Caraway Blini

I happened to have some smoked salmon which needed using up - you know, like you do - and I wanted a new blini recipe.  The problem with blini is that by about the third, you're feeling their leaden grip in your stomach.  They stop being a vehicle for the topping and become a hindrance.  I'd had my eye on Felicity Cloake's recipe for a while now, as it's a variation on Richard Bertinet's, and I think we all know I love Richard's gallic charm (and his excellent online baking shop).

Felicity trialled a number of batters, and gives her verdict - go have a look - it's an interesting article and it may well be that the beer batter she mentions appeals more to you... 

I liked this one because of the inclusion of the egg whites, which I thought would add an airy lightness to the batter, and it does.  Felicity also includes caraway seeds: I'm a definite fan - there are a few recipes on here which include caraway.  The batter does take a little longer to make than some variations, but the steps really do require the minimum of work, so it's really not onerous!

150ml milk
70g buckwheat flour
70g strong white flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp caraway seeds
2 free-range eggs, separated
4g dried yeast
100g sour cream
25g butter
Makes about 35

  • Heat the milk in a small pan until it just boils. While it heats, put the flours, the salt and the caraway seeds in a large bowl and separate the eggs.
  • When the milk begins to boil, take it off the heat and stir in the yeast, followed by the egg yolks and the sour cream – you'll need to stir vigorously with each addition.
  • Pour the contents of the pan slowly into the bowl of flour, stirring as you do so. When you have a smooth paste, cover and leave in a warm place for an hour, or until spongy – it won't rise dramatically, but it should have expanded slightly, and have developed a few bubbles on the surface.
  • Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks and then very gently fold them into the mixture using a rubber spatula or metal spoon. Once thoroughly mixed, cover, and leave for another 2 hours.
  • When ready to cook, melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium high heat, then add the batter in teaspoonfuls to the pan and cook until bubbles rise to the top, then flip them over and cook for another minute or so on the other side, until golden brown. You'll probably need to do this in batches, so keep them warm while you cook the rest – these are best hot from the pan.

  • I only left the second rise for an hour, but it was in a warming drawer.  The results were fine, but when I came back later to tidy up, the remaining batter in the bowl was even lighter and more voluminous.  Do try to leave it for the full rise if you have the time
  • I have a Staub crepe pan, which I should have used, but it's a heavy beast to dig out late on a Sunday night... These actually worked just as well in a non-stick pan
  • I slightly whisked my egg whites at stage one - stop - they go in at stage two!  They were fine take on from there though...
  • The caraway worked perfectly with the salmon, but it's not necessary if you don't like it