Today is the last day of Maslenitsa — an old Slavic festival that precedes the period of Great Lent in the Orthodox Church’s traditions. Also known as Pancake Week, Maslenitsa lasts an entire week and gets its name from ‘maslo’ the Russian word for butter which literally signifies that only dairy products are eaten.
A cheerful and joyous folk festival, Maslenitsa traditionally welcomed a new season and has long been considered an family holiday. Often associated with rebirth, rejuvenations and renewal, the holiday opened the door to Spring after a long and harsh winter.
Baking blinis for Maslenitsa are at the forefront of this holiday. As many of you already know, blinis are authentic thin Russian pancakes or crepes. Blinis symbolize the sun and new hope for a warmer Spring season. They are incredibly delicious, easy to make and can be served with countless fillings and sweet and savory toppings.
Taking the time to bake blinis from scratch is actually quite simple and does not require too much time. All you need is some all purpose flour, eggs, milk or cream, a pinch of sugar and dash of salt and you’re ready to to go. It’s really that easy! That said, technique is important and that comes with practice.
We’ve included an authentic Russian blini recipe for you below. But if you’re short on time, or just want to indulge yourself in a special treat without all the fuss — check out our ready-made blinis here.
And now for the good stuff — toppings! Sweet to savory, blini pairings are literally endless. On the savory side, there are blinis stuffed with meats, chicken, cheese, chopped boiled eggs, mushrooms, and smoked fish. For an ultimate luxury and most obvious blini pairing there is caviar!
Condensed sweet milk, fruit jam, jelly, honey, berry preserves, chocolate and caramel are just a few of the sweet varieties. Then there are the healthier alternatives with blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and any other berries with a bit of sugar and dollop of sour cream.
Baking blinis can be a fun family tradition. Check out our basic blini recipe below and have fun experimenting with the rest.
And on this last day of Maslenitsa, also known as Forgiveness Sunday — don’t forget to make peace with those you may have hurt.
Enjoy and happy eating!