This year were celebrating Christmas with my family in Estonia and were (like always) sort of hoping for white Christmas (which didn't realize in the end, but we still had a cozy and fun time).
During this slow holiday time, I was also able to use opportunity to read a book called "Parunid, eestlased ja enamlased" by Carl Mothander (Firstly published in 1943, 2nd print 1997 by Ilmamaa), which I have long waited to do. I was dragged to this book, because it gives a rear opportunity to learn more about the closed Baltic German society (barons, etc.) and changes in Estonia (first independence and soviet invasion, where the independence were lost) during the II WW. But I also hoped that like Mothander's first book, what I read ("Kulinaarsed vestlused"), it will be focusing on food culture and society during this era and I was not disappointed. Also both books were written in memoir non-fiction style, which can offer a quite good insight to the everyday life and be resource for learning more about this close society and era, which was rather turbulent. (Plus, usually when the book covers history and food I am one "happy bunny").
So thats where I found Baron Constantin and his blini recipe. Baron himself was an old Baltic German Baron (surprise :)), who was living in Estonia and was later emigrating to Germany, when the II WW started and Soviets took power. What makes this recipe even more interesting besides it is at least 70 years old, is that this old Baron actually baked these blinis himself, which is quite rare for that time and for his social status. After all he was older gentlemen, who was used of having cooks and servants in his household.
As the recipe was using an old measurement systems, it took some googling and crossing the fingers to bring it back to life, but we have succeeded and these blinis were the first dish we started our 2016.
Baron Constantin Blinis
(Recipe was discovered and adapted from book "Parunid, eestlased ja enamlased" by Carl Mothander and it says it will serve 5- 6 persons, but in my experience you will get out around 75 blinis, which would definitely serve couple of people more. We were party of five and still had a generous amount of leftovers. So be warned :).
Timeline you need to follow: 7 hours before serving start by mixing up the dough:
- 8 dl buckwheat flour
- 6 dl warm milk
- 13 g of dry yeast
(Let it rest and do its magic for approx. 4 to 5 hours in the warm place).
2 hours before planned blini baking start add 4 dl very warm water to the mixture and mix. (Let it rise another hour).
1 hour before baking check that dough have risen and add a 1 tbsp salt and mix it again through. (Let it rest and rise for 3rd time and remember no poking).
And now you are ready to bake some old school nobility blinis. (Though count also that the baking procedure might take an hour as blinis are quite small in size).
Tips and tricks to follow:
- When you bake the blinis, moist them with melted butter so they get crispy from both sides.
- If the dough don't rise troubleshoot it with 4-5 whisked egg whites.
Blinis have a nice little hint of parmesan and they are best when served warm. We served it for New Year (2016), with trout roe (caviar), lumpfish roe, 38% sour cream and red onion. But it might be an idea to shred some parmesan on top and melt it.
What ever way you decide to serve it, I hope you enjoy it!