Buckwheat bliny is a part of traditional Russian cuisine, descended from one of mankind’s oldest and most common prepared foods: fried flat bread. Here is a quick and simple recipe to prepare them at home.
- 1 ½ tsp. Sugar
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 tsp. Active dry yeast
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ cups lukewarm milk
- 1 cup Self raising flour
- 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
- ½ tsp. Salt
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
In a small bowl, dissolve ½ tsp. Of the sugar in warm water. Sprinkle in yeast and let it stand for approx 10 minutes until the mixture appears to be frothy. In a separate larger mixing bowl, beat egg, milk and remaining sugar. Add flours and salt (I like to sift this in) and beat for 1 minute. Beat in the yeast mixture and half of the butter. Cover the mixing bowl with glad wrap; leave it to rise in warm place until it has about doubled in size (takes around 1 hour).
Heat nonstick skillet over medium heat; brush lightly with some of the remaining butter. It’s really just like making tiny little pancakes. I find that it gets a little messy spooning small amounts of batter onto the pan so I used a piping bag. You can also transfer the batter into a zip lock bag, seal it and cut a small corner on the bottom to pipe with.
I piped ‘blobs’ of batter around 4cm in diameter. Cook until bubbles form on top, then carefully flip each one over and cook until bottoms are golden brown.
Makes around 50 blini. It may seem like a lot, but you’ll be surprised how quickly it goes!
Traditionally, you would serve these with caviar. Sturgeon roe is just one of the most divine flavours that make me weak at the knees. Unfortunately, due to illegal fishing, the numbers of wild sturgeon has dramatically decreased over the years. The Beluga sturgeon is currently considered to be endangered, causing the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to ban in 2005 the importation of Beluga caviar which originated in the Caspian Sea and Black Sea basin. Sterling, a Californian company, have started farming white sturgeon caviar that is almost similar to Ossetra caviar. Do not forget to handle caviar with a mother of pearl spoon, as metal utensils tend to impart an unwelcome metallic taste to the delicate and expensive roe.
You can purchase Sterling Caviar (pictured) from Simon Johnson for around $605.00 for a 125gm serving with your whole family on a special occasion. They also have 30gm servings at $163.00, which is a perfect size for two people. (Hint: Valentine’s day is coming up!)
My favorite condiments to accompany caviar on the blini are finely chopped hard boiled egg yolks, egg whites, chives, creme fraiche, capers, and red onions.
You can also serve blini’s with smoked salmon, making it a great canape at parties.
If you ever have chance to get your hands on Beluga – I would suggest not embellishing the flavour of the roe with anything at all. Known to be the largest sturgeon, it can measure up to six meters in length and consists of very large eggs, which makes it very desirable. Even though Beluga weighing up to 600 kilograms existed in the past, the endangered species rarely come in those sizes nowadays because of overfishing.