A Russian delicacy of a yeast-risen pancake with a proportion of buckwheat flour. Singular - "blin". It is usually served with caviar and sour cream although roe from fish other than the sturgeon and even smoked salmon can be used.

Tradition has it that they are consumed as a celebration of the arrival of spring, however Slavic folklore decrees them as an offering for deceased relatives.

These days however they will be found at upmarket soirees to be served with drinkies. So much for tradition. Here is a recipe;

Buckwheat blini

  • 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 3/4 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 300 ml (1 1/4 cups) warm milk
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • sea salt

    In a large bowl mix together the yeast, 1/4 cup of the buckwheat flour and the warm milk. Cover and set aside for 40 minutes. It should be frothy by this stage.

    Mix in the egg yolks, remaining flours and around 1/2 tsp salt. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into the batter. Cover and set aside for another 40 minutes. The recipe can be prepared to this stage and left in the refrigerator over night, but don't add the egg whites until you are just about to cook.

    Melt a little clarified butter to medium heat in a frypan (skillet) and cook a few at a time 7 cm (3 inches) in diameter. Serve with sour cream, caviar (if you can afford it) and chilled stoli.

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