Top with sour cream and caviar; smoked salmon, red onion, sour cream, lemon zest, and black pepper; or watercress, sliced apple, smoked trout, sour cream mixed with horseradish, and fleur de sel.
½ cup whole wheat flour
3/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sour cream
¾ cup whole milk
2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more if needed
With a rack in the center position, preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Have ready a baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, and egg until just blended. Gradually pour the sour cream mixture into the dry ingredients, whisking until the batter is thick and smooth.
Place a large, heavy frying pan or griddle over medium-low heat and add enough butter to coat the bottom of the pan. When the butter is hot but not smoking, add the batter in level tablespoonfuls. Add just enough to fit comfortably in the pan, and cook until the blini are golden brown on the bottom, 1½ to 2 minutes. Turn and cook until golden brown on the other side, 1½ to 2 minutes more. Remove to the baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm. Repeat, adding more butter to the pan as needed, until all the batter has been used.
Arrange the blini on a serving plate, garnish, and serve.
EGGS BAKED WITH CREME FRAICHE, CRAB, AND TARRAGON
The success of this dish depends on using fresh crab meat. Canned pasteurized crab will not produce the same bright flavor.
½ cup creme fraiche
½ tablespoon unsalted butter
4 eggs, preferably large or extra large
Salt and pepper
4 ounces cooked fresh crab meat, picked over and brought to room temperature for 30 minutes
4 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
With the rack in the center position, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the creme fraiche in a small saucepan and set over low heat just to liquefy, 1 minute or less. Set aside.
Generously butter 4 creme brulee dishes. Break an egg into each dish, and then place the dishes on the center rack and bake until the white of each egg is firm and the yolk is thickened (but still runny), 8 to 12 minutes. Start checking the eggs at 8 minutes. Watch carefully and, when done, remove from the oven. (Note: Although the eggs are cooked in this recipe, the yolks are still soft.)
Season each egg with salt and pepper. Sprinkle some fresh crab in a ring around each yolk, and then spoon 2 tablespoons creme fraiche over the crab. Garnish each serving with a sprinkle of tarragon and serve.
POACHED APRICOTS AND GREEK YOGURT WITH PISTACHIOS
The fruit can be poached a day ahead; at serving time, simply spoon honey-sweetened yogurt into bowls and top it with apricots and chopped pistachios.
1 pound ripe apricots, rinsed and dried, but unpeeled
2 cups water
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
½teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons honey
3 cups plain Greek-style yogurt
4 tablespoons roasted, unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
Halve the apricots lengthwise, but do not peel them. Remove pits and, if large, cut each half into 3 wedges. Set aside. Combine the water, sugar, lemon zest, and ginger in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved, and then bring the mixture to a gentle simmer.
Add the apricots and cook until just tender when pierced with a knife, 3 to 4 minutes. Do not overcook or the apricots will become mushy. Remove the pan from the heat and let sit for 2 minutes. Remove the apricots to a bowl using a slotted spoon.
Return the poaching liquid to the burner over high heat and cook until somewhat syrupy and reduced to about ½ cup, 5 to 7 minutes. Cool to room temperature and then pour over the apricots. (The compote can be prepared 1 day ahead; cool, cover, and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.)
Whisk the honey into the yogurt, and divide it among 4 medium bowls. Top each serving with some apricots and syrup, sprinkle with pistachios, and serve.Adapted from Betty Rosbottom, Sunday Brunch: Simple, Delicious Recipes for Leisurely Mornings, coming June 6 (Chronicle Books, 2012). Send comments to email@example.com. Buy the book.