Polish Crepes (Nalesniki)


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Eastern European and European roots run deep in the Anthracite region and these treats found their way into many Coal Region kitchens.  Polish nalesniki are crepe-like pancakes. Many folks know these as blintzes and eat them filled with jam, fruit, cheese or savory fillings.

What you call them likely depends on where you are from or where your ancestors are from; in Polish they are Nalesniki; in Hungarian palacsinta; Lithuanians call them naliesnikai; Ukrainians call them nalysnyky, and Romanians, clatita).  They can be made “thick” or “thin”.

I have chosen the “thick” recipe for this post in order for them to be more beginner friendly to those unfamiliar, or inexperienced, with making and cooking traditional thin crepes. This thicker version of Nalesniki is hearty and you can use them as a main dish if desired.

Filled nalesniki are often pan fried in butter or baked in a buttered casserole dish until the filling is set. Another option is to dip the rolled nalesniki in beaten egg and then fine, dry bread crumbs, and then fry in butter or a small amount of hot oil until golden all around.

You can roll them around their filling like an egg roll or burrito or spread with filling and fold in half, then half again. I have included a cheese filling for you in this recipe.  Jam or fresh fruit, Nutella or pie filling of your choice are also good options — use your imagination!

Perseverance pays off

When making crepes or nalesniki, don’t get discouraged if you are not turning out perfect results at first. Practice is needed to get to know your pan, stove, and the right temperature needed. Even professional chefs who are adept at making them usually have the first couple in a batch come out “off” until they get the temperature adjusted correctly.



Polish Crepes (Nalesniki)

Recipe by A Coalcracker in the KitchenCourse: Appetizers, Snacks, DessertsCuisine: Eastern European, Coal RegionDifficulty: Intermediate

Crepe-like pancakes filled with jam, fruit, cheese or savory fillings of your choice.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1/3 cup water

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Cheese Filling
  • 2 cups dry curd cottage cheese (or farmers cheese or ricotta)

  • 3 ounces cream cheese (softened)

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

  • In blender or food processor with metal blade, combine all ingredients and process until smooth. Transfer to a a large measuring cup or container. cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes (do not skip this step!)
  • Using 1/8th cup measuring cup or 2 ounce ladle, portion batter into a nonstick crepe pan or small non-stick skillet that has been lightly brushed with butter. Rotate pan and swirl batter until it covers the entire bottom of pan. Cook until lightly brown or spotted brown on one side, then carefully turn and cook the other side until light brown. You may need to do a few to get the hang of the pour, swirl, cook and turn routine.
  • Remove cooked crepe from pan and place on waxed paper or parchment. Repeat with remaining batter buttering the pan lightly for each crepe.
  • Serve immediately or wrap tightly and freeze up to 1 month.
  • To Fill: :Place 2 heaping tablespoons of the filling of your choice on each nalesniki and either roll like a jellyroll, OR fold the sides in first and then bottom, rolling away from you, as for an eggroll or burrito, OR fold in half, then half again.
  • Finish either by frying in some butter or small amount of oil, serve as is, bake in a buttered casserole to set cheese filling for example, or dip in egg wash then fine bread crumbs and fry lightly to brown all sides.
  • Cheese Filling
  • Place cheese in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth.
  • Add remaining ingredients and process until fluffy.
  • Divide filling among 12 crepes and roll.
  • Fry or bake to set filling.
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