Buckwheat blinis with smoked salmon, sour cream and caviar

Serves: Makes about 16

Buckwheat blinis with smoked salmon, sour cream and caviar

You would be quite justified in making a batch of these delicious blinis on Shrove Tuesday as they are traditionally served at the start of Lent in parts of eastern Europe . As these are made with yeast you will need to start 3-4 hours in advance. There are lots of blini recipes using baking powder and they are perfectly good but the yeasted blini is truly king, so light and fluffy compared with a blini made with chemical raising agents . They are best served fresh but to reheat them I suggest wrapping the blinis in foil and placing them in a low oven for 5-10 minutes. I have served them here as a savoury course  (either as a canapé or first course) but they are surprisingly good with jam and clotted cream or spread thickly with Nutella.


  • 100g buckwheat flour
  • 75g strong plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) easy bake/fast action dried yeast
  • 150ml milk
  • 75g half fat crème fraiche
  • 50ml whipping cream
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • a knob of unsalted butter for frying
  • To serve Smoked salmon, sour cream or crème fraiche, caviar, and dill
Buckwheat blinis with smoked salmon, sour cream and caviar


  1. Place the buckwheat and strong plain flours in a mixing bowl and add the salt one side and the yeast on the opposite side.
  2. Place the milk, crème fraiche and whipping cream in a saucepan and place over a low heat. Heat through until you can feel a slight change in temperature. If the liquid is too hot it will scramble the egg yolks and also kill the yeast. Take off the heat and whisk in the egg yolks. Pour into the flour and beat the batter until smooth. Cover and leave for 1 hour in a warmish place- an airing cupboard is ideal.
  3. After the hour is up the surface of the batter should be covered in bubbles. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks and fold into the batter. Cover and leave for at least 1 ½ hours (2 hours is ideal). Heat a small knob of butter in a frying pan and ladle in about 2 tablespoons worth of the blini batter. You will probably have room to cook about 3 or 4 at a time. Cook for about 1 minute or until the surface of each blini is on the point of setting. Flip over and cook for a further 30-40 seconds. Lift out onto an ovenproof dish or baking tray and keep warm in a very low oven while you cook the remaining batter.
  4. Serve warm with smoked salmon, sour cream and some caviar (lumpfish roe is fine unless you have won the lottery or happen to be an oligarch).
Buckwheat blinis with smoked salmon, sour cream and caviar