Wednesday, 30 December 2009

buckwheat blini, gluten free

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.

home cured salmon & gluten-free blini

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
    Serve warm with cured or smoked salmon (see my recipe here) and a slice of creamy avocado.


    1. Hello:
      Re:Buckwheat blinis

      Your recipe calls for: 125g milk

      yet the instructions are as follows:
      "weight the milk and cream into a small saucepan and put on a very low heat to warm"

      Does this mean there is cream missing from the ingredients? And does it mean that the milk really is weighed?

      Thank you for this blog. I just found it.

      from Moyra in Peachland, BC, Canada

    2. Hi Moira,
      Thanks for your message & sorry if the instructions are a bit confusing. The cream refers to the 100g creme fraiche / sour cream.
      You can use 125ml milk instead of the weighed amount as this only varies by a few grams.
      I tend to weigh all my ingredients into the bowl or pan I am using to mix in, simply because I am too lazy to wash up a measuring jug (not sure I should admit that)! I use a set of battery operated scales with a tare function which allows you to re-set the scale to zero after each addition is made - this makes accurate gluten free baking a lot simpler.
      I hope this helps and that you like the recipe.


    3. Hi Kate:
      I was going to let you know that I suddenly realized the "cream" is the sour cream (how silly can one get?) and lo and behold you had already replied.
      Are you in the UK, where it is now 7.30 pm? As an ex UKer, I prefer to weigh ingredients, too (just never tried milk before)
      I am looking forward to trying your recipe - will let you know how it turns out.

      ps I am using "anonymous" as I don't know what all the other profiles mean. I hope it isn't a rude thing to do!

    4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.