Monday, May 15, 2006

Some Thoughts on Blinchiki

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.


mzn said...

I always flip crepes with my fingers.

I didn't know that there are people who don't like nutella. Too bad for them.

Mrs. M. said...

I'm not a big fan of Nutella. I do like to smear it on vanilla cookies sometimes.

My favorite blinchiki topping these days is sour cream and honey.

Anonymous said...

What a great brunch idea, to serve these with an assortment of toppings. I bet lemon curd would be good, too. Love the photo, BTW.

Anonymous said...

These look great. I am not a practiced maker of crepe-like pancakes.I think this is something I should work on.

Mrs. M. said...

Rebecca--Lemon curd would be great. Pretty much anything that's sweet and smearable is good. I like peanut butter on crepes sometimes.

Lindy--I'm not a practiced maker of crepes either! They're pretty easy to make if you use a non-stick pan, though. I don't hesitate to use my fingers if I can't flip them with a knife or spatula.

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Helen said...

Reading this post transported me to a sunday morning (even though it's a tuesday morning and I should really be working). I agree with absolutely everything and yes, I too sometimes flip blinchiki with my fingers :)

I have a confession to make. As good as blinchiki are when you serve them at the table, there is absolutely nothing that can compare to eating them right out of the pan. I usually have a little bowl of slightly salted melted butter next to me as I am frying them, so that I can eat that first blinchik. Even if it's a little torn and wrinkly, it's the yummiest of them all :)

By the way, I had a recent crepe/blinchik related discovery. Have you ever tried them with dulce de lece (it's essentially cooked condensed milk)? A layer of that, some granny smith apples and walnuts -- pure heaven. Of course, it has more of a crepe feel than a blinchik feel, but it's oh so good.


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Anonymous said...

me and my 2 friends have to make blinchiki for a school project. it will be our first time to make it. any reccomendations??

Rozmin said...

Two per person?!? Are there really individuals who are so delusional??? :-) I like them with honey and tvorog ... also apricot jam.

Natalya said...

Since I am a child, I love eating and making Russian blinis. My favorite ones are with heavy cream, honey and melted butter.
Surely I adore blinis stuffed with “tvorog”.

I have also a cooking blog of mine. If you are interested, have a look at it, hope you’ll enjoy as I enjoyed visiting your blog !

My best wishes,

post-soviet vegetarian said...

Can't stop smiling, transforms me right back to a sunday morning (as was already mentioned by someone else), when I was standing by the stove helping my mother with breakfast. It was always my "job" to cook them, and my "job" to eat the first one, and the second, and whatever turns out too dark... as you said. Really enjoy your blog, thank you.

PS. Bliny are also great with evaporated condensed milk (sgushjonka, as we used to call it, thanks to Helen for a reminder), preserves, even mashed potatoes:)

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