Guest Author - Deborah Adams
If you've ever had or made Blini you'll know that they are little Russian pancakes made from buckwheat flour. Most times they are served with a dollop of sour cream and a spoonful of caviar. Blini can be adapted to suit the taste of the chef in so many ways. One of the keys to blini is playing with taste and texture. Another important detail is to make a thin pancake. If made properly they will be very porous as well.
Buckwheat is texture in itself but combining that with the creamy taste of sour cream and chives and perhaps a sliver of smoked salmon and you've got a taste sensation that your guests will love. But why stop there.. get some of that fresh corn out of the fridge and scrape it off the cob and add a bit to the batter. Top with a bit of shredded cheese and Crème Fráiche. Or try some minced tomato in basil oil in the batter and top with a few carmelized onions for a wonderful little side to chicken.
It's a well known fact among Blini makers that "The first blin is always in a lump" which basically means that no matter what you do, your first blin won't come out right. Somtimes the second and third blin won't either :) Just keep making them and once they turn out right finish the batter.
Blini can be prepared a day or two ahead of time, refrigerated, and warmed to room temperature before serving. Remember to experiment with tastes and texture and these could become your most requested treat!
Basic Blini Recipe
2 eggs, room temperature
2 cups milk, almost room temperature
1 small packet yeast
2 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
In a ceramic bowl, whisk together warm milk with 1 tbsp of sugar, the yeast, and approximately 1/2 cup of sifted flour. Place in a warm spot (but not too hot) and let ferment for about 1/2 hour. When the mixture begins to bubble, turn with a whisk gently every 5 minutes or so, but don't whisk vigorously, or the yeast will die.
Add remaining sugar and baking powder. Whisk gently and begin sifting flour approximately 1/2 cup at a time, whisking periodically, until the batter has the consistency of a thick sauce, and pours in a ribbon. Add approximately 2 tbsp of vegetable oil to the batter, whisk, and keep in a warm place.
Brush a non-stick skillet with oil and heat until very, very hot. Ladle a small quantity of batter onto the skillet; tilt and rotate the skillet, until the batter coats it completely, but thin. Cook until the top is no longer runny, about 1 minute, flip, cook about 30 seconds more, then remove to a plate. Continue until all the batter is used.
Don't oil the skillet in between the blinis -- once is enough. Keep the batter in a warm place and turn from time to time but don't let the batter "overstand". The yeast must still be active when you fry the blinis, or they won't be porous.
1/2 c. unsifted all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
2/3 c. milk
1 lg. egg white
1/4 tsp. butter
1/2 c. cottage cheese
2 tsp. honey
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
Pinch of ground cinnamon
In a medium bowl, combine the flour and egg white. Make a well in the center of the flour, add the milk mixture and stir just to combine. Grease the bottom of the skillet with the butter and set over moderately high heat.
When the skillet is hot, pour in 2 tablespoons of the batter, rotating the pan to make a thin pancake. Cook for 30 seconds or until set, flip and cook 20-30 seconds longer or until golden. Transfer to a plate, top with a sheet of wax paper and repeat until all the batter is used.
Place the cottage cheese, honey, ginger and cinnamon in a food processor or electric blender and whirl for 1 minute. Spread each blini with a tablespoon of the cheese mixture; fold in half, then fold in half again or roll. Arrange on a plate with mint leaves and a dollop of strawberry preserves. Makes 8.
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons buttermilk.
Combine well in glass jar and cover. Let stand at room temperature (about 70 degrees F.) for 8 to 24 hours, or until thickened. Stir well and refrigerate 24 hours before using..
Use within 10 days.
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