There are things you crave that just seem too dainty to eat in reality. A feast in caviar maybe or those handmade chocolates covered in edible gold leaves. For me, blinis always were associated with the luscious festivities of the Russian aristocracy and not to be eaten by mere mortals. However, it might as well be every day fare for a tsar, I told myself. And vodka didn't have to be part of the game either. Some way or other, I finally convinced myself that blinis could simply be made for dinner - even without an invitation to a Russian palace.
Naturally, it helped that I still had lots of buckwheat flour - the souvenir from my trip to Western Australia. Armed with a cookbook about all sorts of pancakes, crepes, and blinis I set to work. Unfortunately, that book didn't turn out to be very precise. I use yeast very regularly but I still appreciate precise descriptions about the process. For example, it's not very helpful to only state the rising time and not what the dough should look like at the end. How on earth does the cookbook author know about the activity of my yeast, the temperature in my kitchen, and all the other little things that are vital for the process? Well, I tried to use my common sense and things seemed to work out.
That said, from now on I'm definitely over and done with my cravings. Blinis are thoroughly disenchanted. I won't think of them as food only fit for tsars, princes, and other aristocrats. And that's not because I served them with the now ordinary smoked salmon instead of the still rare caviar. Truth be told, my blinis turned out to be a bit bland like boring pancakes and not as finger-licking delicious as I had imagined. Maybe blinis never were that special. Maybe I should just try a better recipe.
Blinis with smoked Salmon
1 tsp dry yeast
100g buckwheat flour
165g all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt (if you like, use a bit more)
3 eggs, separated
200ml creme fraiche or sour cream
300g smoked salmon (or as much as you like)
fresh dill, chopped
Warm the milk slightly and dissolve the yeast in it. You can leave it to rise first or use it right away which is what I did.
Add the milk to the remaining ingredients (except the egg whites), stirring thoroughly. You will end up with a rather runny batter.
Cover the bowl and leave to rise in a warm place for about 2 hours. Note: Unfortunately, the original recipe doesn't state what the batter should look like after the rising period. I decided that it looked okay and well-risen after 1,5 hours.
Beat egg whites until very stiff and carefully fold into the batter.
Ladle the batter into a greased and heated pan. I used about 2 heaped tablespoons per blini. Cook until dry on one side, flip over, and cook on the other side. Keep warm in a preheated oven, wrapped in foil.
Serve with smoked salmon, sour cream, chopped dill, and lots of freshly cracked pepper.
Adapted from Camille Le Foll: Crepes, Blinis & Pancakes with friends