Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking for the last read of the season. The author, Anya von Bremzen, had previously penned the James Beard Award winning cookbook, Please to the Table. I got it out from the library after successfully making her recipe for kulebiaka for Thanksgivukkah. Please to the Table is a far-reaching all-region-spanning Russian cookbook full of interesting sounding dishes I have never tasted. This might be a book to own, if the rumors are tree that Georgian cuisine (the country, not the American state) is the next big thing. I love how there are articles of regional focus and suggested menus for things like Butter Day or Russian tea.
I came across what Anya calls "buttermilk fritters," or Oladushki. When I did a little looking online, almost the entire Internet calls these "Ukrainian pancakes." I am calling them Ukrainian too! When she wrote the cookbook, the USSR was still in place, and I'm sure variations of these are throughout the land. These are served more as an afternoon snack than breakfast, with sour cream or jam or honey. These are not quite the same as blini, which tend to have a greater sturdiness or density to help hold up toppings such as caviar. They are also tiny, perfect for snacking!
I have made pancakes from interesting places on this blog. Check out the Finnish pannukakku, Icelandic pönnukökur, Papua New Guinean banana pancakes, the Danish ebleskiver, and what we call the German oven apple pancake.
aka "Buttermilk Fritters" in Please to the Table by Anya von Bremzen
2 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus additional oil for frying*
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1. In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks, buttermilk, and the 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Mix well.
2. Sift the dry ingredients together and gradually add them to the buttermilk mixture, beating until well-blended. Let the batter stand for 1 hour.
3. Just before frying the fritters, beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks and carefully fold them into the batter.
4. Heat a scant tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. For each fritter, drop about 1 1/2 tbsp batter into the skillet. You should be able to fit in 4-5 at a time. Fry on both sides until golden.
* I ended up adding butter to the pan for an improved texture. Just a personal preference.