The holiday season is full of canapes, but these particular small bites are a reimagined, vegetarian spin on the classic blini classically dressed with creme fraîche and caviar. In this variation, pomegranate seeds prove to be the perfect replacement for emulating the bursts of flavor associated with caviar, ensuring no taste or texture is lost. You could easily make this recipe vegan by blending the butternut squash with canned chickpeas instead (to make a hummus), so long as you make sure to replace the milk, eggs, and butter in the blinis with plant-based alternatives. However you take your blinis, this recipe is highly-adaptable and packs huge flavor no matter which way you spin it. Happy Holidays!
Makes approximately 18
For the butternut squash topping:
2 oz. goat cheese
½ tsp. salt
For the blinis:
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. melted Local Roots unsalted butter
¾ cup Local Roots milk
1. Top, tail, and then peel and cube butternut squash. Boil or steam until squash is fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well.
2. When squash has cooled, mash or blend into a puree. Stir through goat cheese and ½ tsp. of salt.
3. Fit a piping bag with a star tip. If you don’t have a piping bag or star tip, cut a tiny corner off of a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and use it to pipe. Fill piping/Ziploc bag with the butternut squash mixture (it helps to stand the open bag up in a tall glass, pointed-side down). Set aside.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients of flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. In another bowl, whisk together the melted butter, milk, and egg. Gradually add the dry mixture into the wet mixture one third at a time, stirring after each addition to prevent lumps. Whisk until the batter is lump free.
5. Heat a nonstick pan to medium. Grease with a little pat of butter. Using a tablespoon as your scoop, drop the batter onto the pan in small circles. When the blini begins to show tiny bubbles, flip the blini and cook for one more minute. Continue cooking blinis until the batter is used up.
6. When all of the blinis are ready, pipe a swirl or zig zag of the butternut squash filling onto each blini. Top with a few pomegranate seeds each. Serve!
This recipe was created by Local Roots recipe contributor Irena Huang.
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