Blini with Dill crème fraiche
My first encounter with these bite-sized pillow-y morsels dates back prior to the turn of this brand new century. To an afternoon in early autumn in a suburb on the outskirts of Paris named Fontenay Sous Bois. It was a Friday or Saturday, the afternoon light long and low as it stretched across an autumn sky streaked red and gold. I’m standing in the kitchen, its window faced out over the narrow street. The kitchen tiles are cool under my bare feet and the laughter of the children playing in the backyard drifts in through the open French doors.
We warm the blini and pile them high with toppings; salmon, caviar, soft French cheese. We pour out the remains of a bottle of red wine left on the bench from the evening before and retire to the backyard to soak up the last of the afternoon sun seemingly suspended in the sky before its sudden descent below the rooftops.
I will never cease to be surprised by the power of food to stir memories and to create them anew. If you have never made blini I challenge you to give them a go. Create a new food experience and special new food memory and share it with the people you love. Make it extra special – don a frock, dust off the fine china and pop the champagne!
Makes approx 50 bliniBlini
100g plain flour
75 g buckwheat flour
1 tsp dried yeast
1 tsp honey
Dill crème fraiche
200g crème fraiche
1 tbsp chopped dill
1 tsp chopped parsley
Hot smoked salmon
1. Sift the flours, add the yeast and a pinch of salt and stir until combined.
2. Warm the milk, honey and the butter then remove from the heat and add the buttermilk and eggs yolks and whisk until combined.
3. Slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour, whisking continuously until all lumps are gone. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for an hour in a warm place. The hot water cupboard worked well for me.
4. Beat the egg whites to form stiff peaks then gently fold this through the flour mixture.
5. In a non-stick frying pan with a bit of butter, place teaspoonfuls of the mixture and cook until little bubbles pock the surface of each blini. Flip and cook the reverse side until brown.
Dill crème fraiche
1. Combine all ingredients and mix until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.
1. Either pipe or spread each blini with the dill crème fraiche then top with desired toppings.