had to eat dairy dishes instead.
3. The total numerical value for the Hebrew word for milk (halav) equals 40, which is the number of days Moses waited on Mount Sinai to receive the Torah.
4. Milk products are usually white, and especially to the Sephardim, white foods symbolize the purity of the Torah. (They prepare many special dishes with rice as well for this holiday.)
B. What other dishes are significant for this holiday?
1. Shavuot (meaning “Weeks” because it immediately follows the seven-week period when the Omer is counted) is also called Hag Ha’Bikurim, or Festival of First Fruits. It was originally a pilgrimage holiday to the Temple in Jerusalem to offer the first fruits of the harvest. In keeping with this, dishes incorporating new fruits that have not been tasted yet during this season are particularly appropriate.
2. In addition to the bikurim, or first fruits, two long loaves of bread baked from the new wheat were offered in the Temple as well. During this holiday, loaves are sometimes shaped like ladders representing Moses’ ascent to Mount Sinai to receive the Torah.
C. This lesson was particularly meaningful when used by the students to prepare meals for Kosher Meals on Wheels. Students not only prepared the blintzes, but packed 80 meals which also included applesauce and a vegetable into sectioned foil trays which were frozen and delivered by Kosher Meals on Wheels to elderly people who were unable to prepare meals for themselves.
MATERIALS LIST FOR CHEESE BLINTZES
- 1 dozen extra-large eggs
- 1 qt. milk
- 1/2 c. oil
- 2 c. flour
- 2 lbs. ricotta cheese
- 1 c. sugar
- butter for frying
- non-stick spray
- I pt. sour cream
- 6" skillets
- large dairy frying pans or foil trays for baking
- food processor
- plastic buckets
- crepe ladle
- waxed paper sheets
- large spoons
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- brush for butter (optional)
FOR THE STUDENTS:
“It is very traditional for Ashkenazic Jews to eat dairy blintzes on Shavuot. Not only are they filled with the customary cheese, but two of them, placed next to each other, look like the two tablets of the Ten Commandments that were given to Moses on Mount Sinai.”5
“Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Ten Commandments, the end of the barley harvest, and the offering of the first fruit at the Temple. It is customary to eat dairy dishes on Shavuot, especially those made with cheese. There are many explanations of this custom. One of them is that the Jews did not have time to slaughter animals and kosher the meat after leaving the Sinai; another is that the Torah is like milk and honey; and another is that the period of May to early June is the spring harvest season, when more milk and cheese products are produced.”6
CREPE RECIPE—GROUP 1
- 4 eggs
- 1-1/3 c. milk
- 1/2 t. salt
- 2-1/2 T. oil
- 1 c. flour
1. Put all ingredients into bowl of food processor and process for about 15 seconds.
2. Let stand for 30 minutes before frying.
FILLING RECIPE—GROUP 2
- 4 lbs. ricotta cheese
- 6 T. sugar
- 4 extra-large eggs
- 2 t. vanilla
- 1 t. cinnamon
1. Stir above ingredients together thoroughly.
MAKING THE CREPES—GROUP 1
1. Spray 6 or 7-inch skillets with non-stick spray lightly.
2. Heat until a drop of water froths but does not jump or sizzle.
3. Pour in just enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan.
4. Quickly tip and rotate the pan so the batter covers the bottom.
5. When the crepe looks dry around the edges and begins to curl from the pan, invert the pan over a sheet of waxed paper.
6. Stack the crepes in this way until you are ready to fill.
FILLING THE CREPES—GROUP 2
1. On the cooked side of each crepe and near an edge, place a rounded tablespoonful of cheese filling. Turn the edge of the crepe over the filling once, fold the sides up over this, and continue rolling the filling to form a rectangle.
2. At this point, blintzes can be put on buttered pans and frozen to be fried or baked at a later date.
FRYING THE CREPES—GROUP 1
1. Melt a pat of butter in a large frying pan on moderate heat.
2. When it just begins to sizzle, put in filled blintzes seam side down and fry until golden brown at the edges.
3. Serve warm with sour cream. Makes approximately 25.
5Text from Gloria Kaufer Greene, The Jewish Holiday Cookbook: An International Collection of Recipes and Customs (Published in the United States by Times Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto, 1985), p. 358.
6Helen Nash, Kosher Cusine, Illustrations by Pat Stewart, (Random House, New York, New York and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto. 1984), p. 305.
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