If you want to serve something special to break the fast on Yom Kippur, consider blintzes. These are very thin pancakes folded around a cheese filling and topped with butter, jam, berries or sour cream.

If you want to serve something special to break the fast on Yom Kippur, consider blintzes. These are very thin pancakes folded around a cheese filling and topped with butter, jam, berries or sour cream.

"They are truly, truly special,'' said Renee Rudolph of Hingham, who makes the recipe she enjoyed as a child growing up in South Africa. "My mother had what you could call golden hands, and these blintzes are flavorful and moist.''

Blintzes – whose name comes from the Yiddish word "blintze'' – suit well the evening meal at the end of Yom Kippur, a day of reflection and repentance at the end of the 10-day period known as The Days of Awe or The High Holidays, which began Monday evening on Rosh Hashanah.

When Yom Kippur begins at sundown Oct. 8, Jews will refrain from eating until sundown the following day and will spend most of the day at synagogue services. After, family and friends will gather for a meal that traditionally resembles brunch more than dinner. It’s usually dairy-based, designed to be light on the stomach and easy to serve.

"You don’t want to eat something heavy,'' said Rudolph. "I don’t know many people who break the fast on meat.''

Served warm, blintzes complement the typical spread of bagels with cream cheese and lox (smoked salmon) and selection of white fish, egg and fruit salads. However, you must prepare them ahead of time and reheat briefly in the microwave or buy them frozen and sautee, because they are too time-consuming to make just before the meal.

But people who love blintzes say they’re worth the effort.

"They’re delectable,'' said Steve Robbins, owner of Maxie’s Deli in Stoughton, which makes them fresh each day for eat-in and sells them frozen for take-out. "They’re popular year-round.''

In some ways, blintzes are easier to make than French crepes, since the batter is cooked only on one side and doesn’t need to be flipped. But each crepe needs to be made separately, and the first few may be unusable as the heat and cooking time are adjusted. What you’re aiming for is a very thin crepe that is tender, not rubbery.

"People get frightened by making the crepes,'' said Rudolph, a former kindergarten teacher at Derby Academy and an experienced cook who often prepares community shabbat dinners at Temple Sha’aray Shalom in Hingham. "It really is not hard, but you have to make sure your pan doesn’t get too hot. And you want them to be very light and thin, so you’re not cutting through a quarter of an inch of dough to get to the filling.''

Depending on the recipe, the cheese filling is made from some combination of cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, sour cream and/or farmer’s cheese.

As they’ve done with other traditional foods, creative chefs have devised variations. In a nod to fall, you can add grated apple to the cheese mixture or make a butternut squash filling.

But cheese by far has the most appeal. Robbins makes Maxie’s blintzes with farmer’s cheese, because "that gives them a natural sweetness,'' and Zaftig’s Delicatessen in Brookline adds lemon zest to farmer’s cheese for "a little freshness,'' said owner Bob Shuman, whose restaurant offers blintzes as an appetizer and a breakfast item.

Rudolph mixes cottage cheese and sour cream, but what makes hers stand out is that they are baked in a bath of milk and cream. Typically, people do not bake blintzes after filling the crepe. Instead, they serve them directly after frying and top them with sour cream, applesauce, blueberry sauce or fresh berries.

There’s another reason why blintzes may be a good choice for Yom Kippur. The attention required to make them can prepare you for the day of reflection.

"It’s a holiday of awareness and a pensive time,'' said Rudolph. "You’re aware of your body because you’re hungry, and you’re also aware of where you’ve been and where you’re going.''
Reach Jody Feinberg at jfeinberg@ledger.com.

Makes 2 dozen

Start with a 6-inch frying or crepe pan, a Pyrex dish, a fine sieve, and clean dishtowels
Set oven at 350 degrees
4 eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup flour, sifted
pinch of salt
canola oil and butter for frying

2 cups smooth and creamy cottage cheese
2 eggs
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon sugar or to taste
1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup light cream
2 tablespoons butter
Batter: Combine eggs and milk and beat well. Add sifted dry ingredients. Beat until smooth. Grease pan with a little oil and butter and heat over medium flame. Pour a thin layer of batter, about 1/8 cup, in the center of the pan and move the pan until batter spreads. Fry one side only until little bubbles appear on the edges and the crepe looks solid, about 20-30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat, flip over, and bang lightly until the crepe falls onto the dish towel.
Filling: Combine all the ingredients by hand. Press through a fine sieve to remove liquid. Spoon 1 tablespoon onto the crepe. Make into a square by folding one side over, the bottom up and the top down, and then the second side over. Arrange in a lightly buttered Pyrex. Finish: Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle generously over blintz. Dot with butter. Mix the milk and cream and pour evenly over blintzes.
Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes. Serve immediately.

Courtesy of Renee Rudolph, Hingham

2 tablespoons butter
2 pints blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 lemon, juiced
confectioners sugar, for dusting
Combine the butter, blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice in a small pot over medium-high heat. Bring up to a low boil and stir gently until the berries break down and release their natural juices. The consistency should remain a bit chunky. Let cool and pour over blintzes.

Courtesy Tyler Florence, foodnetwork.com