Russian Monday: “Blini” – Vanilla Crepes with Berries
“Maslenitsa” is a Russian carnival week originating from pre-Christian times. It was celebrated around spring solstice and was dedicated to the boy-Sun named Xors becoming a man-Sun named Yarilo. The main dish of the holiday week are pancakes (or “blini” in Russian) in all their varieties. Their round shape symbolizes the Sun.
Later on, after Christianity came to Russia, the holidays fell on the Great Lent, hence the decision was made to move the celebration right before the fasting. During Maslenitsa, older people were using a chance to share their wisdom with the youth by puzzling them with this riddle: “Maslenitsa is forty Grandmothers granddaughter, thirty Brothers sister, three mothers and one father’s daughter.” The answer to this riddle was an explanation of the sacred knowledge of the structure of the universe the elders believed in.
Vanilla Crepes with Berries – “Blini”
Ingredients: (about 14-15 crêpes)
- 4 eggs
- 3 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 10 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp. lemon or orange zest
- butter for frying
- berries for serving
- cottage cheese or source cream for serving
In a blender or in a large bowl using a whisk, combine the eggs, flour, sugar, milk, live oil and blend/mix until smooth. Let the batter rest in a warm place for about half of an hour. When you are ready to cook the crepes, give the batter a stir. Add the vanilla extract and lemon/orange zest. Using a crepe pan over medium heat, melt 1 teaspoon of the butter. Ladle in a little crepe batter and tilt the pan to cover the bottom thinly. Cook the crepe for 1 minute. As soon as little holes appear all over the surface, turn the crepe over and cook the other side for 40 seconds. Transfer to a plate and cook the rest of the batter, stacking the crepes on a plate as they are cooked.
Serve with fresh berries, fruits, raspberry jam and cottage cheese.