These pancakes are savory enough to support a topping smoked salmon and sour cream. They may also be served with maple syrup or with sautéed onions and sour cream.
approximately 3 3⁄4 cups milk
2 cups buckwheat flour
1 1⁄2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 1⁄2 tablespoons sugar
5 large eggs, separated
4 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for browning
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups unbleached white flour
smoked salmon and sour cream for filling (optional)
chopped scallions or fresh dill for garnish (optional)
Scald 3 cups milk and cool to lukewarm. Place buckwheat flour in a large bowl and gradually stir in milk. Mix yeast and sugar together and stir into buckwheat mixture. Cover with a cloth and set in a warm place for 10–15 minutes, or until mixture is frothy and almost doubled in volume. Beat egg yolks together, and stir into flour mixture along with melted butter, salt and white flour. Beat with an electric mixer at low speed until well-blended and smooth, then beat at moderate speed for 2 minutes. If the batter is too thick, add the remaining 3⁄4 cup milk (or as much as necessary so that the batter is thick but pourable). Beat for 1 minute. Whip egg whites until stiff peaks form, then fold them gently into the batter. Cover and set in a warm place and let rise for 40–45 minutes, or until doubled in volume.
Grease a griddle with a small amount of butter, then heat. Ladle about 2 tablespoons of batter onto the pan for each pancake. Cook over medium heat until the bottoms are lightly browned and the surfaces covered with bubbles, about 1 minute. Turn and lightly brown on the other side. Place pancakes on a plate and keep warm in a 225° oven. Spread each pancake with sour cream, a slice of smoked salmon and a few minced scallion tops.
Makes about 30 blini (of about 4 inches in diameter each).