Blini are the one Russian dish that has migrated around the world to smart restaurants and parties everywhere. They could have been specially designed as finger food in fact-each blin is about 1 to 1-1/2 inches in diameter, a perfect one-bite snack (or two bites if you're being dainty!) You can buy cocktail blini in many supermarkets and delicatessens, but usually they're not made authentically with buckwheat flour. Be different!
1 cup buckwheat flour
or half and half with all-purpose flour
1 package active dried yeast (1/4 oz.)
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg separated
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
1 tablespoon butter for sautéing
Crème frâiche or sour cream
Small pots of caviar and/or salmon keta
Herbs, such as snipped chives and dill sprigs
About 4 pieces smoked salmon, finely sliced
Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Beat the egg yolk with the sugar and 3/4 cup warm water and add to well. Mix well, then cover with a damp cloth and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Beat in the milk to make a thick, creamy batter. Cover again and leave for 1 hour until small bubbles appear on the surface.
Beat the egg white to soft peak stage, then fold it into the batter.
Heat a heavy-bottom skillet or crêpe pan and brush with butter. Drop in about 1 teaspoon of batter to make a pancake about 1 inch indiameter. Cook until the surface bubbles, about 2-3 minutes, then flip the blini over with a spatula and cook the second side for 2 minutes.
Put a plate in the oven to keep warm while you cook the remaining blini. Don't put the blini on top of each other. Serve them warm.
To serve, top with a spoonful of crème frâiche or sour cream, some snipped chives or dill sprigs, and a small pile of caviar or keta or a curl of smoked salmon.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Reheat in the oven at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes.
By Elsa Petersen-Schepelern
Recipe Reprinted by permission.
This page created November 1999