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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


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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Sunday 23rd of October 2011

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.


Friday 21st of October 2011

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.


Sunday 16th of October 2011

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.


Sunday 16th of October 2011

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

Frankly Entertaining

Saturday 15th of October 2011

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!