Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Lovely Lunch-Russian Blini with Homemade Lemon Curd

Today's lunch came from a variety of inspiration.  My family used to live in Ukraine and I would take my son on long walks every Saturday morning once the snow had melted and the temperatures had risen (so, starting in about June!).  The end of our walks were always spent at the large park near our apartment, where there is a large playground, multiple kiosks and a Ukrainian restaurant.  Among the kiosks were a few that served traditional Russian blini .  Most weeks, we would stop for a mid-morning snack and each get a blin-mine usually apple filled (sometimes Nutella) and my son's would be plain (a 2 or 3 year old trying to eat a thin pancake with a filling is just a recipe for disaster).

Ukrainian Playground

Since leaving Ukraine, I miss our walks, I miss the park and I miss the blini!  So, yesterday, we had a nice day of sunshine here and went for an early morning walk.  We walked about 5 miles total (well, I did anyway.  Someone else rode in the stroller a good amount of time) and spent a few hours at the local park.  For the first time, I noticed the lack of even a common vending machine.  How boring!  And then I thought about it, I can't recall a park/playground here in the US that has any kind of "food" at the park. It made me sad :(  I sat there thinking how much I missed our Saturday morning ritual.

Fast forward to the evening and I finally had the time to make a recipe I had found online a few weeks ago at the Poor Girl Eats Well blog for homemade lemon curd.  I love her recipes because they are always so creative and ALWAYS inexpensive to prepare.  Not long after I saw the lemon curd recipe, my neighbor brought home a dozen lemons for me from someone at work with a lemon tree.  Jackpot!  Of course, life always interferes and I hadn't found the time yet to try it out.  Her recipe is for Meyer lemon curd, and to be quite honest, I had never even heard of a Meyer lemon.  I have no idea if my lemons are the Meyer variety or not, but I suspect not.  They look pretty much like the lemons I buy at the grocery store.  But they are still lemons, so I decided to try the recipe.

It came out AMAZING.  But what was I going to do with the large jar of lemon curd?  This afternoon I was trying to come up with a creative lunch for me and my son and remembered my blini craving from yesterday.  I thought, "Hey, I can MAKE blini."  I've done it plenty of times.  And so, lunch was born.  I made up a half batch of blini for us, mine filled with the lemon curd and his filled with strawberry jam (he has graduated to being able to eat a filled blin since our days in Ukraine.)  We added a little yogurt and had a lovely lunch!

Homemade Lemon Curd

6 large egg yolks
3/4 c Meyer lemon juice (like I mentioned, pretty sure my lemons are the regular variety)
1 t finely grated Meyer lemon zest
1 c sugar (I used the Splenda sugar blend)
1 stick of butter, cut into small cubes

Combine the egg yolks, juice, zest and sugar in a medium saucepan and whisk together until smooth (this will help avoid chunky bits of cooked egg yolk).  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture coats the back of a spoon (about 8-9 minutes).  Remove from heat and stir in the butter, one cube at a time, making sure that the butter melts completely before adding the next piece. 

Pour the finished lemon curd into clean containers and either continue your usual canning process, or cover with a layer of plastic wrap that's been placed directly on the surface of the curd.

Blini-Russian or Ukrainian Pancakes (this recipe is for a half batch and makes about ten 6-inch blini) This recipe is adapted from one at

  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons white sugar (again, I use Splenda blend)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 cups milk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons butter

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and salt. Mix in the flour, and then stir in the milk. Mix until smooth and well blended. The batter will be very thin.

Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat. Lightly oil the pan or spray with cooking spray. Pour about 2 tablespoons of the batter, or as much as desired, into the pan. Tilt the pan to spread the batter out evenly. When the edges are crisp looking and the center appears dry, slide a spatula carefully under the blin. Flip, and cook for about 1 minute on the other side, or until lightly browned.

Remove blin to a plate. Stack the blini on top of each other. To serve, spread with desired filling, then fold in half, and in half again to form a triangle. 

Blini with homemade lemon curd filling

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