July 27, 2012

Breakfast at home: Blintz-ish Casserole

I was looking for an at-home breakfast to make that stepped outside our regular fare, and stumbled across this recipe for a baked casserole that somewhat resembled a giant blintz. Since our breakfasts are usually savory, except for the odd pancake here and there, it was definitely outside our repertoire. Just to be safe, we added some bacon on the side to ensure we didn't collapse from an all-sweet breakfast.

The casserole was pretty easy to put together - it was ready to go into the oven by the time the oven had finished pre-heating. Essentially, you mix up a crepe-like batter, and layer it in a greased casserole dish with a ricotta-based creamy layer baked right into the middle. On its own it is mild and perhaps slightly bland, but with fresh raspberry sauce spooned overtop (and some bacon on the side), it's both unusual (for us, anyway) and kind of fun.

Now, I think a true "blintz casserole" would involve making up individual blintzes and baking them in a sauce, but the name does sort of capture the spirit of the ingredients, if not the labour-intensive work ethic.

Blintz-ish Casserole
Adapted from The Big Book of Breakfast by Maryana Vollstedt
Serves 4

Filling
70 grams cream cheese (light is fine)
200 ml ricotta or drained mild cottage cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Batter
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup orange juice

Fresh Raspberry Sauce
1 cup raspberries*
1 tablespoon sugar (or simple syrup)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon brandy (or orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier)

Prepare an 8" square baking dish by buttering it, or spritzing it lightly with canola oil. Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Mix together the filling, using an electric mixer, and set aside. If you want an extra bump of flavour and you have a lemon lying about, stir the zest into the filling. A touch of nutmeg might also be nice, but don't go overboard.

In a medium bowl, mix the butter, sugar and eggs and beat well. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and orange juice, and beat until smooth. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Gently spoon the filling over the batter, in small dollops, smoothing together gently into a single middle layer. Pour the remaining batter over the top, making sure all of the filing is covered. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Cut into squares, and serve with raspberry sauce spooned over.

To make the raspberry sauce, mash half the berries with the sugar in a small saucepan. Combine the orange juice and cornstarch, and mix until smooth. Add to the crushed berries. Heat the mixture, stirring constantly, until bubbly and thick, and the cloudiness from the cornstarch is gone. Remove from the heat, and stir in the whole berries and the brandy. Allow the sauce to cool while the casserole cooks, and serve in a dish or sauceboat for people to serve themselves. Leftover sauce makes a great smoothie base, too.

*Obviously, you can pretty much substitute the berry of your choice here: blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, huckleberries - peaches or nectarines would be nice, too.

3 comments:

Deetsa said...

Blintzes look like something I'd love. I wonder why I've never tried them before.

yesteryum said...

Oh dear... I think that comment about not trying blintzes went under my old name. I used to be Deetsa. Now I'm Yesteryum.

Dawna said...

Hi Yesteryum (formerly Deetsa)! Thanks for stopping by. Blintzes are ultimately an iteration of the magnificent pancake/crepe family, by way of north eastern Europe. As always, tracing the cultural roots of such dishes yields great ideas for filling/wrapping/ and apparently even casseroling...