Russian Pancakes

Russkie bliny

Remarks: For Russians, pancakes are an essential component of Butter Week [= Carnival]. During this holiday, pancakes are as necessary to the Russians as doughnuts are to the Catholics and German rolls to the Lutherans. Russian pancakes may be varied by using just buckwheat flour, just wheat flour, or equal parts of each. Yeast is the usual leavening, but some pancakes are made with soda instead.

Although garnishings vary, all pancakes are prepared the same: After the last rising, the batter must not be mixed or it will fall. To prepare the skillet for frying the pancakes, strew it with fine salt, then heat the skillet, wipe it with a towel, and grease it with butter using a feather or cotton wool. After the skillet has been prepared and is burning hot, spoon batter over the bottom of the pan. Fry the pancakes on top of the stove or, preferably, bake them on hot coals in a Russian stove. (If baking them in a Russian stove, the fire must be kept constant.) When the pancakes begin to rise and brown, drizzle butter over them. If they are fried on top of the stove, turn them over to finish cooking and stack them up by the side of the stove to keep warm.