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| Home | About Belarus | Cuisine | Belarusian pancakes

Belarusian pancakes


Pancakes are some of the world’s most popular flour-based dishes. However every national cuisine has its own cooking traditions and secrets. Pancakes (bliny, blintsy, mliny) are cooked all over Belarus, on weekends and on holidays. There is one thing that differs Belarusian pancakes from pancakes cooked in other countries: Belarusians use all kinds of flour in pancake recipes.

Cooking Methods

Belarusian pancakesRye, wheat, barley, buckwheat, oatmeal or peas – all these cereals are used to prepare pancakes, either separately or in combination.

Usually pancakes are made from milk, kefir, or milk whey (sour pancakes). To make the dough puffy, one can use leavening agents (yeast) or raising agents (baking powder). Eggs and sugar are added to make pancakes sweet.

In ancient times pancakes were cooked in the oven on a frying pan greased with pork fat or a piece of lard. Today vegetable oil is commonly used for this purpose.

Accompanying Dishes

Buckwheat pancakes with vereshchakaBelarusian pancakes are usually served with traditional sauces (machanka, vereshchaka), fried bacon and sausages, mushroom stew, sour cream and cottage cheese, liquefied honey, grated berries, ground poppy seeds mixed with sugar.

Crepes (nalistniki) are just as popular as puffy pancakes. The most common fillings include cottage cheese and meat. They are baked in clay pots until they form a brown crust.

Small puffy pancakes (called oladiy) are also popular in Belarus. They are often cooked from a mix of flours.

Associated Traditions

Maslenitsa in BelarusPancakes are not only some of the most loved everyday dishes in Belarus, but also an integral part folk rites and ancient customs.

Special sacral traditions are associated with pancakes in various regions of the country. Pancakes were a mandatory dish during the commemoration of the dead or ancestor worship.

In spring, when cattle were let out to pastures for the first time since winter, villagers used to give a shepherd a pancake for a cow herd to remain plentiful. These pancakes were meant for the spirits of the ancestors as well.

Girls used pancakes to tell their fortune at Yuletide. The girls who met their love would cook pancakes on the second day of the wedding and treat their guests.

On Shchedry Vecher (Generous Eve) on 13 January (the New Year's Eve in accordance with the Julian calendar, the so-called Old New Year) the head of the family, standing on the threshold of the house, would call on the Frost with a pancake in hand. Then a stack of 12 pancakes (by the number of months) was put on a festive table, cut crosswise into four parts, and all members of the family would take a piece. Thus "the year" disappeared from the plate as if in a spiral.

And, of course, pancakes is a must dish for Maslenitsa, the ancient Slavic celebration of bidding farewell to winter and welcoming spring. Round and golden pancakes symbolize the sun and therefore are cooked to please the god of spring, warmth and fertility Yarila.

Today this wonderful tradition lives on. During the Maslenitsa Week pancakes are cooked in every home and are offered at fun street festivals. In 2013 Belarus even set a kind of a pancake record.

Pancake Recipes

The Belarusian national cuisine has many pancake recipes, each of which, despite simple ingredients, has a unique taste. The variety of flours, cooking tricks and of course traditional supplements is the secret of the Belarusian-style pancakes. Just try them!

Morning Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 30g yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • water

Cooking Method

Dissolve yeast in warm water, add flour and three glasses of water, mix it and leave for the night. Boil milk in the morning and pour it immediately into the batter, add eggs, salt, sugar, and butter. Whisk the batter and leave it for about 30 minutes. 

Cook pancakes on a well-heated and oiled pan. Serve pancakes with melted butter, sour cream or curd.

Buckwheat Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ glasses buckwheat flour
  • 1 ½ glasses wheat flour
  • 2 glasses milk
  • 20g yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 eggs
  • salt

Cooking Method

To make a batter, pour warm milk into a mixing bowl, add and dissolve yeast and wheat flour. Whisk the batter until it becomes smooth, cover it with a towel and leave it for 1-1.5 hours.

Add salt, sugar, egg yolks, melted butter, buckwheat flour, and the remaining milk. Mix the batter and leave it for a while.

Meanwhile whisk the egg whites and pour them in a steady stream into the puffed up batter. Cook buckwheat pancakes and serve them with curd, jam or warm honey.

Nalistniki (crepes with fillings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ glasses wheat flour
  • 2 glasses milk or whey
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g quark
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ glass sour cream or cream
  • salt

Cooking Method

Mix flour with half of the milk until you get smooth dough; add salt, the rest of the milk and whipped egg whites. Fry pancakes on both sides on a frying pan.

For the filling, mix quark with a small amount of sour cream and yolk. Put the filling inside and roll the pancakes tightly. Berries can be used instead of quark.

Put the rolled pancakes into a ceramic pot, add some sour cream or cream, and bake them in the oven. The pancakes can be served with sour cream or jam.

Pancakes for Machanka

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 glass flour
  • 1.5 glass milk or water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 20g yeast
  • 2 potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter for the dough
  • salt
  • oil for the frying pan

Cooking Method

Warm up two thirds of the milk, add yeast and half of the flour, mix the substance, cover the bowl with a towel and leave it in a warm place for 1-1.5 hours.

As the batter increases in size, add sugar, salt, an egg, melted butter, the rest of the flour and milk. Mix the batter until it gets soft and keep it in the bowl for a while, then mix it once again and leave it in a warm place.

When the batter is ready, add raw grated potatoes, mix it well and start baking pancakes immediately. They should be served with machanka (pork stew).

Buttermilk Pancakes/ Kefir Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 130g flour
  • 200g buttermilk (kefir)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 0.5 teaspoon baking soda
  • salt to one’s taste
  • vegetable oil

Cooking Method

Add the eggs, sugar, and salt to the buttermilk (kefir). Blend in the flour, beating well until completely smooth. Then stir in the baking soda and start making the pancakes. The dish is served with sour cream or jam.

Oatmeal Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups oats
  • 0.5 cup wheat flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g butter
  • 0.25 cup of small-grained sugar (sugar powder)
  • 0.25 teaspoon baking soda (baking powder)
  • salt
  • vegetable oil to grease the frying pan

Cooking Method

Combine two cups of oats with the wheat flour and small-grained sugar, grind the mixture or blend it with a mixer. Add the eggs, milk, 100g of butter and whip everything up. Pour in the baking soda and the rest of the oats. Stir the batter, cover it with a towel, and let it rest for ten minutes.

Make the pancakes in a pre-heated frying pan. Spread butter on them and pile them one on top of another. The dish is served with honey or jam.

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