Due to the surge in fancy home baking, it’s still quite hard to find flour, eggs, and yeast, but mixes remain abundant, pancake mix being among them. I—renowned lazy lady—was already a fan of the complete, just-add-water pancake mix, particularly since I discovered I could use it to create not quite authentic, but perfectly serviceable blini.
Depending on where you are, “blini” can refer to large, thin, yeast-leavened pancakes made with wheat or buckwheat flour, but Westerners most commonly think of them as small, savoury (also) yeast-leavened disks that come with caviar. They’re quite fun.
Though one might think that precious ingredients like caviar deserve precious pancakes, I don’t think that’s a must. Perfectly delicious caviar transport disks can be made by thinning out your usual flapjack batter; unless you have a blini connoisseur in your midst, no one will no the difference. (And, if they do know the difference, blame “these desperate times.”)
The amount of extra water you use will depend on your mix, but just add extra quarter-cups until you have a thin batter that stays flat and thin when you pour it in that pan. You may have to test a few out. Eat the rejects. Fry them in whatever oil sounds good to you, or whatever you have around. Butter makes a more mottled blini; a tiny bit of vegetable or other neutral oil in a nonstick pan makes a more uniform blini. Make a whole bunch of them.
Once you have a pile of blini, raid your fridge for fillings. Like the baked potato bar, blini are a good, neutral vehicle for clearing out the fridge, so lay out a whole bunch of stuff. Sour cream, pickles, deviled eggs, cottage cheese, any kind of preserved fish, charcuterie, and jellies and jams are all fine contenders. If this awakens a caviar craving in you, indulge it, and allow yourself a little luxury the next time you brave the grocery store. People are not allowing themselves enough luxury during “these times,” so you’ll most likely find the caviar in stock.