Blini are nothing more or less than savory Russian and Ukrainian pancakes. While traditionally they were small and made with buckwheat flour, they are usually larger and more made with wheat flour in present-day Russia. Here we still make them smaller size as then they can be excellently used for starters and even as a base for finger food. As buckwheat brings its own taste to the table, for combinations with fish or caviar I prefer the wheat version. The food items are quickly prepared and are fail safe. You can store them in closed zip lock bag in the freezer for several weeks.

The art of making blini

There is not much art in making blini. Perhaps the only important part is that the dough should have the correct consistency. Too thin and your pancakes will become too flat and too large. Too thick and it takes longer for your pancakes to be done and they may become too thick.  If you insist on using the traditional yeast fermentation, the process for dough preparation will be much longer. Also the taste of the dough will be more pronounced. Not all fish dishes combine well with the yeasty dough.

Use cake flour to prevent too much gluten development.

If you like to save yourself some time and create blini that are more bland, but therefore combine better with what will be placed on top, then use baking soda.

Special equipment

skillet with anti-stick coating

blini ©️ Nel Brouwer-van den Bergh

Blini

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Course: Appetizer, pastry, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Russian
Keyword: pancakes, pastry, Russian, savory, Ukrainian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients

for the blini

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 7.5 oz (210 ml) milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tbsp butter for pan frying

Instructions

making the blini

  • Mix flour, salt and baking soda
  • melt 1 tbsp of the butter
  • mix milk, egg and the melted butter using a whisk or fork
  • mix the liquids with the solids thoroughly, so that lumps will be absent
  • Heat the skillet on medium and melt a tbsp of butter in the pan
  • When warm enough, add a tbsp of the pancake batter on the hot pan.
  • When the pancake is solidifying rather quickly, add more tbsp in the pan, to a maximum of 6 or so
  • Look at the first pancake, when it has raised and is solidified enough, turn it and bake for another minute or so. Treat all pancakes similarly. You will find that a hot pan requires turning faster and may cause the pancakes to brown too much. Too low a fire may result in the pancakes flowing out and become thinner and larger. Practice makes perfect!

Notes

Method: pan frying
Food allergy & intolerance information: gluten (if using wheat flour), milk

Remarks

1. Optionally you can replace up to a third of the wheat flour by buckwheat flour for a traditional taste.

2. Cured fish, such as gravad laks and cured grouper does taste great on blini. Caviar in combination with some hard boiled egg and some creame fraiche does shine on blini too.