Buckwheat Blinis

Russian Buckwheat Blinis, perfect for canapes, entertaining and cocktail parties

Blinis are light, yeast pancakes which have an almost sourdough flavour, traditionally from Russia. They are incredibly versatile and can be topped with almost anything. They are also very freezable, so I like to make a big batch then freeze them in batches of 8-10 wrapped in aluminium foil so they are ready to pop in the oven when you have unexpected guests.

I used a mix of wheat and buckwheat flour so they are not gluten-free. I am yet to try 100% buckwheat flour blinis – that can be my next challenge, if anyone has tried them I’d love to know how they were.

The recipe I used said it fed 8-10 people, but I ended up making 140 blinis, I was flipping pancakes for almost 2 hours! I have halved this recipe so it should now make around 70 blinis, but can easily be doubled again.

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  • 110g buckwheat flour
  • 110g plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 free-range egg, plus 1 free-range egg white
  • 21g fresh yeast
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 350ml warm milk
  • 1 tsp melted butter
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  1. Sift the buckwheat flour and plain flour into a bowl and mix with a pinch of salt.
  2. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the whole egg and half of the egg white. Whisk from the centre outwards to create a thick paste.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the yeast, sugar and milk and leave to stand for a couple of minutes.
  4. Gradually pour the yeast mixture into the flour and egg mixture, whisking constantly, to make a smooth batter.
  5. Add the melted butter and stir well.
  6. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for at least one hour and up to overnight.
  7. Just before cooking the blinis, whisk the remaining egg white in a clean bowl until light, then fold into the batter.
  8. Heat a little oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Pour enough batter into the pan to make a 5-6cm/2.5in diameter blini.
  9. When bubbles start to appear on the surface of the batter, about 30 seconds, turn the blini over and cook the other side.
  10. Remove the blini from the pan and keep warm while you make the rest of the blinis in the same way.

To freeze: Make blinis as per the recipe but cool quickly by placing on a wire rack. Wrap in foil to form parcels of 8-10. Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge (optional, you can oven them straight from the freezer). To reheat, preheat the oven to gas mark 1, 275°F, 140°C, place the parcels on the oven shelf and heat through for 10 minutes.

We topped out blinis with a trio of vegetarian caviar – smokey aubergine, carrot & cumin and beetroot & walnut – pictures and recipes to come soon!

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