Nalesniki (Polish Crepes)
The best part of marrying a foreigner is the opportunity to explore the food of another culture. Let’s face it, I was born and raised in California – our Mexican food is baja style, our French food is California-French, etc. Everything we do here is with California flare. It comes then as no surprise that California served as the breeding ground for Wolfgang Puck to popularize what became the fusion trend. That is just our style. As a result, getting to experience the simplicity of one culture’s food has been a welcome adventure.
Polish cuisine is very meat and lard heavy, and thanks to cold winters and a former lack of refrigeration, also relies heavily on cured meats and veggies. This is very different from my fresh produce year-round reality. While I don’t eat land animals, Polish cuisine incorporates a lot of fish and veggie-friendly sides. Potatoes, cheese, eggs, pickled vegetables, apples, and cabbage are some of the basics of a typical Polish dish.
As a Sunday morning treat, my husband prepared nalesniki – or polish crepes – filled with farmers cheese and sour cherry preserves. Both items can be easily found at European or Russian markets (or for those in Chicago and NY, in a Polish deli/market).
NALESNIKI (Polish Crepes)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 drop of vanilla extract (we use an already seeded vanilla bean instead if possible)
For Farmer’s Cheese Filling:
2 cups farmers cheese (or substitute cottage cheese)
3 tablespoons sour cherry preserves
Prepare the Crepes:
- In a blender mix all ingredients until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes so the liquid can be absorbed by the flour.
- Heat small frying pan. Add a tablespoon of butter and roll around covering the entire pan.
- Add about 3 tablespoons of batter rolling it around to make it even. Cook until lightly brown or spotted brown on the underside. Turn and cook second side until light brown.
- Remove to parchment paper and repeat with remaining batter and butter. Prepare crepes immediately or wrap and freeze up to 1 month.
Prepare The Crepes:
- Combine the filling ingredients in a small bowl until just mixed. Put two heaping tablespoons of filling into each pancake. Roll up jelly roll style (ends can be tucked in if desired).
- Optional: Put prepared crepes on a pan and heat in a 300 degree oven for about 5 minutes prior to serving, if serving a large quantity (or for 15-20 minutes if using an alternative filling that requires setting).