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Russian Blini

Present these pancakes as appetizers at your next dinner party alongside an aperitif.


Russian Blini - Photo by Rachael Brugger (HobbyFarms.com)
Photo by Rachael Brugger

Blini are spongy and delicate in texture, but the addition of buckwheat flour gives them a little heft, as well. They’re the traditional vehicle for caviar, which is daubed on top of silver-dollar-sized blini and topped with chopped egg, chopped onion and sour cream. The coldest vodka is served alongside them. For a reasonable and more affordable alternative, I suggest flaked smoked fish or Nova Scotia-style salmon and a little crème fraiche (or sour cream) with minced dill. Blini with plum jam for breakfast are heavenly, too. This recipe uses yeast, mostly for flavor (not rising), as well as whipped egg whites, but there are many versions.

Yield: 36 blini

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm milk, 75-130 degrees F
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2-3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 T. butter, melted

Preparation
In large bowl, mix flours and yeast. Pour in warmed milk, mixing until smooth. Cover and let rest and bubble for about 30 minutes. Add salt, about 1/2 cup warm water to start and egg yolks to achieve thick yet fluid consistency. Let rest again for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or refrigerate overnight. When ready to cook, stir in cooled melted butter. In separate bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff but not dry; fold into batter. Add more water, a tablespoon at a time if batter is too thick, especially if it’s been refrigerated.

Heat nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat or coat regular skillet or griddle with thin layer of oil. Ladle 3-inch circles of batter, spread thin, into pan without crowding. Cook for about 1 minute or until bubbles form and break on surface. Turn and cook until golden, for about 30 seconds. Cover blini and keep warm until ready to serve.

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