Blini are small, yeasted, buckwheat pancakes that provide a platform for sumptuous toppings. Think Russian caviar and thick sour cream. This week’s recipe is a French take on this Eastern European classic. I made this for my parents, as I wanted to try the standard version before attempting a gluten-free version that I can serve at home. They have a gas fireplace in the family room and it made the room the perfect place to leave the batter to rise. We’ve has some wet, chilly weather lately and I’m not sure it would have risen anywhere else in the house.
Regular pancakes rely on baking powder for a little lift, but puffy, airy blini batter relies on yeast. The smell is reminiscent of bread, but the buckwheat adds adds a nuttiness to the aroma. In the pan, though, the batter looks and acts like standard pancake batter. I used a wide frying pan, but I’d love to have a stovetop grill for these. It would be nice for party appetizers if they were all done at once, so that they could be quickly topped and served hot, without resorting to reheating.
I served about a third of them as an appetizer, with smoked salmon on a dollop of crème fraîche. Another third went into the fridge, and the last of the blini were reheated, topped with more crème fraîche (this time with brown sugar whipped in) and apples that I’d sautéed in butter and cinnamon. It was a perfect dessert.
You can find many other blogged descriptions of this week’s FFWD recipe here: Buckwheat Blini with Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche