Blini with Caviar

James Beard

Author and Educator

"The prohibitively high cost and near-extinction of imported caviar should not deter you from serving this festive dish. There are many excellent domestic caviars on the market: roe from American sturgeon, paddlefish, or salmon. (In fact, until the 1880s, the U.S. was the world’s top caviar exporter. Over-fishing ended our dominance of this commodity.) Any of these caviars would make a delicious accompaniment to blini." —James Beard


  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm whole milk (100°F to 115°F approximately)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • 3 egg whites, stiffly beaten
  • Caviar
  • Sour cream or crème fraîche


To make the blini, in a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup of the warm milk. Add the sugar. Then add the remaining 1/2 cup of milk and all the flour. Using a fork or wooden spoon, make a paste of this mixture and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Place in a warm place to rise until it is doubled in bulk, about an hour.

Cream together the butter, egg yolks, and salt. Combine this with the batter when it has risen, and beat thoroughly. Let it rise again for one hour. Finally, fold in the whipped cream and egg whites and let the batter rise again for 15 minutes.

Pour the batter by tablespoonfuls onto a buttered pan or hot griddle to form small pancakes about 3 inches in diameter. Cook until light brown on both sides. Serve the cakes very hot with melted butter, caviar, and sour cream or crème fraîche.


Approximately 30 pancakes