Simple, delicate, and luxurious, buckwheat blinis are the perfect canapé. They can be topped with a variety of foods, ranging from cream cheese and scallions, to horseradish and roast beef, to Nutella and strawberries. However, I would recommend sticking to the classic: crème fraiche, smoked salmon, caviar and chives. The blinis are best served right away, but are still delicious at room temperature. You may consider doubling this recipe for a party, as these delightful bites go quickly.
Thomas Keller’s Buckwheat Blinis
Recipe adapted from the LA times.
1 cup (4 ounces) buckwheat flour
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 egg yolks
1 1/4 teaspoons (1/2 packet) active dry yeast
3 egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 cup clarified butter (or canola oil)
1. Begin making the blinis about 1½ to 2 hours before you want to serve. In a large mixing bowl, combine the buckwheat and all-purpose flours along with the salt. Set aside.
2. In a microwaveable mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk and cream, and heat in the microwave until barely warm (about 100 degrees), 60 seconds or so. Using a whisk, beat in the egg yolks, then sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the liquid. Set aside to give the yeast time to rehydrate for a couple of minutes, then whisk it into the liquid and set aside for 10 more minutes.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the liquid into the well and gently whisk until it just comes together into a thick, cohesive batter, being careful not to overmix. Clean the sides of the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place until the surface of the batter bulges and bubbles begin to form and burst, an hour or so (timing will vary depending on the temperature of the room).
4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they form medium peaks. Gently fold one-third of the egg whites into the batter with a rubber spatula until they are incorporated. Repeat this, folding a third of the egg whites at a time. Once the egg whites are incorporated, set the batter aside to rest for about five minutes before cooking the blinis.
5. Add a generous spoonful of clarified butter or oil to the pan, then ladle small circles (50p sized) of batter into the pan. Cook until the bottom is golden brown and crisp and the top surface is bubbling. Use a palette knife or thin spatula to turn the blinis over. Continue to cook the other side until brown and crisp. Remove the blinis from the pan and repeat the process.
6. Serve straight away or keep warm in the oven. Garnish with a dollop of crème fraiche, salmon, caviar, and chives.