These light, half-dollar-size buckwheat pancakes are a staple of weddings, funerals, and holidays in Russia. In New York’s Brighton Beach, platters of blini, with melted butter, or fresh farmer’s cheese or sour cream, caviar and smoked fish toppings are served at the Russian nightclubs that crowd the area. They make a wonderful hors d’oeuvre or first course.
- 2 cups buckwheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 envelopes active dry yeast
- ½ cup lukewarm water (105° to 115°F)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 5 large eggs, beaten
- ¼ pound (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
- 4 cups milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Vegetable oil, for frying
1. Sift together the buckwheat and all-purpose flours in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water. Add half of the sugar and 1/3 cup of the flour mixture. Cover the bowl with a towel, set aside, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, melted butter, and 2 cups of the milk mixed with 1½ cups water, the remaining sugar, and the salt. Stir in the yeast mixture. Stir in enough of the remaining flour mixture so that the dough has the consistency of sour cream. Cover the bowl with a towel; set aside to rise for 30 minutes.
4. Bring the remaining 2 cups milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat. Pour the milk over the dough and stir gently.
5. In a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, add enough oil to just coat the bottom. When the pan is hot, drop 1 tablespoon of the blini batter onto the pan. Spread it out to about 3 inches in diameter. When the blini bubbles break, after about 10 seconds, turn the blini over with a spatula and cook for 15 seconds more. Repeat with the remaining batter. Keep the blini warm in a low oven.
6. Serve the blini with sour cream, melted butter, farmer’s cheese, honey, jam, sugar, red or black caviar, salmon, or herring.
Nutritional information is based on a serving size of 1 blini.