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Blini

Blini are an impressive and elegant alternative to toast rounds to carry a topping. They can be dressed up with crème fraîche and caviar, meet you on a weeknight with gravlax or rillettes, or team up with a casual hummus. They are easy to prepare, and I find them therapeutic to make. There is always something satisfying watching the bubbling and rising of yeast activity and working with a yeasted batter or a dough.  Recently, I have been topping these buckwheat blini with a silky and simple eggplant spread and a sprinkling of chopped chives and enjoying these little bites with a glass of our Gentleman Farmer Napa Valley Chardonnay, sipping both during and post-production.

Ingredients

Equipment

Medium bowl
Nonstick skillet

Ingredients

375 ml / 1 ½ cups milk, divided
5g / 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
5g / 1 teaspoon sugar
100g / ⅔ cup flour
100g / ⅔ cup buckwheat flour
1 egg, separated
150 g / 11 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter
½ teaspoon salt
Clarified butter, lard, or oil for frying

How To Make

1
Gently heat 100 ml or ½ cup of the milk until just warm to the touch, 100ºF/38ºC. Remove from heat and stir in yeast and sugar. Add all-purpose flour to a medium bowl, whisk. Pour in the milk and yeast mixture. Mix until batter is smooth. Set aside to rise in a warm place for 20 minutes. Whisk egg white until still peaks form, set aside.
2
To the batter, add the buckwheat flour, remaining milk, melted butter, and egg yolk. Beat until well combined. Fold in the egg white and salt until well combined. Allow to rise in a warm place for another 20 minutes until batter has increased about 30% in size.
3
Add a little clarified butter to a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, spoon about 1 tablespoon of batter to the pan for each pancake. They will cook quickly, about a minute to 90 seconds on each side. Serve immediately topped with my eggplant spread, sour cream, caviar, or another topping.

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