Blinis, or blintz, are made from buckwheat and maybe best described as a Russian sour pancake - if you like sourdough bread you will probably love blinis.
Buckwheat blinis were born in Russia and I do consider them to be the single most delicious culinary gift the land of the Tsars has given; although I must say that in general Russian food is really good, blinis just happen to be extraordinarily tasty. Fermented pickles, fermented butter and fermented milk products like smetana all have a special place in my heart and they came here from Russia; most of the Finnish foods I like are actually Russian.
The process of making blinis starts with mixing some buckwheat flour with yeast and sour cream, the dough is then left to rise for some time either in the fridge for a longer time, or at room temperature for a shorter period of time. I usually leave it in the fridge over night; the sour scent from the dough is heavenly in the morning. After the fermenting some milk is heated and added to the dough with egg yolk, salt and butter, the egg white from the egg is whisked and then it is folded into the dough.
I would describe the scent at this point like the one you get from really strong beer.
The cooking in my house is done on a pancake pan made from cast iron with a lot of butter which needs to be hot enough, otherwise the outside will not be crisp, but it is left to be just too fatty and soggy. Blinis have all kinds of different fillings, but the most common would be some caviar, chopped onions and smetana, or sour cream, I also like to have them with some chopped cooked eggs mixed with butter.
Whatever the filling is, the blinis rarely disappoint.
A Blini Recipe
For some dairy-free blinis you could try using soy yogurt instead of sour cream, some soy milk instead of milk and lard instead of butter, some vegetable oil is fine too. In general I find lard to be better here than butter, but butter is more traditional. Organic lard is hard to get here - I get some pig fat from the organic pig we buy every now and then -so I usually use butter.
These are cooked just the same as regular pancakes, a cast iron pan is better because the heat distribution is different, but any pan would be fine.
serves 4 people as a main course and 6 as a starter
-400 grams / 14 ounces sour cream
-2,5 dl / 1 cup buckwheat flour
-20 grams / 0.7 ounces fresh yeast
-1 teaspoon sugar
Heat the sour cream until it feels warm when you touch it with your finger, add the sugar and the yeast. Mix them together and then add the flour.
Leave the dough to sit at room temperature for a couple hours, or leave it at room temperature for one hour and then over night in the fridge.
-11/2 dl / 3/4 cup full fat milk
-1 tsp salt
-2 tbls melted butter
-one egg yolk
-one egg white
-a lot of butter for cooking
Take the dough out of the fridge, it should look like this.
Heat the milk and add the melted butter and salt to it. Pour it into the dough and mix the egg yolk to the dough too.
Whisk the egg white until white peaks form and then fold it into the dough.
Now the dough will be more liquid and it looks like this.
Heat a pan on medium heat.
It is the right temperature when the butter placed on it turns golden and foamy.
Cook the blinis. You can see that they are done when the bubbles on top turn into holes, then flip them and cook the other side.
Serve them hot with sour cream, or smetana if you can find it, some caviar and chopped onions. Or you could serve them with boiled eggs that have been mashed with a fork and mixed with butter and salt.
This my contribution to Go ahead honey, it’s gluten-free, which is a monthly gluten-free event, hosted this month by Naomi at Straight Into Bed Cakefree and Dried. The theme this month is gluten-free canapees.
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