Is there a recipe you’ve always feared of making? Have you tried it or does it just seem way too complicated? I can honestly say I’m generally quite fearless in the kitchen. To me, recipes are for the most part a set of instructions. And I’m good with following instructions. You read, you measure, you chop/mix/whatever… and eventually you get to eat. My favorite! But then there were blini…
…making them scared me. Seriously scared me. Blini (Russian crepes) is absolutely my most favorite breakfast. I just love these buttery crepes dipped in sweet condensed milk or sour cream with jam. Love. So a few years back (when I had very little interest in cooking actually, so this memory surprises me), I asked my mom to show me how to make them.
The batter was a piece of cake – mix some flour, eggs, milk (or cream), a pinch of sugar and salt and you’re ready to go. Easy! This is where things got a little scary. You pour the batter into a hot pan and very quickly have to tilt it to form the perfect circle. My batter was forming all sorts of shapes, dripping all over the place. Scary. Every time my mom gave it a go, hers were perfect. Mine not so much. Making crepes is all about technique which of course comes with practice (sort of hard for the perfectionist in me to wrap my hands around – I want to be perfect right away. Damn reality!) I gave up pretty fast.
Since that day I figured I was just not a natural blini maker. And then I decided to conquer my fear and go for it. For the blog! Lucky for you, I think I figured out what went wrong that day. It was the pan. My mom’s super old cast iron skillet didn’t have a smooth enough surface for the batter to slide around effortlessly. She was used to it (she’s been making blini for years, on that same pan!) but unless you are an expert cook or want to have a blini-free life paralyzed by fear of trying to make them again (which I don’t recommend), I say use a good non-stick pan, and then oil it before each blin. It may take a few blini to get the hang of it, but then you’ll be banging them out like a pro. I promise!
(makes ~15 crepes)
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups of milk (or heavy cream for more indulgent blini)
- 1T sugar
- 1/2t salt
- approx. 2 cups of flour
- 2T canola or vegetable oil + more for oiling the pan
1. Whisk eggs, milk, sugar and salt
2. Slowly start stirring in flour. Start with a cup, and stir a little more at a time until you get a runny batter but not as thin as milk – don’t stress about this step, you can always adjust as you go!
3. Stir in oil
5. Let rest for 15 minutes
6. Preheat a 10" non-stick pan over medium heat and rub with oil (I pour some in a little cup and dip a paper towel in, then run it around the pan before making each blin)
7. Use a 1/4 cup or 1/3 cup measurer to scoop the batter into the middle of the pan, then quickly tilt the pan in a circular motion until the batter spreads to cover the pan surface. It should be a very thin layer. Note: The first few blini may be experimental. Try the 1/4 cup and see if the batter covers the pan. Does it easily slide around the pan? If it’s too thick, add some milk/cream to the batter. If it’s too thin, add more flour to the batter. If it flows freely but doesn’t properly cover the pan, use 1/3 cup per blin. I made these twice using a 10" pan, the first time 1/3 cup was perfect, the second time 1/4 cup was enough. Play with heat as well… my stove at home got hot quickly and the blini were burning on medium (3.5/10 heat ended up being perfect). At my parents’ in law house in Maine, the pan wouldn’t get hot enough on medium, but the blini were cooking properly on medium high (on 7/10).
8. Cook for 2-3 minutes on the first side, until small bubbles form on top and the crepe is light golden brown on the bottom. Flip and cook for 30 seconds. Repeat until batter is used (don’t forget to rub the pan with oil each time before you pour the batter!)
As always, enjoy with sweetened condensed milk, sour cream and jam or any toppings, dips, or fillings of your choice.
So glad I conquered that fear! What are you scared of?