As far as breakfast foods go, blintzes are far superior to pancakes and waffles, but they’ll never enjoy the same popularity because they’re such a pain to make. Pancakes and waffles are pretty straightforward: dump some stuff in a bowl, stir, plop on a hot surface, futz around on your phone while they cook, then eat. Blintzes, on the other hand, don’t allow time for any phone break whatsoever.
To make blintzes, you first need to make dozens of paper-thin pancakes, then gingerly wrap them around a soft cheese filling like a delicate burrito. Then you need to cook them again, frying them in butter to crisp up the outsides. The final result is well worth it, but even I, a blintz devotee, am incapable of the patience required to bring homemade blintzes to the breakfast table. That’s why I always take the easy way out by throwing everything together in a pan, sliding it into the oven, and committing my full attention to sudoku.
Because it’s October, I am legally required to imbue my weekend blintzes with the magic of pumpkin spice, and the results are so spectacular that even the pumpkin-fatigued will fall in love with it. Unlike many dessert-like pumpkin-ified breakfasts, blintzes are not meant to be all that sweet; they arrive at the table as a blank canvas for your coziest fall breakfast fantasies. Drizzle or drown them in maple syrup. Spread apple butter on top. Bury them under a blanket of fruit compote. Or leave them gloriously, beautifully naked. The choice is yours.
Even though this baked blintz doesn’t require much active cooking time, it does require well over an hour of baking and resting time. If you want to wake up early and serve this warm from the oven for brunch, have at it. But if you’re like me and want to sleep in, make this the night before while you’re cooking dinner, let it cool completely, cut a slice to eat right away (you know you want to), then stick the rest in the fridge. The next morning, fry up a slice or two in melted butter to crisp the outsides, like you would with a proper pain-in-the-butt blintz. Better yet: Make a few batches and freeze in individual slices. That way every morning can be a pumpkin spice blintz morning.
Pumpkin Spice Baked Blintz
- 6 Tbsp. butter, plus an additional 1 Tbsp.
- 1⅓ cups rolled oats
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Pumpkin Cheese Filling
- 16 oz. cottage cheese
- 15 oz. canned pumpkin
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup bourbon (optional)
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp. vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. On the stove, melt 6 Tbsp. of butter in a cast iron pan over medium heat, add the oats and pecans, and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown and toasty—about 5 minutes.
Reserve 1/2 cup of the oats and pecans, then dump the rest into a blender with the rest of the batter ingredients. Blend for 15-30 seconds until the batter is smooth.
Melt the remaining 1 Tbsp. butter in the hot cast iron pan, swirling to coat, then add half of the oat-pecan batter, reserving the other half for later. Bake for 15 minutes while you make the filling.
In a large bowl, whisk all the filling ingredients together, then stir in the reserved toasted oats and pecans. (If you’d like a smoother, cheese-curd-less filling, puree the ingredients together using your blender, then stir in the oats and pecans by hand.)
Once the bottom layer of the baked blintz is set, remove the pan from the oven, pour the pumpkin cheese filling on top, and smooth out with the back of a spoon. Carefully pour the remaining oat-pecan batter on top, slide the pan back into the oven, and bake until the blintz is fully set—about 40-45 minutes.
(NOTE: To prevent the top layer of batter from mixing with the pumpkin cheese filling, pour it over the back of a spoon when adding to the pan, just as you would float liquors on top of each other when making a cocktail.)
To serve immediately: Remove from oven, then let the blintz cool for about 5 minutes while you preheat your broiler to high. Skewer a nice pat of butter on a fork and run it all over the top of the blintz until the butter is melted, then slide under the broiler for 2-5 minutes until crisp, keeping a close eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn. Let it rest another 5 minutes, then serve.
To serve eventually: Remove from oven, let the blintz cool completely, then refrigerate until firm. Either store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or cut into slices, individually wrap, and freeze. To reheat, fry in melted butter over medium-high heat until both sides are browned. (If the sliced blintzes are frozen, you do not need to thaw them before doing this.)
Serving suggestions: Top with maple syrup, apple butter, or fruit compote—or just enjoy a slice plain.