Russian Blini with Beetroot and Prune Caviar

Silvena Rowe's tiny yeast-raised pancakes make ideal party food topped with a tangy relish. Serve them with vodka for a real Russian kick
By Silvena Rowe
Russian Blini with Beetroot and Prune Caviar
  • Rating:
  • Serves: makes 40
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes plus cooling and rising time
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the beetroot and prune caviar

  • 2 medium beetroot
  • 2 tbsp sweet sherry
  • 6 plump prunes, stones removed, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 50 g ground walnuts
  • 1 tbsp soured cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill

For the blini

  • 160 g plain flour
  • 160 ml milk, warmed
  • 10 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 10 g fresh yeast
  • 1 tbsp soured cream
  • 100 g clarified butter

Method

1. For the beetroot and prune caviar: preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Wrap the beetroot in foil and bake for about an hour, then set aside to cool.

2. Meanwhile, heat the sherry in a small saucepan and add the prunes. Leave them to soak for at least 30 minutes.

3. When the beetroot are cool, peel them and grate the flesh coarsely. Put in a bowl with the marinated prunes and sherry. Add the garlic and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, then add the lemon juice, walnuts and soured cream and set aside.

4. For the blinis: put the flour in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Make sure the milk is just barely warm. Add the sugar and salt to the milk and stir well. Add the egg yolks and yeast and mix until all is dissolved.

5. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour, and very slowly incorporate the flour into the liquid until everything is amalgamated and smooth. Leave covered in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.

6. Stir the soured cream into the dough. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks and fold them into the dough.

7. To cook, place a heavy non-stick frying pan on a high to medium heat and use a pastry brush to lightly grease the surface with some clarified butter.

8. Using a small ladle, spoon some of the dough into the frying pan. Cook for about 30 seconds until golden brown, then turn over with a spatula and cook for another 30 seconds.

9. Arrange the blini on a serving platter. Top with the beetroot and prune caviar, then garnish with a pinch of dill.

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