Блины дрожжевые (Yeasted Blini)

published Dec 28, 2021
Блины дрожжевые (Yeasted Blini)
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Credit: Leela Cyd from the Kachka Cookbook

I’m going to take this opportunity to get two things out of the way. 1: Blini do not and should not contain potatoes. 2: The singular form of the word in question is blin. Blini is the plural form. There is no such thing as blinis.

Now that the vocabulary’s established, let’s talk shop. There are larger, thicker blini, the size of dinner plates; appetizer-sized blini for the fancier zakuski tables; and thinner crepe-like versions to fold around savory fillings. But most importantly, there are “fast” and “slow” blini.

Fast blini are made from a straight batter, like I use for my blinchiki crepes. They’re easy to mix up and fire off, and totally delicious — especially when wrapped around a filling. But it’s the slow ones I crave — with a bit of bubbly loft from yeast, and a nice long rise in the refrigerator overnight. These blini are what pancakes want to be. They’ve got a delicious complexity from the slow fermentation, managing to be simultaneously both rich and light.

Blini are delicious on their own, with some smetana and sugar, or served with syrup instead of your usual flapjacks. Or go savory — fold them around smoked salmon, or (need it be said?) top with caviar. Beyond some advance planning, they’re no more difficult than any other pancake. Just better.

Блины дрожжевые (Yeasted Blini)

Makes 48 large blini

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

Sponge:

  • 2 teaspoons

    active dry yeast

  • 1 cup

    water, warmed to room temperature

  • 2 teaspoons

    sugar

  • 1/2 cup

    all-purpose flour

Batter:

  • 1 1/4 cups

    heavy cream

  • 1 1/4 cups

    whole milk (to make large, slightly thinner blini, omit heavy cream and increase to 3 1/4 cups milk)

  • 1/4 cup

    melted butter

  • 2 1/3 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 2

    large egg yolks (you'll use the whites later)

  • 2 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

To finish:

  • 2

    large egg whites

  • Butter for frying

Instructions

  1. The day before you’re going to cook, take a large container (large enough to hold the full batter, and then some), and whisk together the sponge ingredients. Let the mixture sit out at room temperature until doubled, about an hour.

  2. When the sponge has doubled, whisk in all of the remaining batter ingredients. Cover the container, and refrigerate overnight. BE FOREWARNED: this will expand. Much, much more than you might think. Contain accordingly, or scrub the batter off your refrigerator shelves the next day (I know from whence I speak).

  3. The next day, take the batter out of the refrigerator, and let it sit out for an hour or two to come to room temperature. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, and gently fold them in.

  4. To cook the blini: Grab a well-seasoned pan, and heat it to a medium-high heat. Melt some butter in the pan. For smaller blini, spoon out 2-inch circles (this batter will be thicker than pancake batter, but should spread more readily — you’ll need about a tablespoon). If you want to make things easier, a squeeze bottle is handy. Cook until bubbles form and pop, and the top dries out, while the bottom cooks to a nice golden (just a few minutes). Flip, and cook the other side. Add more butter and adjust the heat as necessary. Unlike pancakes, which are best hot from the griddle, blini are actually better if they set for a few minutes — hold at room temperature for up to an hour or so.

  5. For larger blini, ladle out 1/4 cup batter, and spread it out to form a 6-inch circle. You want it spread fairly thin so as to be pliable (it’ll puff up a bit). Cook until bubbles form and pop, and the top dries out, while the bottom cooks to a nice golden (just a few minutes). Flip, and cook the other side. Add more butter and adjust the heat as necessary. If the batter is too thick, add more milk as needed. As with small blini, let them set for a few minutes after the come off the heat, and hold at room temperature for up to an hour or so.

  6. Serve blini (of any size) with caviar and butter, smetana and sugar, dipping into machanka, alongside cured fish, for your kid’s after-school snack, etc.

Recipe Notes

Excerpted from the book KACHKA by Bonnie Frumkin Morales. Copyright © 2017 by Bonnie Frumkin Morales. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Photography by Leela Cyd.