Blinis or Miniature Russian Buckwheat Pancakes

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blinis

Judging by the title of this blog post, you should have a pretty good idea which recipe I’ll be talking about today. I meant to publish this recipe a while ago but only found buckwheat flour recently. For those of you not familiar with Russian food like I am (guilty but I am learning), blinis are mini Russian pancakes made from buckwheat flour. And you know how much I adore anything miniature. Sorry but I have a soft spot for anything bite sized and tiny, especially food.  Anyhow, blinis are traditionally served with sour cream, caviar and smoked lox.  For a healthier and cheaper version, I decided to use low-fat cottage cheese instead. Someone gave me the idea to use ricotta cheese and although it did sound appealing, I wanted to throw in my twist.

You can use any type of cheese you want. Since these pancakes are on the savory side, you can serve them with a piece of smoked beef or deli.  A lot of people I know tend not to like the aftertaste of anything made from buckwheat so they will add some seasoning or ingredients to counteract the buckwheat flour. Truthfully, I would eat them as they are with maybe a bit of chocolate spread. I wanted to emulate the original version to my best ability plus I wanted to present something special to hubby. We don’t have romantic breakfasts nearly enough and I thought blinis would be perfect for such an occasion. Hubby did like them a lot indeed.

If you have made pancakes before, blinis is not a far cry. While a lot of blini recipes require yeast, my recipe has been simplified. Aside for not entirely using buckwheat flour, I separated the eggs and folded in the meringue in with the rest of the pancake batter to give these pancakes a light and fluffy texture. If you are looking to prepare a romantic intimate breakfast, this is the ideal recipe for you. Blinis can also be served at brunches, social events or parties. Eating pancakes midday or afternoon is not as bizarre as it sounds. Heck, I have had waffles for dinner a couple of times.  Speaking of which, this recipe would also work with making waffles if you have a miniature imprinted waffle machine. Feel free to be creative with your choices for toppings so long as they are healthy and almost guilt-free.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 2/3 cup of buckwheat flour
  2. 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
  3. 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  4. Pinch of salt
  5. 3/4 cup of skim milk
  6. 1 large egg separated
  7. 1/2 cup of canola or vegetable oil
  8. 1/2 lbs of smoked salmon thinly sliced
  9. 1/4 cup of low-fat cottage cheese
  10. Chopped chives or parsley  (optional)

Instructions

Combine both flours, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg yolk, and 1 tablespoon of the oil, then whisk into the flour mixture. Beat egg white till stiff peaks form. Fold meringue in with the rest of the pancake batter.  Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium saute pan 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. Set aside. To serve, top the blini with  a dollop of  cottage cheese. Top with a slice of smoked salmon and sprinkle with chopped chives or parsley.
Yields 14-18 pancakes
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