Celebrated at the end of the winter, a week before Great Lent, Maslyana (or Maslenitsa) is perhaps the oldest surviving Slavic holiday. According to Alissa Toczek, its main holiday dish, the mlyntsi (a hot, thin pancake) is said to symbolize the sun. “By eating a lot of pancakes, people invite the sun into their lives and welcome spring.”

  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 75 grams (6 tablespoons) sugar
  • 3 cups milk, room temperature
  • 240 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 60 grams (about ¼ cup) sunflower oil

Makes 10–12 blini

  1. Beat eggs with salt and sugar until foamy.
  2. Add 1 cup milk and stir thoroughly.
  3. Add flour and whisk together until smooth with no lumps.
  4. Add the rest of the milk; stir.
  5. Add oil and whisk again. Allow the mixture to rest covered at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes before cooking.
  6. Spray nonstick frying pan with oil and set over medium heat.
  7. Using a ladle, pour the batter (about ¼ to ½ cup, depending on pan size) onto the frying pan and swirl it around in a circle to cover the bottom. (If the batter is too thick and hard to cover the pan, add more milk to the batter. If it is too thin and falls apart when flipping, slowly add more flour.)
  8. Watch the temperature and adjust heat between medium and low, as needed. Cook for about 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until the blini is mostly set and the bottom is golden brown. Flip and cook another 20 to 30 seconds or until browned.
  9. Before each new pancake, stir the batter with a ladle so the flour does not settle at the bottom of the bowl.
  10. Serve with sweet or savory accompaniments such as jam, honey, sour cream, gravlax, or caviar.

This recipe originally appeared in From Borscht to Brötchen by Candolin Cook.