Buckwheat Blini with Smoked Salmon

Ah, blini. It’s been so long, I had forgotten about you. And that’s a shame, because buckwheat pancakes and smoked salmon and crème fraîche were a team that was just meant to be. Oh, and did I forget to mention dill? Don’t forget the dill.

I cranked these babies out before dinner last night (having made the dough the night before to rest in the fridge), and totally filled my tummy before the night’s meal even hit the stove. I consoled myself over my lack of willpower by remembering that buckwheat = good for you, and wild-caught smoked salmon = good for you, and dill = good for you, and crème fraîche = sometimes you just haveta.

One note on this particular recipe from Dorie Greenspan on Epicurious: I’ve prepared it only once, so I may have messed up somewhere, but I thought the batter was really, really thin. More suited for crepes, actually.

If my spotty memory serves me, I seem to remember making blini by first separating the eggs*, and adding the yolk to the batter before the first rise. Then whipping up the egg whites and folding them gently into the batter for a short second rise. At any rate, there were whipped egg whites in there somewhere, to help create a sturdier, fluffier platform for the salmon.

But, as I was scarfing down my third blini — the absence of fluffy egg whites sure didn’t hamper the taste — it occurred to me that I probably should’ve made crepes anyway. And maybe whipped in a bit of cream cheese in with the crème fraîche. Which might be blini blasphemy, but if cream cheese is wrong, I can’t be, won’t be, don’t wanna be right.

(*Doristas, my copy of AMFT is currently buried somewhere in a waist-deep tangle of books and knickknacks, as I’m installing new bookshelves in my living room. Dorie’s recipe in AMFT might just call for whipped egg whites, but I can’t. find. the. book. I’m missing a shoe, too.)

With holiday party season approaching scarily fast (where did summer go!), I can vouch for the appetizer worthiness of blini. Although the recipe specifies to keep them warm until ready to eat, my blini were room-temperature-cool by the time I finished photographing them. And they went down right smooth. They’ll be just fine on a serving tray (if they even last long enough to get cool).

This post is participating in French Fridays with Dorie — be sure to check out the blini creations of the other participants!

Buckwheat Blinis with Smoked Salmon

from Dorie Greenspan, on Epicurious.com


1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup buckwheat flour
4 teaspoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt
1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Melted butter
Crème fraîche
1 (4-ounce) package thinly sliced smoked salmon
Salmon roe
Fresh dill sprigs

Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium bowl.

Melt butter in small saucepan over heat. Add milk and heat until mixture reaches 110°F on an instant read thermometer (if mixture gets too warm, cool until temperature returns to 110°F. If the liquid is too hot, you’ll kill the yeast). Pour warm milk mixture into flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, 1 to 1 1/2 hours (or refrigerate overnight in a large, covered bowl).

Whisk buckwheat batter to deflate, then whisk in eggs.

Preheat oven to 200°F. Heat griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Brush lightly with melted butter. Working in batches, pour 2 tablespoons batter for each blini onto griddle, with room in between for spread. Cook until bubbles form on top and begin to pop, about 1 1/2 minutes. Flip and cook until golden brown on bottom, about another 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet. Tent with foil and place in oven to keep warm while cooking remaining blinis.

Arrange warm blinis on platter. Spoon 1 rounded teaspoon crème fraîche atop each. Top with smoked salmon. Garnish with salmon roe and dill sprigs and serve.

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  1. Nope – this was a pretty thin batter & no whipped egg-y whites… Crepes, cream cheese and creme fraiche can NEVER be wrong.
    Oooohh, bookshelves are awesome! Happy organizing.

  2. My blini came out pretty thin as well, which I found surprising considering all that yeast. Not that I’ve ever used yeast in pancakes before, but somehow I too expected them to be a bit fluffier than they were. I also thought that blini were supposed to be bite sized (or is that just me?) and so I made mine much smaller than Dorie’s.

    But as you say, in the end it is the taste that matters, and your look delicious!

  3. I’m jealous as to how even the brownness is on your blini! Yum!

  4. My batter was not very thin, just like dutch pancake batter. Your photo’s do look great.

  5. mine came out thin, I was expecting them to rise a bit more too! especially with the ones I have seen on TC, they are always a bit higher than these turned out, but delicious nonetheless! We used our fingers and folded them like a taco and if you blinked you wouldnt have known that we had made or eaten any blinis :) These were great!
    did you skip the roe? … I’m curious to find someone who used and found roe :)

  6. The salmon’s color is so vibrant! I only let my batter rise for about an hour and felt that the batter puffed up nicely (not unlike regular pancakes). The Epicurious version of the recipe is a little different from the one in the book, but I think it has to do more with the yield.

  7. Hope you find your book eventually! New bookshelves are always fun, but all those books sure do clutter up space when they aren’t shelved. Your blinis look great. How did everyone score so many points for presentation value? Mine looked awful. lol

  8. I love the color contrast of your beautifully browned blinis against the white creme fraiche and vibrant orange salmon – excellent presentation and pretty plates!

  9. These look fantastic. I love the nutty taste of buckwheat in crepes or blini. Could you use Greek yogurt instead of the creme fraiche for something a little less guilt inducing?

  10. These look amazing! I am smoking a salmon for a party this weekend, so I’ll just have to set aside a little for later…

  11. Gorgeous, gorgeous photos!!! They’re making me yearn for another batch!!!

  12. Your picture is gorgeous! Hopefully you’ll find your book … and your shoe soon! I’m assuming you have more than one pair of shoes so that you’re not walking around half barefoot!

  13. I love, love, love your presentation! I would have eaten them all before dinner for sure.

  14. Your blini are so beautifully browned — the best I’ve seen so far.
    My batter was actually really thick, before I added the eggs. Then it was like normal pancake batter.
    How nice to have new bookshelves coming! I always say one can never have enough books! I hope you find your AMFT in time for next week’s recipe. If you need the recipe, let me know.

  15. I made this one a week or so late, but we all loved it. My kids are adventurous eaters, but even I was surprised to see my 7 year old scarffing down smoked salmon and caviar.

  16. Yours is the most beautiful presentation of this recipe that I’ve seen. I think this batter should have a life beyond blinis. I’m thinking using it for larger pancakes. Apple butter or maple syrup would work well with the buckwheat flavour, too.

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