Thank you for participating in the @abeebakes poll on Instagram! My 24 hour story on Instagram asked if you’ve ever eaten a blini…and the results were fascinating. Every American follower voted “no” and every French follower voted “yes.” Every single one (of those who voted)! I had expected to have an almost 100% “yes” response, but boy, was I wrong. Perhaps you’re one of the rare American’s who’ve had a blini at a company party, wedding, or other special event. Are you?
A blini is simply a miniature pancake, often used as a blank canvas for an appetizer, rather than maple syrup. Blinis originated in Russia, as their version of a pancake or crepe, usually served with savory ingredients. You can find blinis served with a smear of cream cheese or dollop of creme fraiche and then topped with a piece of smoked salmon and garnished with capers and a sprig of fresh dill. Another common way to serve them is with caviar. Or with aioli and a piece of shrimp.
The options are endless and entirely up to you. Imagine what you’d like served on a piece of baguette and chances are, they can be served with a blini instead. My husband for example always loved having plain blini’s around so he could spread Nutella on them. Although, I think they’re intended for a more savory route.
This particular recipe is as simple as can be. I chose to make mine with all-purpose flour instead of a mix of all-purpose and buckwheat flours. (Just personal preference). Traditionally they are made with either buckwheat or wheat flour, pairing nicely with savory toppings. Historically, they were served during the end of winter, their round shape symbolizing and celebrating the sun, that would soon reappear. In France they are often served during the Holidays with fish, foie gras, or caviar, all celebration foods.
Next time you are asked to bring a finger food or appetizer, consider these blinis.
Blini with Smoked Salmon
A blini is simply a miniature pancake, often used as a blank canvas for an appetizer. Blinis originated in Russia and is usually served with savory ingredients such as with a smear of cream cheese or dollop of creme fraiche and then topped with a piece of smoked salmon and garnished with capers and a sprig of fresh dill.
- 1 cup Flour ((or 2/3 flour + 1/3 buckwheat flour if preferred).)
- 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 3/4 tsp Salt
- 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp. Milk
- 1 Egg
- 1 tbsp Butter, melted (plus more for greasing griddle/pan.)
Preheat an electric griddle to 350F degrees or place medium sauté pan over medium-low heat on stovetop.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and 1 tbsp. of melted butter. Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry, stirring until just combined.
Butter griddle or pan and pour 1 tbsp. of batter at a time onto the hot skillet. Cook until the bottom is lightly golden and bubbles have formed on top. Flip, and cook the other side until lightly golden. Repeat with remaining batter.
Serve with a smear of cream cheese or herbed cream fraiche, a piece of smoked salmon, a sprig of fresh dill, and a few capers. Alternatively, serve with aioli and sautéed shrimp. A dessert option would be a smear of Nutella with a fresh berry or sprig of mint on top.
Adapted from Ina Garten.