Golden, hot and round, pancakes in Russia (Russian blini) from the ancient times symbolized the sun. Maslenitsa, originally a pagan rite of welcoming spring, a celebration that is beloved in all corners of Russia, never happens without blini and fun.
Perhaps, blini can be considered the most economical dish made of flour. Blinis are made from a very liquid batter, which increases in volume due to yeast, which is a unique feature of a Russian blini recipe. Russian blinis are thin, light and soft, almost translucent.
The dough for blinis was kneaded several hours before cooking. First, a pre-dough was made (using milk or water, yeast and a little flour.) Then, after the pre-dough rose, the rest of the ingredients were mixed into the dough: egg whites, butter, cream, salt and sugar, and the remaining flour. When the dough doubled in size, you could start cooking blini.
Blini Frying Pan
To make blini women used only cast iron skillets. They were not supposed to be washed, only wiped out and cleaned. A frying pan, sprinkled with salt, was heated on the fire. Then, when still hot, it was wiped with a dry cloth, sprinkled with salt again and kept being wiped until all burned deposit was gone. Only after this procedure you could fry blini on that pan again.
On the surface, the process of frying blini looks easy. In reality, to learn how to do it right, you need skill and experience. The batter is ladled and gently poured onto a heated and greased pan. It should be poured in a thin uniform layer. When a pancake starts to brown, it is lightly greased with butter and quickly turned.
How Blini Were Served
Most often blini were served with sour cream, melted butter or jam. Also they were used to wrap cured fish or caviar, cottage cheese or mushrooms.
William Pohlebkin, a researcher of the traditions of Russian cuisine, states that it used to be popular to make blini pies. This is how it was done: several blini were layered with the stuffing of meat and chopped eggs. The sides of that pie were greased with egg-milk mixture and the pie was baked in the oven.
You should definitely try Russian blini!
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