• Blinis with ocean trout

    Blinis with ocean trout

    This is a spoil everyone, luxury indulgence treat. Blini are small, savoury pancakes of Russian origin, reminiscent of the humble pikelet but made instead with a rich yeast batter.

    Traditionally the batter is made from a mix of unbleached bread flour and buckwheat flour. For some reason the first recipe I tried featured rye flour instead and that is what I’ve always used with great success. In some versions the yeasty batter is further lightened with whipped egg whites just before cooking but ever being happy with the original I’ve not seen the need to add complications to what is a really easy, no-fail recipe. That’s its great strength; the batter is very forgiving as are the pancakes once they have been cooked.
    This recipe will make about 50 blini, something that will take about half an hour with two fry pans on the go. But if you wanted to whip up a few today and then some more tomorrow the batter will sit happily in the fridge overnight. Next day you may notice that the blini batter has lost a bubble or two but it soon perks up once it hits the hot pan. If you want to cook them all in one batch the day before a big event simply pop them in single layers on a large tray, baking paper between the layers, and wrap well in cling film.
    The next day they’ll just need a refresh in a low oven for five minutes and a short cool before proceeding with the topping. They are indeed best if served very slightly warm with the cold horseradish cream and salmon a nice contrast. Blinis are excellent with sparkling wine or Champagne, try Lake Barrington Alexandra

    The Recipe

    Blini with smoked ocean trout, horseradish cream and salmon roe
    600ml milk
    half tsp sugar
    1 tsp salt
    50g butter
    half cup crème fraiche (or sour cream)
    2 large eggs
    2 and a half cups unbleached flour
    three-quarters cup rye flour
    1 tsp instant dried yeast (Fermipan or equivalent)

    Scald the milk and add salt, butter, sugar and sour cream. Cool and beat in the eggs. Place the flours and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the milk and egg mixture and mix well with a wooden spoon or hand whisk until smooth. Add a little more milk if batter is too stiff. It should be of a dolloping consistency but not too runny. Let rise for an hour or two in a warm place, until bubbles form. Scoop out dessertspoonfuls and cook like pikelets over moderate heat in a butter-greased non-stick pan, turning once when bubbles appear on the surface. Cool on a cake rack.

    To serve:
    200ml King Island creme fraiche or rich sour cream
    3 tsp prepared horseradish (available in jars)
    good pinch sugar and salt
    squeeze of lemon or lime
    slices of smoked ocean trout or salmon
    salmon roe (optional)
    chives, cut into short lengths
    Whip the creme fraiche and the horseradish together with the sugar, salt and lemon until quite stiff. Refrigerate or use immediately. Spread freely over two-thirds of the blini. Place a drape of salmon on top then garnish with a dollop of salmon roe and/or lengths of chive.