A few Friday nights ago we had some friends over for dinner. In the afternoon I received an email from them telling me they had a tin of Russian caviar they’d like to bring over to share with us – I know, what great friends! A batch of blini to accompany them would be needed pronto. I’d never made traditional blini before so I wanted a foolproof recipe and who else to turn to in times of need other than the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. These small Russian style pikelets are traditionally made using a small amount of buckwheat flour which is very fine and gluten free. Ina came up trumps – the blini were wonderful and topped with creme fraiche and caviar they were such an indulgent treat. Of course if you don’t have friends who are willing to share their caviar then a topping of creme fraiche and salmon roe or smoked salmon would be wonderful too.
Ingredients – makes about 25 small blini Adapted from Ina Garten
1/3 cup buckwheat flour
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1 extra-large egg
1 tablespoon clarified butter, plus extra for frying blini
Combine both flours, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and the tablespoon of clarified butter, then whisk into the flour mixture. Heat about a tablespoon of the clarified butter in a medium fry pan, preferable non stick, and drop the batter into the hot skillet, 1 tablespoon at a time. Cook over medium-low heat until bubbles form on the top side of the blini, about 2 minutes.
Flip and cook for 1 more minute, or until brown. Repeat with the remaining batter. Once cooled top with creme fraiche and caviar or smoked salmon.