Blini (блины́) is a Russian word for pancakes. While not being a Russian invention they are great part of the traditional Russian cuisine.
Pancakes were made in ancient Egypt, and in Greece and Rome. The idea of pancakes has been alive for several thousand years. In Russia, they became particularly widespread and loved by the population.
The first information about blini in the diet of Russian people comes from the year 1005 AD. Then blini were prepared from yeast. Today there are a huge number of blini recipes, striking in their diversity.
The Russians have even a special time in the year, when it is customary to eat blini – it is the holiday of Maslenitsa which lasts for a week. It is dedicated to the last days of winter and the beginning of Great Lent. It is forbidden to eat meat dishes at Maslenitsa, but you could eat a lot of pancakes generously flavored with butter.
Each country has different recipes and customs associated with pancakes. In Russia, pancake recipes vary greatly by region. Russian housewives can add semolina, buckwheat or millet porridge in the pancakes dough. They cook blini on water, milk or kefir. They can fill them with caviar, herring or any other fish, mushrooms or potato. The Russian blini can be served as a first or second course, or with hot tea along with honey, sour cream, cottage cheese, or jam.
In Russia, there are two types of pancakes: thin ones with a large diameter, and thick ones with a smaller diameter. The latter ones are called olad’i (ола́дьи).
Today we offer you a simple Russian blini recipe that you can make at home.
How to make Russian blini
To make thin Russian blini you will need:
Flour – 200 g
Eggs – 3 pcs.
Milk – 0.5 l
Butter or vegetable oil – 30 g (2 tbsp.)
Sugar – 30 g (2 tbsp.)
Salt – 2-3 g (0.5 tsp)
Prepare the dough
1. Prepare all the ingredients.
2. Break the eggs in a bowl, add salt and sugar. Mix everything until the mixture becomes smooth. You can use a mixer, a whisk or just a fork.
3. Add 100-150 ml of milk to the egg mixture, mix until smooth.
4. Sift the flour into the bowl. This will saturate it with oxygen and cleanse it of possible impurities.
5. Mix the dough until smooth, make sure there is no lumps.
6. Add the remaining milk and mix again.
7. Pour oil into pan. If you use butter, melt it first and let it cool down, and only then add it to the dough. Mix everything well.
8. In the end, you should have a fairly liquid dough. You can start frying.
A Russian saying states: “пе́рвый блин ко́мом” [pyér-vyî blin kó-mam], which means “the first pancake is lumpy”. It often happens when the pan is not hot enough, but this saying can be also applied to everything that one does for the first time and that does not come out so well.
For frying pancakes it is best to use big pan with low walls. It is better to fry on vegetable oil as butter will quickly burn. Make sure that the pan is well heated, only then you can get porous pancakes with little holes.
Oil the pan for the first pancake. Depending on the pan, you may not need to oil it again, as there is already enough oil in the dough itself. But if the pancakes stick, add more oil.
Pour the dough on a hot pan and rotate until the thin layer of dough covers the whole bottom of the pan. Try to add each time exactly as much dough as necessary to make the pancake thin.
When the dough from above stops being liquid and sticky and the edges of the pancake slightly darken, it is time to turn the pancake over.
Stack the finished blini on top of each other. When all of them are done, turn the pile upside down. The pancakes from the bottom are usually softer. These pancakes are served hot. You can serve them with honey, jam, sweet condensed milk or sour cream – to your taste.
Bon appetit! 🙂