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Blini

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Blini are Russian thin pancakes (very similar to French crêpes) which are often served in connection with a religious rite or festival in several cultures. The word "blin" (singular of blini) comes from Old Slavic "mlin", which means "to mill".

Left: Blini served with sour cream.

Blins had a somewhat ritual significance for early Slavic peoples in pre-Christian times since they were a symbol of the sun, due to their round form. They were traditionally prepared at the end of the winter to honor the rebirth of the new sun during Maslenitsa (Масленица, Butter Week; also known as Pancake Week). This tradition was adopted by the Orthodox Church and is carried on to the present day, as the last week of dairy and egg products before Lent. Bliny are still often served at wakes, to commemorate the recently deceased.

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Blini can be made from wheat, buckwheat, or other grains, although wheat blini are most popular in Russia. They may be topped with butter, smetana (sour cream), fruit preserves or caviar.

Left: Making blini.

 

Blini Recipe

 
Flour

2 cups

Milk 2 cups
Eggs 2
Sugar 2 tbsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Olive oil 30 g
Butter to taste

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To make the pancake batter, whisk eggs in a pan, add milk and then the flour and blend using an electric blender or food processor:

 

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Or if a blender is not available, sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the eggs and beat well. Then add the milk gradually and beat well. When all the liquid has been added, use a rubber spatula to scrape any elusive bits of flour from around the edge into the centre, then whisk once more until the batter is smooth, with the consistency of thin cream. Then leave to stand for 15-30 minutes:

     
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Add olive oil into the batter and whisk it in:

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Get the pan really hot, pour 1 tbsp of olive oil and use a wodge of kitchen paper to smear it round before you make each pancake, then turn the heat down to medium:

     
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To start with, do a test pancake to see if you're using the correct amount of batter.  It's also helpful if you spoon the batter into a ladle so it can be poured into the hot pan in one go. As soon as the batter hits the hot pan, tip it around from side to side to get the base evenly coated with batter:

     
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It should take only half a minute or so to cook; you can lift the edge with a palette knife to see if it's tinged gold as it should be. Flip the pancake over with a pan slice or palette knife - the other side will need a few seconds only - then simply slide it out of the pan onto a plate:

     
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Stack the pancakes as you make them between sheets of greaseproof paper on a plate fitted over simmering water, to keep them warm while you make the rest.
 

Recipe source: supercook.org

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