Maslenitsa | Crepe Week, Day 1 | Melt-in-Your-Mouth Poltava Crepes

Pun Intended

Apparently, “Maslenitsa, Blin!” is a popular name for Maslenitsa cultural events and title for related articles. While Russian-speaking authors and readers enjoy the pun, I wonder how many non-native speakers know about it. Nevertheless, Maslenitsa is coming! Maslenitsa (Ukrainian: Masnytsya, aka Crepe week) is an Eastern Slavic religious and folk holiday, celebrated during the last week before Great Lent. This year, it starts on February 12.

The Best Recipe

Ask any European home cook, and they will claim their crepes recipe is the best. Some of us are loyal to our family recipes. Others try the recipes shared online until the best to taste is found. My quest ended years ago when I discovered my favorite. I still explore other highly recommended recipes out of curiosity, but “mine” is the one I truly enjoy. What makes it special? The crepes are delicious as plain as served with any sweet and savory additions. Eat them hot, right from the pan or reheated after a few days of being refrigerated — the foodgasm is inevitable.

Since my favorite crepes recipe is terrific for a variety of dishes, I decided to share the best serving ideas of this season. Some of them are quite simple and fun for crowd-pleasing, while other approaches are practical. Neither of them is low calorie, so beware!

Let’s Cook Together! Day 1

Only twice in my life, I had a chance to eat Poltava nalysnyky (Ukrainian crepes) with homemade tvorog (See Recipe Notes about tvorog). Thin and lacy, crepes were quartered, rolled with cheese, layered with sour cream and honey in a deep buttered dish, and slowly cooked for hours in a residual heat of a wood-fired oven. Every bite was like sweet nothings whispered in my ear! (Many bites later, I asked how this goodness was made and realized it was didko (one of the names for the devil in Ukraine) whispering…) The recipe below is inspired by didko my memories about eating good food in Poltava region and adjusted to inexpensive ingredients we can find in a regular supermarket in the U.S.

If you have good tvorog and sour cream with high-fat content (fat-free dairy products are not acceptable for this recipe!), use them. Otherwise, follow the recipe below with more available ingredients: substitute tvorog with whole milk ricotta and sour cream/crème fraiche — with heavy whipping cream. The flavors won’t be the same, but the melt-in-your-mouth sensation will be there. During the second cooking, crepes absorb moisture and flavors of cheese and cream and that’s what makes them absolutely fantastic. To add tartness, serve crepes topped with fresh raspberries or drizzled with tart fruit syrups.

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Poltava Crepes

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time2 hrs 5 mins
Course: Appetizer, Dessert
Cuisine: Eastern European
Servings: 2 portions

Ingredients

main

  • 4 each crepes
  • 160 g whole milk ricotta or whole milk tvorog, preferred
  • 160 ml heavy whipping cream or crème fraiche, preferred

optional toppings/additions

  • 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 pint raspberries fresh

Instructions

  • Preheat oven 275F. Quarter 4 crepes. Fold 1 tsp of cheese into each quarter.
    Making Poltava Nalysnyky
  • One deep 5" D ramekin fits 1 portion.
    Making Poltava Nalysnyky
  • Add hot cream and drizzle with honey. I added 2 pieces of chocolate to melt in the center. Cover ramekins with foil and bake for 1 hour.
    Making Poltava Nalysnyky
  • It will be tempting to eat them hot, but be patient and let the crepes cool to room temperature. They are the best warm.
    Poltava Nalysnyky
  • You can make them in advance in a large baking dish, let cool, and refrigerate covered. When cold, they are firmer, easier to handle and serve. You can plate them first and slowly warm in the oven before serving.
  • Poltava Nalysnyky

Notes

About Maslenitsa By Josh Wilson:
Maslenitsa, Blin!
Maslenitsa — wiki
Dictionaries usually translate TVOROG as curd cheese, cottage cheese or sometimes farmer cheese. In some countries, it is classified as fresh acid-set cheese, though in Slavic cuisines it is traditionally considered a distinct fermented milk product. It is made by warming soured milk until the desired degree of coagulation (denaturation, curdling) of milk proteins is met, and then strained.
Traditionally, raw milk is placed in a warm place (24-26C/75-78F) for 24-48 hours to ferment by naturally present lactic acid bacteria. To start the process of fermentation in pasteurized milk, we need to add mesophilic Lactococcus starter cultures. To make kefir cheese, add kefir grains to a room temperature milk. When fermented, slowly heat kefir in a water bath to 50-55C/122-131F to coagulate (curdle) milk proteins. Strain separated whey, and your cheese is ready to eat. It can be stored in a refrigerator for up to 3 days. Kefir cheese or tvorog can be used as an ingredient in sweet and savory dishes. For desserts, sugar, vanilla, and raisins are often added to the cheese. To enjoy authentic flavors, try serving it as is with a little bit of good honey on top.
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