Helen's lovely and poignant post about blinchiki inspired childhood memories and a real craving for these thin Russian pancakes. Like I commented on Helen's blog, as a kid, I had the same fascination with flipping blinchiki when my mom made them on weekend mornings. I wrote about savory blinchiki before and I don't intend to re-post the recipe or the instructions--I urge you to check out Helen's authoritative guide to making and flipping crepes. (I use a spatula and sometimes even my fingers to flip them. Ouch.)
Rather, I want to offer some tips and thoughts on making blinchiki a beloved weekend breakfast tradition on par with fresh-baked brunch goodies.
-Do make blinchiki on weekends only. It takes some time to fry them and you can't hurry this process along.
-The first blinchik will usually tear when you flip it. I think that's because the pan hasn't had time to heat up properly. The French say "La première, c'est pour le chien." (The first one's for the dog.) In Russian, it's "pervei blin komom." (The first one's a mess.)
-If you don't have a dog, do eat the scraps of the first blinchik! You'll be behind the stove for a little while and will need something to tide you over.
-Eat one well-made blinchik while you're working, too. It'll give you a taste of what's to come.
-Sweet fillings are for weekend blinchiki. Savory fillings are for weeknight blinchiki.
-Serve blinchiki buffet-style with a nice assortment of toppings.
-I tried to give an example of appropriate toppings in the above photo. I suggest you offer: at least two kinds of jam (that's apricot and raspberry in the photo), sour cream, butter, honey and sugar. Maple syrup wouldn't be bad at all. Nutella works, if that's your thing.
-Do make a big pot of tea to wash down the blinchki. Coffee will work as blinchiki breakfast beverage, but ideally you want black tea and lots of it. Make sure the tea is hot and ready when you serve the blinchiki.
-Blinchiki with tvorog (farmer's cheese) become blintzes. That's a Yiddish word, by the way, not a Russian one. I has some leftover tvorog so I mixed it with a little sugar and sour cream, filled and rolled up a couple of blinchki and topped them with honey.
-Don't believe those recipes that say two blinchiki per person is enough. If they're filled, maybe. If not, everyone will want more. I know I will. Figure on five per person.