Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blinis Demidoff

This is a recipe that is Russian in origin but that was later refined at the Maison Doree, a restaurant Count Demidoff frequented with the many women to whom he paid court.

1 cups clarified butter (see note below), melted
1 lb malossol (lightly salted) caviar, ideally Beluga
1 cup sour cream
1 cup milk, scalded and then cooled to lukewarm
l/2 cup each buckwheat flour and white flour,
both sifted
2 eggs, separated
l/2 envelope dry yeast (1/2 oz)
1/2 tsp each salt and sugar

  1. In a large warm bowl soak the yeast in 1/8 cup of warm water. After about 10 minutes, add l/2 cup of the milk.
  2. Sift both flours together. Resift the flours and salt and stir 1/2 cup of this mixture into the yeast. Cover and let rise for 1/2 hour. Add the remaining milk and flour. Lightly beat the egg yolks and add these to the mixture. Beat until smooth and then let stand and rise until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour). Add 1-1/2 tbs of the clarified butter. Beat the egg whites until stiff and then fold these into the mixture. Let stand to rise for « hour.
  3. To make the blinis, use a cast-iron or other heavy 5" (8 cm) skillet. To the skillet add 1 tsp of the clarified butter and heat. Pour in 1 tbs of the batter at a time and cook for 1 minute. Over the pancake spoon a bit of butter, turn and cook for « minute longer. Remove the blini and keep warm in a low oven. Continue cooking until all of the blinis are made.
  4. To serve, place the blinis on a preheated serving platter. On one half of each blini place heaping spoonsful of the caviar. Pour over the remaining clarified butter and then, on the second half of the blinis, pile the sour cream.

Note: Such blinis are ideally served with the dryest possible of Champagnes, very well chilled.

To Make Clarified Butter 

To make clarified butter, very slowly melt about 1 1/2 times the required amount of butter in a skillet. Let stand for several minutes and then strain carefully, not letting the residue or water pour back into the butter.

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