As many of you are aware, this Tuesday is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, and thus has been deemed the day when people indulge in their wildest fantasies and vices, as they are to spend the next 40 days repenting. Some call this day Marti Gras (Fat Tuesday), but in Russia it's called Масленица (Butter Week) and it lasts a week :-) It also has roots in a pagan holiday marking the end of winter. For the Great Lent, Russian Orthodox don't eat some combination of oil, sugar, dairy, or meat (extremely devout Orthodox they give up them all), so in this week the Russian pancake or блини is prepared. More can be found out about this holiday at http://www.maslenitsa.com/
After watching a video from last spring of my friend Natasha demonstrating how to make блини, with no measuring devices and a little translation, I have just successfully prepared a batch of my very own. Here is the resulting recipe, with American measurements, that will yield about 6-7:
0.5L milk (a little more than 2 cups)
1 Tbsp water
3 small spoonfuls of sugar (more or less depending on yo' flava')
a bit of salt
knife tip of baking soda (about 1tsp)
- Mix the above, and add flour for consistency. Here's where it gets tricky, as I used skim milk it took about 3 cups, but it might take less with more milkfat. The batter should be thin, but creamy.
- Heat oil in a skillet. Now, real Russians would put in more oil every blini, but in case you want to live a long and healthy life, this is not necessary.
- Using like a ladle, pour in enough batter to coat the bottom of the pan. (Pick up the pan and tilt it around to make it spread)
- When the batter lightly bubbles, it's time to flip it. There is a skill here which must be learned with experience.
- Taste test this first one to see if you need more flour or sugar. Oh and the first one usually looks kind of bad.
- Repeat until the batter is finished.
Voila! Enjoy your homemade Блини with sweetened condensed milk, jam, chocolate, fruit... whatever you want!
Anyone wanna have a Blini Party?