Tag Archives: pancakes

Maslenitsa (Butter Week). Blini recipe.

 Maslenitsa (Butter Week) is a Christian holiday, one of the brightest and widely-celebrated holiday in Russia, a week before Great Lent. The name Maslenitsa came from Russian word ‘maslo’ which means butter. In the beginning of 16th century, when Church initiated the holiday, it was restricted to eat meat, however fish was allowed, as well as dairy products and butter. Most of the peasants could afford to eat only butter, thus the week began to call Butter Week or Maslenitsa.
 During Druids’ times- before 16th century in Rus’ (old Russia’s name) was celebrated a pagan holiday – The Day of spring equinox, which was called Komoedica. It was one of the ancient pagan holidays, celebration of greeting spring, and moreover, worship of the Slavic Bear God: early in the morning people got together, song the songs and went into the forest to praise the Bear God, so they left first and freshly-cooked blini on tree stumps to treat him. After that the Butter Week revelry had been started.Russian stuffed blini (crepes)
 That time Spring was considered as a beginning of new life, people revered to the Sun and made round flat-bread as its symbol. But  in 9th century peasants began to make round-shaped blini. Hot and yellowish, blini became new symbol of the Sun; people also believed that with eating blini they had a piece of warmth and power of the Sun.
 In ancient times the Komoeditsa holiday was celebrated during two weeks and played an important role for peasants. After a long, cold and often starving winter people had to eat plenty of food (usually it was winter stock remains), cheered up and got stronger for future spring works. Butter week celebrations denoted that winter has passed, and it’s time for a warm season to come. After this holiday peasants began to work from sunrise until sunset during all warm months – spring, summer and autumn. Up to next snow season, they forced to work almost non-stop, without any weekends to get food for their families, fodder for cattle; they repair houses, and cut woods to keep homes warm during the long Russian winter.Russian Blini
 When Christianity was established as a state religion, all pagan celebrations and traditions were prohibited; Christian churchmen battle in a vain attempt to stop all holiday habits. After several centuries of unsuccessful fights, in 16th century the Church created new holiday – ‘meatless week’, the week before the Great Lent. People got used to the new holiday, started celebrate it widely and created other name – Maslenitsa.
 Finally traditional Maslenitsa celebrations were set in 18th century by Russian Emperor Petr I, who was a famous reveller and  party lover. Of course, the main treat was blini, which were baked and eaten in enormous amounts!
 One of my fav sweet fillings for blini is a mixture of tvorog (cottage cheese), sour cream, raisins and sugar. For me, it’s a pure indulgence to tuck the delicious filling into piping hot blini! You can also fold blini into half then half again to form wedge, then take the wedge and deep it onto sweet condensed milk.. Incredibly satisfying breakfast or lunch, or even dinner! 😀
 This blini recipe suits for any savory filling as well.

Russian blini. Sweet cottage cheese filling.

Ingredients 
2 eggs, medium size
a good pinch of salt
1-2 tbsp white sugar, optional
200ml hot water
1/2 tsp soda
200-230ml kefir (or sour milk/laban/buttermilk), 2-3% fat
150-170g plain flour
3-4 tbsp sunflower oil
some oil for frying, if needed
Filling
300-400g soft cottage cheese
2-3 tbsp sour cream, or more if needed
2-3 tbsp sugar or sweet condensed milk
50-60g sultana/raisins
Garnish
sour cream/sweet condensed milk/icing sugar
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with salt and sugar.
  • In a glass or cup mix water with soda, stir and add to the eggs, stirring constantly.
  • Add kefir and mix well.
  • Sift flour and add it to the batter. Stir to combine.
  • Add oil and stir.
  • Let the batter rest for 20-30 minutes, if you have time.
  • Heat the frying pan and fry thin pancakes as usual. You can make any diameter you like.
  • For the filling, soak sultanas in hot water for 5-10 minutes, then drain. Mix all ingredients until well combined.
  • To assemble, spoon some filling in center of each pancake. Fold bottom edge of pancake over fililng, fold in both sides and roll up. Sprinkle with icing sugar and/or drizzle some sweet condensed milk, if desired. Or serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Enjoy!

Russian red blini (pancakes)

  For many people St.Valentine Day is red roses, dinner in a restaurant, chocolate desserts and other heart-shape stuff. Does it seems boring only for me? I think, the best way to diversify this ‘red’ day is by trying something new, like eat non-chocolate dessert, or if you always go out this day stay in to cook a decadent dinner for two. Unleash your creativity! It can be flavorsome salmon steaks or roast quails, you can experiment with sauces.. A small change can have a huge effect! 😉Red blini (with heart)

 A perfect St.Valentine Day can be started by serving a late breakfast that will get both of you in the loving mood. Ready to leave an impression? Prepare these amazing Russian red blini (pancakes)!  Beets give pancakes stunning color and delicate sweetness. They are the perfect way to treat those you love! Russian blini

 Next week, starts from Monday, will be one of the brightest and entertaining of Russian holidays – Maslenitsa, or also knows as Butterweek or Pancake Week. It’s celebrated during the last week before Great Lent. It’s the festival with lots of fun, dance, songs and of course huge amount of blini, which is constantly cooked throughout the week. I’ll be posting more about Maslenitsa next week.

Russian red blini

IngredientsRussian blini
130-150g beet, cooked
200-230ml milk, full fat
200ml sparkling mineral water
2 eggs, medium size
a good pinch of salt
2 tsp white sugar, optional
2 tbsp sunflower oil
150-170g plain flour
some oil for frying, if needed
sour cream for garnish, if desired
  • Puree cooked beet with hand blender or in a food processor until smooth. Add milk, water and stir.
  • In a medium bowl, beat eggs with salt and sugar. Add it to the batter along with oil; stir.
  • Sift flour and add it to the batter. Stir to combine.
  • Let the batter rest for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the frying pan and fry thin pancakes as usual. You can make any diameter you like.
  • Serve warm with sour cream or other garnish.
Sweet garnish: sour cream with honey and chopped pear; sweet cottage cheese; mix berries with sweeten condensed milk.
Savory garnish: cured salmon slices; cheese with herbs; ham.
Enjoy!
I’m bringing these lovely and tasty Russian blini to the Angie‘s Fiesta Friday party, co-hosts Suzanne and Sue and to all beautiful ladies! Hope you all have a wonderful St.Valentine day!

Draniki

 Draniki – thin and round potato pancakes, are often pan-fried and served with sour cream. The word ‘draniki’ originates from the verb ‘drat’ (soft t), which means grate, rub. It was originally a common breakfast, and today we stick with this tradition, but in some restaurants it’s served all day long. Draniki are so beloved and popular in our country, that not even every Russian knows, that it is Belarus dish.
 Potato was brought to Russia in the end of 17th century, when it was served as an exotic dish only at royal banquets, and potatoes were sprinkle with sugar, not salt and pepper as nowadays. At that time in Belarus, potato had been known for 80 years. Today potato became the main vegetable in Belarus, and now over 200 potato dishes are known.
  Similar potato pancakes can be found in many countries, like hash browns in the USA, kartoffelpuffer in Germany, Swiss rösti, or Jewish latkes, and etc.
Draniki
 This is a simple recipe that is easy to prepare and produces great results! 🙂 Enjoy!

Draniki - Russian potato pancakes

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Ingredients
4 large potatoes
1 egg
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2-3 Tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped (or 1 1/2 tsp dried)
a good pinch of salt
a good pinch of pepper
2-3 Tbsp sunflower oil, for frying
sour cream, for serving
Preparation
  • Peel potatoes and grate (using medium or large holes of a box grater), transferring to a bowl of water. Soak potatoes for 10-15 minutes, then drain well in a colander, and squeeze grated potatoes with hand, extracting as much liquid as possible.
  • Transfer potatoes back to a bowl and stir in egg, salt, pepper and dill. Add flour and mix until well-coated. The mixture should be wet and thick (not soupy!).
  • In a heavy-based or iron skillet heat the oil until hot, but not smoking.  Place the large spoonfuls of the mixture into pan, pressing down and spreading into cm/inch rounds with a fork or spoon. Reduce heat to moderate. Brown draniki on one side about 5 minutes, turn over and brown on the other. Let drain on a paper towels.
  • Serve warm with sour cream or raw.
  • Draniki are also good with creme fraiche, herb cream cheese and ricotta.
The remaining draniki can be kept in a refrigerator up to one day. Reheat in a 160C/320F oven, about 10 minutes.
Russian Draniki

Pancake Pie

 Today is ‘Forgiveness Sunday’, the last day of the ‘pancake festival’ (Butterweek) in Russia.
According to one old tradition, the more pancakes have been eaten during the Butterweek, the more successful will be the year.
As per another custom, a girl at the twilight, should took a pancake, went out and asked the first stranger his name. It was believed, that man’s name and look is similar to the future husband’s appearance. In case if the girl didn’t like the name ‘n’ look, she had to give a pancake to the guy. If she liked it, she had to eat a pancake herself. 🙂
 There are lots of pancakes varieties, with savoury or fruit fillings. Mine 3 favourites: with cottage cheese, sweet condensed milk and salmon 🙂
 Making pancakes could be really exciting and interesting, you can involve the whole family, invite friends and enjoy the holiday.
 You can surprise your family by preparing this delicious pancake pie!
Pancake_pie_caviar-3
What’s more, I decided to participate in Fiesta Friday, organized by Angie from TheNoviceGardener. I’m happy to be involved in such virtual parties and get new friends. 🙂

The basic Russian pancakes recipe
Serves 4-6
Ingredients:
650ml full fat milk
50ml warm water
250g all-purpose flour
2 eggs
a good pinch of salt
2 tbsp of sugar
2 tbsp of sunflower oil
1/3 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp of lemon juice or vinegar
Preparation:
  • Break the eggs into large bowl, add salt and sugar, whisk.
  • Add the oil and milk, whisk again.
  • Sift the flour into the bowl, whisk thoroughly.
  • Add warm water and whisk to incorporate any lumps.
  • Pour lemon juice or vinegar into a spoon with baking soda on it (to dissolve the soda), quickly add it into the batter and whisk a couple of times.
  • While the mixture is resting (it allows the ingredients to blend together better), heat the pan; grease the pan with some oil, if needed.
  • Evenly coat the pan with the batter. Cook about a minute, then flip the pancake and cook for 15-30 seconds more.
  • Keep prepared pancakes in warm place.
 You can already enjoy the tastiest pancakes, dipping them into a raspberry preserve or hazelnut sauce, or prepare the pancake pie with salmon. It could be wonderful lunch or dinner for the weekend. Pancake_pie_caviar-2
Pancake pie with salmon and cream cheese
Serves 4-5
Ingredients:
8 pancakes
200g salted or smoked salmon, always better homemade (find the recipe here)
120-150g cream cheese
2tbsp sour cream (substitute with crème fraîche, or single/double cream)
4-5 tbsp finely chopped dill
I used red caviare for the decoration, you can do it with salmon or just keep the top as is.
Assembling:
  • Blend the cream cheese with sour cream until smooth.
  • Cut the salmon into small cubes.
  • Arrange the first pancake on a plate, spread the cheese mixture and sprinkle with dill.
  • Cover with the second one. Spread some salmon on the pancake.
  • Cover with the third pancake.
  • Repeat all steps.
 Have a lovely pancake time!  🙂
  Pancake_pie_caviar-1

Butterweek and Russian Pancakes!

    What can be special in pancakes, you think? In this case, you have never tried real Russian pancakes with their special aroma and taste! 🙂

     Russian author Alexander Kuprin gave good characterization to pancakes:

“A pancake is round-shaped as the generous sun. A pancake is red and warm as the hot sun. A pancake greased with butter is a recollection of sacrifices, which were made for a mighty stone idols. A pancake is a symbol of the sun, nice days, good harvests, happy marriages and healthy children.”

Some ages ago, a man was accompanied by a pancake all their life. From birth, when pregnant woman was eaten pancakes, and until death, when pancakes were served during funeral repast (we still follow this tradition).

Nowadays, pancakes are essential treats for Butterweek (Rus.-Maslenica). It’s the spring festival, the week before Lent (The Great Fast) for Christians in Russia. During this week women bake pancakes every day(!), invite relatives and friends, and celebrate the spring.

Crepes-2

Lots of Russian authors mentioned pancakes in their work. A good example, “Eugene Onegin” by Alexander Pushkin:

  “Throughout their life, so calm, so peaceful,

  Sweet old tradition was preserved:

  For them, in Butterweek the greaseful,

  Russian pancakes were always served..”

Every day of Butterweek has a name and meaning.

Monday is “meeting”. The daughter-in-law visited her parents, then father and mother-in-law visited their house and their decided together how to celebrate. First-cooked pancakes were given to poor people in commemoration of deceased. In the evening, children went to slide from snow hills.

Today is “flirting”  🙂 Usually it was day for weddings. Just married couples and their guests went to slide from snow hills. In every house baked “hills” of pancakes. 🙂

Crepes-1

  Have a nice week! 😀