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Russian Blini Recipe: Simple Steps for Perfect Crepes

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Blini, also known as Russian pancakes, are a delicious and versatile dish. Whether you’re enjoying them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, these thin, crepe-like pancakes can be served with a variety of toppings and fillings. They’re easy to make and can be customized to suit your taste.

To create the perfect blini, you’ll need simple ingredients such as flour, milk, eggs, and a bit of sugar and salt. You can also make them dairy-free or vegan by using substitutions like flax eggs and dairy-free milk. The key is to get the batter just right so the blini turn out thin and lacy.

Blini are traditionally served with savory toppings like smoked salmon, sour cream, and caviar, but you can also enjoy them with sweet fillings like jam, honey, or fresh berries. This recipe will guide you step-by-step so you can make authentic Russian blini at home. Ready to get started? Let’s dive into the details!

Exact Ingredients (+ Possible Substitutes)

To make Russian blini, you will need these ingredients, along with possible substitutes:

Main Ingredients

  • Flour: 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour.

    • Substitute: Whole wheat flour for a healthier option.
  • Milk: 2 cups of warm milk (not over 90°F).

    • Substitute: Non-dairy milk like almond or soy milk.
  • Yeast: ½ teaspoon active dry yeast.

    • Substitute: 1 teaspoon of baking powder, though this will change the texture slightly.
  • Sugar: 1 tablespoon.

    • Substitute: Honey or maple syrup.
  • Eggs: 1 large egg.

    • Substitute: Flaxseed meal for a vegan option (mix 1 tablespoon with 3 tablespoons of water).
  • Butter: For frying.

    • Substitute: Vegetable oil or margarine for a non-dairy alternative.

Optional Ingredients

  • Salt: ½ teaspoon for taste.

    • Substitute: Sea salt or kosher salt.
  • Sunflower Oil: Adds richness to the batter (2 tablespoons).

    • Substitute: Any neutral oil like canola or vegetable oil.
  • Cane Sugar: Often used for its mild flavor.

    • Substitute: White granulated sugar or brown sugar.

Feel free to adjust these ingredients based on your preferences or dietary needs to make the perfect batch of blini!

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Yeast Mixture:

    • Warm 2 cups of milk (under 90°F).
    • Stir in 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of yeast.
    • Let it sit for 10 minutes until frothy.
  2. Mix Dry Ingredients:

    • In a large bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
    • Create a well in the center.
  3. Combine Wet Ingredients:

    • Beat 1 egg and 1/4 cup of sunflower oil into the frothy yeast mixture.
    • Pour this mixture into the well of dry ingredients.
  4. Form Batter:

    • Use a balloon whisk to incorporate the wet and dry ingredients until smooth.
    • Cover the bowl with a cloth or plastic wrap.
    • Let it rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours.
  5. Prepare the Pan:

    • Lightly spray a pan with non-stick spray or melt a tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat.
    • When hot, pour in a ladleful of batter, tilt the pan to spread the batter thinly.
  6. Cook Blini:

    • Cook for about 30 seconds or until edges are golden and lacy.
    • Flip carefully and cook the other side for 20 seconds.
    • Remove and repeat with remaining batter.

Enjoy your blini with your favorite toppings!

Tips, Tricks & Storing

Tips

  • Use Fresh Yeast: Always use fresh, active yeast for the best results. If your yeast doesn’t bubble after mixing with warm milk, it might be stale.
  • Whisk Vigorously: Mix the batter well to ensure there are no lumps. A smooth batter makes for smoother, more consistent blinis.
  • Perfect Temperature: Cook blinis over medium heat. Too high can burn them, too low can make them rubbery.
  • Flip Carefully: Blinis are delicate. Use a thin spatula to flip them gently to avoid tearing.

Tricks

  • Non-Stick Pan: A non-stick or well-seasoned cast-iron pan makes flipping easier and prevents sticking.
  • Consistency: If the batter is too thick, add a bit more milk. It should be pourable but not watery.
  • Butter Layers: Brush melted butter between each blini as you stack them. This keeps them soft and adds extra flavor.
  • Rest Batter: Let the batter rest for at least 30 minutes before cooking. This allows the gluten to relax and makes the blinis fluffier.

Storing

  • Refrigeration: Store cooked blinis in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing: Freeze blinis by placing them flat on a baking sheet till frozen, then transfer to a zip-top bag. They’ll last up to 2 months.
  • Reheating: To reheat, use a microwave for 20-30 seconds or warm them in a non-stick pan over low heat.

Recipe Variations & Serving Suggestions

Blini can be adapted in many ways to suit different tastes and dietary needs. For a basic twist, you can mix all-purpose and whole wheat flour in a 1:1 ratio for a healthier option.

Vegan Blini can be made with dairy-free milk and a flax egg instead of regular milk and eggs. Simply mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water to make a flax egg.

For extra flavor, you might add a splash of beer or kefir to the batter instead of milk.

Make your blini lighter by using warm water instead of cream and butter.

Try these filling ideas:

  • Sweet: Fill with jam, honey, or Nutella, and top with powdered sugar.
  • Savory: Use sour cream, smoked salmon, or caviar.

To serve:

  • Roll them up or fold them into quarters
  • Top with fresh herbs like dill or parsley to enhance the presentation

Enjoy experimenting with different combinations to find your perfect blini!

Benjamin Happy Muncher

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.