Our Christmas at home is not complete without blini and smoked salmon at least once during the holiday. Having splurged on Christmas Day I thought that we wouldn't be re-visiting this recipe until next year but fate decided otherwise when I woke up to yet another grey rainy cold day this week. There seemed only one way to bring some sunshine into the day, so a late breakfast of strong black coffee, blini and home-cured salmon seemed the perfect recipe to put a smile on our faces. Judging by the speed these were devoured I am definitely going to serve round 3 on New Years Day - this time with champagne to welcome in 2010.
This recipe makes enough to serve 4-5 for breakfast, and up to 8 for a starter or canapes before a meal.
Blini are naturally gluten free as they are traditionally made with buckwheat flour. Buckwheat does have a distinctive flavour, so if it is too strong for you substitute half the flour with a gluten free blend, rice flour or plain wheat flour if you are not following a glutenfree diet.
I fried these blini in a 50/50 mix of unsalted butter and lard, the lard is a fantastic addition, making them crispier and far more flavoursome then if simply fried in butter. The lard suggestion came from GlutenFreeDay, you can find an alternative recipe and method on Emilia's great blog here, she also has suggestions for dairy free substitutions if you need them.
Blini are delicious served with cured or smoked salmon, you can find a recipe for easy home-cured salmon on my blog
- 100g creme fraiche or sour cream
- 125g milk
- 165g buckwheat flour
- 3g salt
- 7g (1 pk) easy-blend dried yeast
- 2 eggs, separated
- 25g butter
- 25g lard
- sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl
- sprinkle the fast-acting yeast over the flour and set aside
- weight the milk and cream into a small saucepan and put on a very low heat to warm
- separate the eggs, putting the whites into a medium size bowl
- tips the yolks into the warming milk and whisk in.
- dip your fingers into the milk and, when the mixture is blood temperature, pour this onto the flour
- whisk the batter together until it is smooth, cover with a tea towel and put the bowl in a warm place to allow the yeast to develop (approx 1 hour)
- once the batter is bubbly and rising (see picture) whisk the egg white to a stiff peak
- pour the egg whites into the batter mix and gently stir in till fully combined (the batter will become a bit slippery)
- heat a heavy frying pan or skillet and add half the butter and lard
- once the fats are foaming, spoon in 4 dollops of batter. You can use muffin rings for a perfect shape but I don't bother - as long as the butter is hot the batter doesn't run too much
- the batter will rise and bubbles will form in the topside of the blini
- turn over whilst the top is still runny and cook the underside until it is lightly brown and the edges are crispy
- remove to a warm oven dish lined with a tea towel and continue to cook the remaining batter, using the rest of the fat when necessary