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Tsar’s Blinis with Red Caviar and Other Fillings

Posted By Alina On February 22, 2010 @ 18:20 In Russian | 12 Comments

This is the recipe for those exclusive Tsar’s Blinis that I promised you a week ago :) We had never made them before, but, since it was my Mum who kept things under control, the pancakes came out perfect from the very first attempt. (Compare [1] to my miserable first-time experience with homemade tortillas!)

Of course these are not everday or every weekend pancakes. They are meant for special occasions only (unless you’re a Tsar or a Tsarina *cough*). To begin with, despite all myths, Russians do not eat red caviar every day. I’d rather say, being a Russian myself, I wouldn’t discuss recipes involving caviar with most of my friends, just as I wouldn’t parade a shampoo I bought for 30 EUR or anything else that costs above average. I haven’t bought 30 EUR shampoos ever since I got my first job and wanted to try what it feels like to spend money, but I still do like caviar… I’m a foodie after all! Besides, it’s more about the „public image” of caviar as a luxury product, rather than the price (at least here in Latvia). Anyway, with these pancakes we had one small can of red caviar (about 140g net I believe) plus other fillings, such as jam and sour cream. And nobody complained :)

Another important thing about Russian blinis (and I think myths say the truth here), is that nobody would bother to make 2 blinis per person. On Maslenitsa, you eat as much as you like/can, not to mention that pancakes look best when stacked in tall towers ;-) This recipe made with 1 litre milk and 600g flour is given for 6 persons. I think you can easily reduce the ingredients by half and it still will be enough for a normal meal. In both cases, it’s wise to bake the blinis on two skillets. Or else you might never meet your guests as you’ll be stuck in the kitchen until the end of the day. It’s a common problem with pancakes – you need to be paaatieeent… It takes a while to prepare this batter, but the pancakes themselves are extremely quick to cook though – maybe that’s because they’re so airy. Why wouldn’t they be airy – with whipped cream and whipped egg whites in the batter?!

1l lukewarm milk
600g top quality wheat flour
25g yeast
5 eggs, yolks and whites separated, whites chilled
150g butter
200g cream
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
Refined vegetable oil

1 small can red caviar, raspberry jam, sour cream/creme fraiche, or anything else you like for filling

Combine 1/2l milk, 400g flour, and yeast. Mix well, cover and leave the batter in a warm place (warm like, say, kitchen, not like a baking oven) for about an hour to rise.

When the batter has risen, add in remaining flour and milk (still slightly warm), salt, sugar, and egg yolks blended with butter until light. Blend thoroughly and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile,whisk chilled egg whites until stiff. In a separate bowl, whisk cream.

When the batter has risen for the second time, gently stir in whipped cream and egg whites. Let the batter rest for 10-15 minutes and start cooking the pancakes on medium-sized skillets sprinkled with vegetable oil. Add some oil every time you flip a pancake or place a new one. Be careful as you flip the pancakes - they are very fragile.

Serve with red caviar, raspberry jam, sour cream, or any other type of topping you like. But of course it’s caviar that makes these blinis really royal.

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[1] Compare: http://www.russianseason.net/index.php/2010/02/apple-crumb-cake/

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