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P1030375

It occurred to me recently that blini are the twenty-first-century equivalent of vol-au-vents. I love them anyway. To me they are the perfect party nibble. I like them with taramasalata and caviar, or sour cream with horseradish and smoked salmon.

I would definitely advise you to make these in advance and freeze. They can be a little smokey to cook, and quite time consuming, so you want them done well before guests arrive. They keep very well in the freezer and take just five minutes to heat in the oven.

Before you start, make sure that you are not in a hurry – you will need plenty of time for the batter to rest, and the blini need to be cooked in batches.

Ingredients:

  • 165g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5g easy-blend dried yeast
  • 150ml creme fraiche
  • 175ml milk
  • 2 eggs, separated

Sieve the flour, salt and yeast into a large bowl.

Heat the milk and creme fraiche in a small pan. Do not allow it to get too hot. It needs to be luke-warm/blood temperature – any hotter, you kill the yeast.

Whisk the milk into the dry ingredients. Add the egg yolks and whisk again. Cover with a tea-towel. Put the bowl in a warm place for about an hour.

After an hour, the mixture should have started to bubble up.

Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, and fold into your batter. Cover with a tea towel. Put the bowl in a warm place for about an hour.

Now you are ready to cook the blini. If you have a good thick-bottomed, non-stick frying pan you should need hardly any butter. Indeed, after my first batch I didn’t use any butter at all. Fry up the blini, about a teaspoon at a time. You might need to experiment a little, but I find it helps not to have the hob at it’s highest temperature.

I freeze these on trays overnight, wrapped in cling-film. Then throw them into a ziplock bag.

Hint: To serve, put the blini on a baking tray in the oven at 200C for just five minutes.

Hint: For the sour cream and horseradish topping, I find that 250ml sour cream to 2 tsp horseradish sauce is just about perfect. Don’t forget lots of black pepper.

MAKES ABOUT 80

P1030673

P1030100

One of my favourite things about Christmas is party food. I tend to get stressed about anything that requires too much effort at the last minute, so here are some that can be prepared in advance, and stored in the freezer.

I prefer salty to sweet, and these palmiers just hit the spot. I have three favourite flavours; anchovy, olive, and tomato, but you can choose any filling you like.

You basically need some 375g rolls of ready made puff pastry,  the fillings below, and a sprinkling of finely grated parmesan on each.

For the filling

Anchovy palmiers

Olive palmiers

  • kalamata olive tapanade

Tomato palmiers

  • 10 sun-dried tomatoes from a jar, and a little of the oil
  • some thyme
  • 1 fresh red chilli, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

Whizz the tomatoes, thyme, chilli, garlic, sugar and salt together with a blending wand to create a tomato paste.

For the palmiers

Spread the filling thinly over the pastry. Add a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

Roll the pastry from the outside to the inside, meeting somewhere in the middle.

Slice – about 6mm thick.

You do not need to cook at this stage. Lay the palmiers out on a cling-film covered tray –  keep them separate from each other. Put into the freezer. When fully frozen you can throw them all into a plastic bag until you are ready to cook.

To cook

Pre-heat the oven to 200C.

Lay the palmiers on a baking tray – allow some room to spread.

It takes 25 minutes to cook from raw and frozen.

Here's one I made earlier

Here's one I made earlier

Hi, my name's Helen and I live in London with my husband and two children. When I started piping the potato on my shepherd's pies, my husband suggested that it might be a good idea for me to find an outlet for my creativity, so here we are. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, the extra twist is that I don't eat meat (I do eat fish though) and Jim, who loves meat, is always on a diet. Here are a few recipes that I have enjoyed making for my family.

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