Blini 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
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
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
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.
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:
Pour milk into a heatproof container, such as a Pyrex measuring cup. Add chopped 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.
Beat egg whites with a few shakes salt and a pinch of sugar until stiff.
Fold them into the batter.
Heat 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.
When 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.
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.
Or 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.