Blini are Russian crepes. They can be made with yeast or plain batter, with regular wheat flour or its combination with other flours, like buckwheat, rye etc. My all-time favorite is small, very thin blini made from a simple non-yeast batter based on all purpose flour and milk.
These blini go equally well with savory and sweet toppings. Most of all I love them topped with salmon caviar. Paired with a shot of ice cold vodka or hot, sweetened black tea – mmmmm…. Ilya loves them with homemade lox with onions and fresh dill. For dessert, my choice would be to top them with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with white cane sugar just like I used to do it when I was a kid.
You will need:
- 1 cup milk (I take 2% milk)
- 1 cup water
- 1 Extra Large egg
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½-3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp Canola or vegetable oil
- 1.5 Tbsp butter for brushing the crepes
This amount yields about 25+ 6-inch crepes.
In a big bowl, combine milk, egg, salt, sugar and oil. Add flour and baking powder and stir with a whisk to break all the lumps. Add water. The batter should be quite thin and spread easily on the bottom of a pan. If for some reason you don’t have a whisk, use a spoon or spatula, but start with less amount of milk, say, ½ cup, and add the rest of it after incorporating the flour to prevent lump formation.
Melt butter on top of the stove or in a microwave oven. Set aside.
I make blini in a 8-inch non-stick pan (6-inch bottom). Heat a pan on a medium to medium high heat until hot and then lightly brush the bottom with oil. Before adding the batter, slightly lift the pan above the burner so that it will be easy to maneuver with it. Pour about 1/8 cup of the batter in the middle of the pan, at the same time quickly tilting it in a circular motion so that the batter spreads evenly all over the bottom. If the pan is hot enough, the batter will bubble while being spread and the crepe will look like a piece of lace.
Put the pan back on the burner and cook the crepe about 20-30 seconds or until golden brown. With a spatula, flip the crepe over and cook the other side for about the same time. Transfer the cooked crepe onto a plate and brush lightly with butter.
I usually eat the first one right away to check on the taste and adjust salt or sugar if needed. If the batter wasn’t runny enough to coat the bottom evenly, it might be too thick and needs to be diluted with more water. Make the rest of the crepes, brushing the cooked ones with melted butter and putting them in a stack. Serve right away or reserve for later.
Since the batter contains oil and I use a non-stick pan, I only brush the pan with oil once before the first crepe.
You can refrigerate or freeze the leftovers. I don’t recommend doing it in a stack because they will very likely stick to each other, even though they were brushed with butter. Fold each crepe in quarters, arrange them in layers in an overlapping manner and cover with plastic. Keep in a refrigerator 2-3 days; reheat in a microwave oven before eating.
For freezing, put the crepes in a freezer Ziplock. When needed, take them out, let thaw in the fridge or on the counter and then reheat in a micro.
One more thing to mention: as you see, cooking crepes takes some time. If you want to accelerate the process, especially if you double or triple the batch, use several skillets at the same time.
Savory: Salmon caviar; salted herring with sour cream; cured salmon with dill and oil; spreadbale chicken liver pate; sautéed mushrooms (especially wild); sliced green onions sautéed in butter and mixed with chopped hard boiled eggs
Sweet: sour cream/crème fraiche and sugar; all sorts of jams and fruit/berry preserves; honey.