Russian Blini

This is not strictly a bread recipe, but I was so pleased with the result, I decided to write it down for the future. 
Last weekend we hosted a Russian-themed party, and what a better way to start a party than with a plate of blini and caviar! 
Whenever we have a Russian party - which is once in a blue moon – I get caviar from Caspian Caviar guys – great quality and really speedy delivery. If you are strapped for time, you can get blini from them as well, but they will never be as good as the ones you make yourself. 

Russian Blini 
Makes 30-35 

100 g plain flour 
70 g spelt wholemeal flour (mine is from Shipton Mill
250 ml warm milk 
¼ tsp sugar 
¼ tsp salt 
1 tsp dry yeast 
2 eggs, separated 

Serve with: 
Crème fraise 
Caviar (black or red) or smoked salmon or cooked prawns 
Chive (for decoration) 

Now, traditional blini use buckwheat flour, but I didn’t have any in the house – who does? So I had to improvise a bit. Spelt flour is my favourite flour at the moment – it has a rich and nutty flavour, adds just a hint of colour, and still gives that really light texture. 

Sieve flours in a medium size bowl, add yeast and sugar to one side and salt to the opposite side of the bowl. Obviously it will all gets mixed up in batter, but never ever add salt directly to yeast – it will kill it! Warm up milk, separate egg yolks from egg whites - add milk and yolks to the batter, set egg whites aside, you will need them later. 

Whisk everything together and leave covered in a warm place for about an hour and a half. You won’t see much happening in the batter, possibly a couple of small bubbles on the surface – that’s exactly how it should look. 

Whisk the egg whites in soft peaks and gently fold them into the batter – make sure that there are no white lumps, but try to keep as much air in the batter as possible. 

Heat up non-stick pan (you can add a drop of butter to the pan just to make sure it doesn't stick) on a medium heat. Spoon small amount to batter into the pan, you are aiming for small circles, around 5 cm in diameter. You can fry a few of them in one go – they only need 30-40 second on each side. Cook until blini turn light golden colour, flip and cook for a bit longer. 

Cool blini for about 5-10 minutes before serving. They are very versatile – I like mine cold with crème fraise and black caviar (and a vodka shot :), whether my kids like them warm, spread with some Nutella :)

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