Yeastapalooza did not merely consist of cinnamon rolls and chocolate babka, my friends! We made blini, too!
Now, I must confess that I was not wise in the way of blini (the plural of blintz) before this weekend’s little experiment. Sure, I had had them, stuffed with cherry jam, at Rein’s Deli, but I didn’t know what made them special. Blini, it turns out, are like little pancakes with yeast in them. Or they’re like little souffles with flour and yeast in them. Or crepes. You get the idea. Their character is totally defined by your choice of topping. This vaguely southwestern recipe included cornmeal, so we topped them with sour cream and scallions, but my billy goat ate some of the leftovers with maple syrup to equally pleasing effects. And even better yet, this recipe used several eggs.
Now, I must confess that I have misplaced the piece of paper on which I scrawled the recipe, so I’m working from memory. That also means that I can’t provide a citation to the original source. I’m hoping my co-conspirator can help me out in the comments.
3/8 c. milk
2 t. instant yeast
2 T butter, plus more for frying
1/4 c. cornmeal
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk
2 egg white (use the extra yolks for mayo)
salt? pepper? It seems like there was something else…
1) If you haven’t already done so, separate your eggs. Beat the whites until the yolks form stiff peaks.
Remember, the key to happy egg whites is to make sure that none of the yolk make it into the whites. Some white in the yolk is, however, OK.
2) Warm the milk up a bit, but not too much, so as not to kill the yeast. I don’t use a thermometer, but if you do, I believe the happy spot is around 105°F. Dissolve the yeast in the milk and set aside for a few minutes. Add the flour and cornmeal.
3) Cream the butter and the yolk in the mixer. Add the yeast mixture and mix thoroughly.
4) Fold in the whites. Now, this is slightly tricky. When you fold something, you gently lift it and distribute with a spatula. This is not nearly so aggressive as stirring. When you’re done, it should look something like this:
Notice how much it looks like a souffle?
Then you just plop little bits—about 1/3 a cup at a time—onto a buttered griddle or pan. As the co-conspirator and I belatedly learned, the bigger your griddle, the faster this will go.
Then you eat them. You could theoretically keep them warm in a low oven while you cooked the rest, but we found it necessary to eat them one by one as they came off the stove. We tripled the recipe to no ill effects.