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Christmas breakfast idea: pancakes with smoked salmon, beetroot and apple relish, crème fraiche and dill

Diana Henry / 24 November 2014

I can’t think of many more luxurious ways to start the day, writes Diana Henry of these festive breakfast blinis with smoked salmon.

Blinis with smoked salmon and crème fraiche and dill
Blinis with smoked salmon and crème fraiche and dill




  • 100g smoked salmon
  • 2 generous tbsp crème fraiche
For the pancakes

  • 75g plain flour
  • 50g buckwheat or wholemeal flour
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • good pinch of salt
  • ¼ tbsp caster sugar
  • 250ml buttermilk
  • 2 medium eggs, 1 of them separated
  • 25g butter, melted and cooled
  • ½ tbsp groundnut oil
for the relish
  • 1 small beetroot beetroot, cooked
  • ½ tart apple
  • juice of ¼ lemon
  • ¼  small red onion, very finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill


You can make the pancake batter in advance, though you do have to hold the egg white back and add it before you start to cook.

Various supermarkets now do packs of cooked beets. But don’t use beets in vinegar – disaster!

Buckwheat flour does give a lovely nutty, earthy taste but don’t buy a bag unless you will have other uses for it. Wholemeal or even all plain flour is fine, just different.

Cut the flesh of both the beetroot and the apple into matchsticks (core the apple half first). Put the apple into lemon juice to stop it discolouring. Mix the rice vinegar and caster sugar together, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside until you are about to serve.

Sift the flours, baking powder and salt into a bowl and mix in the sugar. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, whisking as you do so (a hand held whisk, not an electric one, is all your require). Keep back one of the egg whites.

Beat the egg white (you need an electric mixer to make this easier for you). Add 1 tbsp of the beaten whites to the batter to loosen it, then fold in the rest.

To cook the pancakes heat some of the butter and oil in a frying pan (just use a small amount to start off with – you’ll need to add more as you cook the rest of the pancakes). Use about 4 tbsp of batter per pancakes (they should be about 8 cm across).

Cook as many pancakes as your pan will hold at once (put cooked ones in a low oven to keep warm as they’re ready).

Cook each pancake for 2-3 minutes until little bubbles have appeared on the surface and the pancakes have set underneath and are golden in colour. Using a palette knife, flip each one over and cook for another minute or so on the other side. The pancakes should be golden on both sides.

Put the pancakes on plates, lay the salmon on top, spoon some crème fraiche on each serving (a good dollop) then quickly toss the apple (drain it), beetroot, dill, onions and dressing and top each serving with a good spoonful of this.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.