Buckwheat Whole Wheat Blinis

on dish.jpgBlini are Russian crepes. They can be made full size and wrapped around sour cream, lox, and if you have the money, caviar. You can also make them silver dollar size for canapes, and top them with piped sour cream and lox (and if you can afford it, caviar.)

I love the yeasty taste and spongy texture of blini. I added whole wheat flour to the traditional mix of buckwheat flour and all purpose flour for extra nutrition. The sugar helps offset the bitterness of the buckwheat.

Makes about 40 small blinis or 10 large crepes

Have ingredients at room temperature

Sponge:

1/2 cup warm water. Be sure it’s not too hot to kill the yeast!

2 tsp sugar

1/2 cup active dry yeast (not instant yeast)

1/4 cup all purpose white flour

Batter:

1 cup milk (I used 1% but most recipes call for whole milk)

2 Tb butter

2 eggs, separated

1/2 cup all purpose white flour

1/3 cup buckwheat flour

1/3 cup finely ground whole wheat flour

3/4 tsp salt + a few shakes to add to egg whites

2 Tb sugar +a pinch to add to egg whites

Directions:

Stir 2 tsp sugar into warm water until it dissolves. (I found that 20 seconds in my microwave heats the water). Sprinkle in yeast and stir again. Let it proof for 10 minutes.

sponge

Then whisk in 1/4 cup white flour. Cover with a clean dishtowel and let the sponge rise for an hour until bubbly and doubled in size.

While sponge is rising,  prepare the ingredients for the batter:

milk n butter unheatedPour milk into a heatproof container, such as a Pyrex measuring cup. Add chopped butter.

heated milk and butter Microwave for a minute and stir until butter melts and milk is warm, but not hot.

Separate eggs, pouring whites into a mixing bowl. Stir egg yolks into milk.

After the sponge has risen and is bubbly, whisk in milk mixture, flours, salt and sugar until smooth. Cover with parchment paper and a clean dishtowel and let rise in a warm place free from drafts for an hour.

egg whitesBeat egg whites with a few shakes salt and a pinch of sugar until stiff.

batter with egg whitesFold them into the batter.

fryingHeat a cast iron skillet and wipe it with oil on a paper towel. To double your production, use two skillets (if you can keep up and not let the blinis burn!) With stove on medium, pour spoonfuls into the pan to make silver dollar sized pancakes.

flippedWhen holes form, flip them over and cook until they are golden brown.

Alternatively, you can pour enough into a pan to make a full sized crepe, turning the pan until it is covered with batter. Wipe the pan with the oiled paper towel between batches.

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Put blinis on parchment paper and place a piece of parchment between the stacks of blinis.

Spread crepes with sour cream and a few slices of lox. Roll them up and serve.

servingOr pipe sour cream over the pancakes with a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and top with a piece of lox (and or caviar) and sprinkle with dill weed.

 

 

 

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Blueberry Nut Pancakes

I’m a big fan of pancakes. When my sister and I were little, our daddy used to make them into our initials and animal shapes. I did the same for my own kids when they were small.

Fresh blueberries add a delicious juiciness to pancakes, so I make these in the summer when the blueberries are cheap and plentiful. Just cut them in half first, otherwise they make big lumps that will cause your pancakes to have raw spots. Defrosted blueberries can be used whole. Chop up a few strawberries to add to the blueberries if you like. I’ve  also tried adding a soft banana that I smashed up to the batter.

Several friends have introduced me to Sally Fallon’s cookbook “Nourishing Traditions” in which she maintains that soaking whole grains in yogurt, buttermilk, or a water and lemon juice mixture, aids absorption of minerals from the bran and increases B vitamins. I don’t know enough about nutritional science to explain or judge this, but she provides an interesting recipe for pancakes, which calls for soaking whole wheat flour in buttermilk overnight. This softens the whole flour to make the pancakes as light as those made with white flour, and gives them a sourdough taste. You can stir together plain nonfat yogurt and milk to substitute for buttermilk. I like to use the yogurt at the bottom of the container that has plenty of liquid whey.

Beginning with her soaking method, I created the following recipe. I separate the eggs and whip the whites and add a bit of white flour to lighten the pancakes. I add a little sugar and vanilla to balance the sourness of the buttermilk, nuts for a nice crunch and protein, and of course, blueberries.  My kids love to throw in a handful of chocolate chips for that sweet gooey touch.

Top with Strawberry Sauce

Serves 4  (about 20 small pancakes) 1/2 Recipe (about 10 pancakes) in parentheses

Ingredients

1 cup (½ cup) whole wheat flour. Even better with finely ground whole wheat flour.

2 ½ cups (1 1/4 cups) low fat buttermilk. Or substitute 2/3 cup (1/3) plain nonfat yogurt including 2 Tb (1 Tb) liquid whey, and 1 1/3 (2/3) cups milk (I use 1%)

2 eggs (1 egg), separated

1/4 cup (2 Tb) white flour

2 tsp (1 tsp) baking powder

½ tsp (1/4 tsp) baking soda

1 shake salt

2 tsp (1 tsp) sugar

1/4 cup (2 Tb) flax seed meal

2 tsp (1 tsp) vanilla

2 Tb (1 Tb) melted butter or extra-virgin coconut oil for coconut flavor. You can mix them too.

1 cup (½ cup) chopped walnuts or pecans, if desired

1 cup  (½ cup) fresh blueberries and/ or 1 (1/2) large soft banana

serving suggestion: fresh peaches, strawberries, pecans, maple syrup

whole wheat floutr with buttermilk

Combine flour and buttermilk, cover bowl with a clean dishtowel, and let stand in a warm spot overnight. (If you forget, you can do this step first and let it sit while you prepare the other ingredients. It still works.)

batter with egg.jpg

Separate eggs. Stir in yolks to flour mixture

beat egg whites until stiff

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Sift in white flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Stir in flax seed meal,

Melt butter and/or or coconut oil in oiled frying pan and stir into batter.

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Stir in vanilla.

Slice blueberries and fold into batter.

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Fold in nuts if desired

 

img_0491Fold in several spoonfuls of beaten egg whites to batter to lighten it. Then fold in the rest of the egg whites.

There should be enough butter in the pan  to fry the first batch of pancakes. You may need to add a bit more oil or butter to the pan for subsequent batches.

Fry spoonfuls into letters or shapes as desired, over medium flame.

Serve with sliced fresh peaches and/or strawberries   on top, drizzle with maple syrup or Strawberry Sauce if desired.