Welcoming Spring Russian Style

Miss A is our tour guide for the next two weeks and she’s taking us to the largest country in the world (and the largest pink country on her globe) – Russia. While there are Russian recipes a-plenty from which to choose,  today we picked a traditional dish to commemorate the start of spring (and one that was sure to please Mr. N and Miss A) – Blini.

Blini is a yeast-leavened, buckwheat pancake traditionally eaten during Shrovetide, an ancient Russian festival celebrating the beginning of spring and the god Volos. Today Blini is served anytime of the year, but is especially common at holiday celebrations.

The first thing that became clear about Blini is that there are many recipes – some with yeast, some without, some using buckwheat and others only all-purpose flour. Wanting to stay as authentic and traditional as possible, we selected a recipe that uses both yeast and buckwheat. It also requires over three hours to make. The first step was to add the yeast to warm milk and then stir in the sugar and buckwheat. The mixture is then covered to rest for an hour.

Miss A helped me to “wake up the buckwheat” which had risen and bubbled up nicely. She then added the remaining ingredients including eggs, heavy cream, sour cream, salt and all-purpose flour which she then combined until the batter was creamy.

The batter is then covered to rest for an additional two hours. Miss A lovingly sang the buckwheat a goodnight song before its nap (which she wasn’t taking again today) and “tucked it in” under the towel. Two hours later the batter had risen even more and was ready to cook.

We stirred the batter once again and then heated the iron griddle over medium-high heat. After coating the griddle in cooking spray we scooped the batter onto the griddle pouring 2″ to 4″ circles.

Once the batter is set and dry, the blini are flipped to brown on the other side. This recipe made about three dozen small blini.

In Russia, blini are most commonly served with caviar, smoked salmon, sour cream, green onions, jellies or honey. Tonight we served our blini with a jellies, sour cream, smoked salmon and caviar. Mr. N and Miss A were both adventurous and tried the caviar, but much preferred the jellied blini.

Dad and I started with the smoked salmon, sour cream and caviar. Neither one of us were too crazy about the caviar, but enjoyed the smoked salmon. That said, we liked the jelly better too.

Tonight’s meal was fun and a big winner for Mr. N and Miss A who both gave the blini four spoons.

Even Miss A had two helpings of blini, both of which she finished. I don’t remember the last time she cleaned a plate!

As for us grown-ups, Dad gave the blini two spoons and I’m only giving this dish one spoon. I’m happy the kids enjoyed the meal and they’re excited for the leftovers at breakfast. We also learned a lot about Russian cuisine and blini which was fun,  but I have to say I prefer buttermilk pancakes to the buckwheat and syrup to caviar. And now since I’m still hungry, I’m going to grab myself another spring treat – Girl Scout Cookies!

Print this recipe: Russian Blini

15 thoughts on “Welcoming Spring Russian Style

  1. ihmissusi says:

    Frankly, no one eats pancakes with buckwheat anymore))) no one))) it’s so cool that you have read so old recipe) Caviar — is very expensive, maximum once a year. with fish — it’s very ooold recipe too)) everyone eat with sour cream and strawberry or cherry jam. but not from shop — ALWAYS homy jam (even if the berry is bought on the market).

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  2. Charles says:

    Heh, I had no idea blinis were Russian – I’d always thought they were greek or something for some reason. They sell them ready-made over here – if you ever have them again, and can find it, try them with some Taramosalata (maybe that’s why I thought they were greek?) – the two go really well together!

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  3. Babygirl says:

    Oh My goodness, the cuteness factor of these two adorable kiddies have gone through the roof with me lol. They are just adorable. And do you know how long I’ve been wanting to try buckwheat pancakes? I am definitely trying it now after this post lol. I also wanted to let you know that your award will be posted on my blog at 5:30 pm eastern today 🙂

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  4. sallybr says:

    My gosh, they are MUCH more adventurous than I was…. I did not try caviar until I was 30 years old, can you imagine?

    great post, I love blinis, but never made them myself… great thing to do with the kids…

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    • ChefMom says:

      Mr. N has always been an adventurer when it comes to food and I think he’s rubbing off on Miss A – tonight she was the first one to try the caviar. They are both far more adventurous than I was as a kid – heck even than I was ten years ago (I have the hubby to thank for that.)! Have a great night Sally!

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