Blini (And Anise Whipped Cream!)

Crepes are eaten all over all over Europe and have been brought by Europeans to nearly every part of the world.  Each language has its own name for this thin pancake, and the Russian name for them is блины (blini).  They are easy to make and can be thrown together for breakfast, lunch or dessert.  You can make them sweet or savory, depending on the filling.


For blini, you will need:
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 C water
  • 3/4 C milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar, optional
  • canola oil (if your pan is not non-stick)









Melt the butter in a large bowl or measuring glass.  Pour in the water and milk and whisk to combine.



Mix in the eggs.  Stir in a pinch of salt and sugar, if using.  (Note:  I only use the sugar when making blini to use with a sweet filling.)









Whisk in the flour gradually.


When you've mixed in all the flour, make sure there are no lumps.  The batter should be thin and smooth.


Heat a medium-sized frying pan over medium-high heat.



 If you are using a pan without a nonstick coating, you will need to use a little canola or sunflower oil to grease the pan.  My pan, however, is nonstick and I have found that the crepes will not turn out as well if I grease the pan to start with.  I would suggest that you try the first one with a little oil in the pan and see how it turns out.  If the batter doesn't spread nicely, try the next one with no oil.
 Using a ladle or measuring cup, pour a small amount of batter into the heated pan and, working quickly, tilt the pan until the batter spreads to cover the entire bottom.


 


When the edges begin to turn brown, flip the pancake with a long spatula.  It will only take a couple of minutes for each side, so you will need to watch them carefully.














When the blin is done, slide it onto a plate and cover.  Set in the microwave or over a bowl of hot water to keep warm.


Repeat this process until you have used up all of the batter.

 And now we can fill them!  This time, I used homemade pear preserves and anise whipped cream.  You can really use any kind of jam/jelly/preserves that you like, or fresh fruit to make sweet blini.
If you want to make savory ones, try filling them with sauteed mushrooms and onions or meat with carrots and onions.  That would really be another post in itself, so I will try to address that in the near future!


Here's how to fill/form them:



 Place one blin on your plate.
Put a nice-sized spoonful of preserves in the middle, and a dollop of whipped cream in the middle of that.  Sour cream also works well, if you don't want them overly sweet.


Fold in half over the filling.
And then in half again.  And enjoy!
For the anise whipped cream, combine 2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, 3 Tbsp sugar and 1 shot (about 1.5 ounce) of ouzo or arak in a chilled mixing bowl.  I actually poured ice into the bottom of the sink and put the mixing bowl in that, to make sure that it stayed cold while I was working with it.

Using a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream until it holds soft peaks.  Use for blini or trifle, or anywhere else that the anise flavor would complement the other tastes.

Homemade pear preserves with vanilla bean and cloves

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