Braised Duck and Fennel Crêpes

by Jenn on March 7, 2012

in GF Ratio Rally,Gluten Free,Meats

Gluten Free Crêpes

Yes it’s time for another gluten free ratio rally event! T.R. of No One Likes Crumbley Cookies is hosting this month, and this time we go back to an old French standard, the crêpe.  Crêpes are essentially a large thin flat pancake, and thus can be filled, folded, stuffed, or topped with a variety of ingredients.

The beauty of crêpes is that the traditional buckwheat galettes from Brittany, France were naturally gluten free, made from just buckwheat flour, water, and salt (2 cups flour, 3 cups water).  Likewise, in India, the dosa which is actually rather similar to a French crêpe is traditionally also gluten free, based on rice and lentils. So there are plenty of completely naturally gluten free versions around which to base a GF crêpe recipe.  Also, because crêpes never needed any gluten to begin with, they open themselves up to a wide range of versatility and flexibility – one can substitute in whatever flavors one wants via the flours one chooses to use, though I tend to stick with a predominantly buckwheat recipe, just because I love the hearty taste of buckwheat so much.  Today crêpes often include egg and use milk instead of water, which just gives them a little richer flavor and lighter texture.

In this case the crêpe does not pose so much of a recipe challenge as they do a technique one – but a little practice goes a long way, and once you get the hang of it, you can spin out crêpes in no time, making them a great easy weekend breakfast treat – or lunch, or dinner….


Ruhlman states the proper ratio for crêpes is 1 : 2 : 2 flour : liquid : egg.  My ratio was a bit different, as I based my recipe off of My French House’s buckwheat crêpes – their recipe has worked well for me in the past, and all I needed to do was convert the volume measurements to weight – I did 250 g flour (150 g buckwheat, 100g rice) with 150 g eggs, and 250+175 g milk and 20 g melted butter. The milk I added in 2 separate parts – the first bit when I initially made the batter, and then added in the rest after the batter had set for about 2 hrs – becuase the flour takes time to absorb the liquid, it gets thicker as it sits, so adding in more milk later let the batter become a better consistency for cooking.  Thus my ratio worked out a bit differently, but still came out great.

The crêpes I made above for this month’s ratio rally event were filled with braised duck, fennel and chestnuts, thanks to a few minor adaptions from this recipe on Food and Wine, Duck Two Ways: with crêpes and fennel compote.  I filled the crêpes, and then to show them off a bit I added the seared/roasted duck on top along with some garnishes of the fennel and chestnuts.  Cognac soaked chestnuts were a great addition to this recipe. :)

Actually, I have gotten wonderful crêpes every time I have made this recipe, using various fillings and flavors:

Peach Filled Buckwheat Crêpes:

PAG_1011crepes

Crêpes with Rabbit Ragu:

My first crêpes!

Beautifully thin, light, delectable and completely customizable.  Once you get the technique down, I’m sure you will find yourself preparing gluten free crêpes yourself for several of your future meals!

Tips for successful crêpes:

  • Don’t worry so much about the milk measurement – if you end up using other GF flours, they will absorb liquid either more or less, and so the amount of liquid needed will change.  The key is you want a runny batter – think much runnier than traditional American style pancakes.
  • Let the batter set for some time – some gluten free flours, particularly if you are using chestnut, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, etc., have a lower starch content than all purpose mixes and so may not absorb water in the same way.   It helps to give your batter time – this will result in a smoother consistency in the end.
  • Use a large pan for crêpes.  The idea is to get the batter as thin as possible so that you have nice delicate crêpes.  I use my largest skillet, a 12″ stainless skillet.  1/4 cup of batter poured into my skillet ends up covering the majority of the pan, with a little room left to get my spatula under when it comes time to flip.
  • Keep the cooking fat to a moderate amount.  My favorite American pancakes are pretty much fried in a beautiful layer of melted butter, but that is not necessary for crêpes.  If you use a non-stick pan such as a cast-iron, then even less is needed (though I find that a non-stick is not necessary).  The point is not to fry the crêpes, but to simply cook them until the batter has set.
  • Pour the batter in a spiral motion from the center of the pan – I learned this trick back when the Daring Cooks made dosas – it just helps keep the batter thin and lets you spread the batter out easily to fill in the gaps.  To do that part I just use the back of a spoon.
  • Use a moderate cooking temperature.  Cooking them on too high of a heat will cause the batter to cook too much before you have a chance to spread out the batter, and you’ll end up with thicker more uneven crêpes.

That’s pretty much it! They are fast because you don’t need much batter for each crêpe, one batch makes several.  Enjoy!

Be sure to check out everyone else’s crêpes for the Gluten Free Ratio Rally event! Links will go live as people’s posts go up today!

Adina ~ Gluten Free Travelette ~ Breakfast Crepes Three Ways
Angela ~ Angela’s Kitchen ~ Savory Buckwheat Crepes with Sweet Potato, Mushroom and Kale Filling
Caitlin ~ {Gluten-Free} Nom Nom Nom ~ Buckwheat Crepes
Caleigh ~ Gluten Free[k] ~ Banana Cinnamon Crepes
Caneel ~ Mama Me Gluten Free ~ Slightly Sweet Crepes with Caramelized Bananas and Nutella Sauce
Charissa ~ Zest Bakery ~ Black Pepper Crepes with Chicken Tikka Masala
Claire ~ My Gluten Free Home ~ Victory Crepe Cake
Erin ~ The Sensitive Epicure ~ Socca with Za’atar & Sumac (Garbanzo Flour Crepes)
Ginger  ~ Fresh Ginger ~ Sweet ‘n Savory
gretchen ~ kumquat ~ nutella crepe cake
Heather ~ Discovering the Extraordinary ~ “Southwestern” Crepes
Jenn ~ Jenn Cuisine ~ Braised Duck, Fennel and Chestnut Crêpes
Karen ~ Cooking Gluten-Free! ~ Gluten Free Crepes Savory or Sweet
Mary Fran ~ FrannyCakes ~ Gluten-free Peanut Butter Crepe Cake
Mary Fran ~ FrannyCakes ~ Gluten-Free Vanilla Bean Crêpes Sucrées
Monika ~ Chew on This! ~ Dessert crepes with caramelized plantains, toasted coconut and chocolate sauce
Morri  ~  Meals with Morri ~ Russian Blini for Two
Pete and Kelli ~ No Gluten, No Problem ~ Key Lime Crepes
Shauna ~ gluten-free girl ~ Gluten Free Buckwheat Crepes
T.R. ~ No One Likes Crumbley Cookies ~ Brownie Crepes with Strawberry Wine sauce
T.R. ~ No One Likes Crumbley Cookies ~ Basil Tomato and Feta Crepes
T.R. ~ No One Likes Crumbley Cookies ~ Fresh Fruit Crepe
Tara ~ A Baking Life ~ Breakfast Crepes with Eggs and Kale
Jonathan ~ The Canary Files ~ Vegan Crepes for Filipino Spring Rolls
Rachel ~ The Crispy Cook ~ Raspberries and Cream Crepes
Mrs. R ~ Honey From Flinty Rocks ~ Crepes – Spinach & Dessert

For further information on the Gluten Free Ratio Rally, joining, or past challenges, check out my Gluten Free Ratio Rally archives

This post was also submitted to Gluten Free Wednesdays

{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

Kankana March 7, 2012 at 2:20 am

I love eating crepes .. savory or sweet doesn’t matter! Never made with buckwheat flour .. always used AP flour. Would love to try this out. Great tips too out there.

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Jenn March 7, 2012 at 6:49 am

Thanks Kankana!

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Barbara | Creative Culinary March 7, 2012 at 3:04 am

I would like those duck crepes stat. I never ever make duck yet I love it. I actually LOVE duck confit and I could see using it with crepes too. I’ve never used buckwheat flour but can see how it would stand up better to the duck than AP. Nice job!

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Jenn March 7, 2012 at 6:57 am

Thanks Barbara!

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Meeta March 7, 2012 at 8:20 am

OOh Jenn! This looks absolutely divine – Duck and crepes two of my favorite things in one dish! Looks stunning!

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Jenn March 7, 2012 at 9:07 am

Thanks Meeta!

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Zoe March 7, 2012 at 8:55 am

Good point about setting the crepes versus frying, Jenn! It’s a nuance that isn’t always observed or noticed, I think: it’s just so. You couldn’t have said it better. I’ve made crepes before, with almond flour, and I can post the link if you or other commenters might be interested. They’re wonderful – thin and not at all heavy like some things made with almond flour can be. They don’t even taste overly nutty. I’ve used them for sandwich wraps and to make crepe cakes as well.

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Jenn March 7, 2012 at 9:08 am

Thanks Zoe! and sure I’d love to see your version!

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Zoe March 8, 2012 at 12:50 am

Here are the almond flour crepes, I made them from Everyday Grain-Free Gourmet: http://zscupoftea.com/index/2009/12/09/its-a-wrap-rethinking-crepes-scd-gfcf/

I remembered, too, I also made chocolate quinoa crepes with quinoa flour (from Quinoa 365):
http://zscupoftea.com/2011/12/13/chocolate-quinoa-crepes/

Everyday Grain-Free Gourmet: http://amzn.com/1552859185
Quinoa 365: http://amzn.com/1552859940

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Jenn March 8, 2012 at 8:38 am

awesome, thanks!

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Rosa March 7, 2012 at 10:08 am

Fabulous crêpes! I am a big fan of buckwheat flour.

Cheers,

Rosa

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Jenn March 7, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Thanks Rosa!

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Flo Makanai March 7, 2012 at 10:46 am

Your pictures and descriptions make me hungry!

We all love crêpes in my family (no surprise, we’re French :) ). I usually don’t follow much of a ratio : I pour flour(s) in a big bowl, add whatever liquid I have around (non dairy milk, water, cold broth, maybe a little bit apple cider, or some beer too, which gives lightness to the crêpes), some flax gel (1 Tbsp ground flax seeds + 3 TBSP warm water), some salt or maybe a little sugar, sometimes spices like curcuma and black pepper, or tandoori spice powder etc, stir until the consistency pleases me, adding more liquid if necessary, let it sit for a few hours on my counter, and voilà. I just have to cook the crêpes when I have time or we’re hungry.

I’m fond of preparing lasagna with the crêpes too, substituting leftover cold crêpes to pasta sheets. Yummy, kids love it, and it’s so easy to prepare.

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Jenn March 7, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Thanks Flo! Oooh I really like your crêpe lasagna idea… that’s awesome! Especially since GF lasagna noodles are so hard to find!

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Jeanne @ CookSister! March 7, 2012 at 2:29 pm

OK, now I am completely obsessed with those peach-filled crepes…. One of the nicest things I have ever eaten in France is a cheese-filled buckwheat galette – who needs gluten?! ;)

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Jenn March 7, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Mmm I have not made galettes au fromage yet… but I should! Loved eating them in Paris!

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Caleigh March 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Thank you for those very helpful tips, I particularly like the one about pouring the batter in a spiral, that’s genius! You have made beautiful crepes, I shall definitely try this recipe myself.

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Jenn March 7, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Thanks so much Caleigh!

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Kiri W. March 7, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Oh wow – that looks utterly amazing! Braised duck sounds like such a fantastic, decadent filling :)

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Jenn March 7, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Thanks so much!

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Peter Bronski March 7, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Hi Jenn… Great tips at the end of your post about making successful crepes!

Cheers, Pete

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Jenn March 7, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Thanks Pete!

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Rachel @ The Crispy Cook March 7, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Your recipes and photography are always so exquisite. Great job (as usual) for the Ratio Rally this month!

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Jenn March 7, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Aww thanks Rachel!

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Lisa @ GF Canteen March 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Jenn – I love that in France they are GF naturally. Here, a buckwheat crepe made in most places will have a little wheat flour in it. Sad! We both love duck and that first photo is making me drool. I might have to get cooking! Beautiful photos and some great crepe making tips! I’m bookmarking.

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Jenn March 7, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Thanks Lisa! Though I would caution anyone traveling in France not to assume all crêpes or galettes are GF. Buckwheat ones are often mixed with a little AP flour, so it’s always very critical to ask. I have yet to find a crêperie with GF galettes during my travels in France, though luckily there is a place near where we live that does make gluten free 100% buckwheat galettes on the weekends (if you get there early enough before they run out!).

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Karen Robertson March 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Jenn–I love buckwheat flour too and you have some show stoppers here today. My husband brings home the ducks and I always look for ways to prepare….

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Jenn March 7, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Thanks Karen!

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Angela March 7, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Oh, my goodness… Those crepes and fillings are beautiful! I can’t wait to make the peach ones when peach season arrives- YUM! Thanks so much for sharing. The tips at the end of your post are really helpful.

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Jenn March 7, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Thanks Angela!

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Caneel March 7, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Mouth. Watering. Yum!!! I was already looking forward to the duck (and FENNEL!) crepes you had mentioned earlier but you really made some beautiful and delicious different ones! Peach!! Great job – and thank you for the history lesson on the buckwheat and crepes!

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Jenn March 7, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Thanks Caneel! Yeah I made the peach ones last summer, I can’t wait til they come back in season!

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France @ Beyond The Peel March 7, 2012 at 6:57 pm

I’m a Frenchy and grew up with crepes, yet as an adult I rarely make them. Thanks for the ratios, it will allow me to play with the ingredients a bit depending on what I have. You got me here on duck (love duck) but had me staying on crepes. Gorgeous.

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Jenn March 7, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Thanks so much! Hope you enjoy making crêpes!

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Morri March 7, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Oh Jenn… I stand by what I said earlier in February. I’d fly over to eat these crepes.

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Jenn March 7, 2012 at 7:31 pm

ha – come on over!

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Erin Swing March 7, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Wowee! So gourmet! I love it. Can I have some, please? Great tips. I had the most difficulty in cooking and flipping the crepes.

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Jenn March 7, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Thanks Erin!

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EA-The Spicy RD March 8, 2012 at 1:09 am

Your crepes look amazing! There is a restaurant here in San Diego where they make {gluten-free} buckwheat crepes…I’m starting to crave one right now! Wish I could have joined in this month, but I couldn’t get my crepe act together in time. Hopefully next month though :-)

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Jenn March 8, 2012 at 8:38 am

Thanks!! Hope you are able to join next month!

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InTolerantChef March 8, 2012 at 4:29 am

Delicious indeed! Loving the duck :)

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Jenn March 8, 2012 at 8:38 am

Thank you!

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Jonathan March 8, 2012 at 10:13 am

Beautiful, as always, Jenn. Loved your background on the varied crepe traditions from all over the world and the relative lack of gluten in those recipes. And your tips are top-notch and will be sure to be helpful to crepe-newbies and crepe-aficionados alike. Thanks for sharing!

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Jenn March 20, 2012 at 7:45 am

Thanks Jonathan!

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Ken⏐hungry rabbit March 8, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Great tutorial and background on crepe. As always, your photos captured the food in the most seductive way.

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Jenn March 20, 2012 at 7:45 am

Thanks Ken!

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kita March 20, 2012 at 2:43 am

I had just read recently about traditional crepes being gluten free and was amazed. These braised duck crepes have me salivating – and I just ate supper. Everything about a savory crepe brings me to my happy place. I have never tried making my own crepes, so I really appreciate all of your helpful notes in this post as I want to try them soon!

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Jenn March 20, 2012 at 7:45 am

Thanks – good luck making them!!

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Jen Laceda @ Tartine and Apron Strings March 21, 2012 at 6:53 pm

I just bought some buckwheat flour and I will try this recipe. The last buckwheat crepe I made was way too thick, so I’ll try your recipe :)

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Jenn March 21, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Thanks, hope you enjoy it! The measurements aren’t necessarily so important – if the batter looks too thick to you, just stir in a bit more milk to thin it out – it’s a bit of a “go by how it looks” and you should be fine :)

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jen @ tartine and apron strings March 31, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Awesome recipe! I’ve bookmarked this :) love the fact that it is made with buckwheat! Even though I have no allergies, I try to eat gluten free as much as possible.

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jennifer August 6, 2012 at 5:49 am

Hi… so maybe I’m missing something but I can’t find the “duck and fennel” part of the recipe? Looks great and would love to make it but I am not confident enough to just make that part up :-)

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Jenn August 7, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Hi Jennifer –

I didn’t republish the duck and fennel recipe as I did not change it, but you can find the link within my post – look in the paragraph above the photo of the peach crêpes for the link :)

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jennifer August 7, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Oh, I totally missed that… thank you!! Looking forward to trying this… looks great!

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Donna February 22, 2014 at 11:56 am

This is simply magnificent…and magnificently photographed by the way! Question…I REALLY want to make YOUR riff on this (leaning toward the cognac/chestnut vibe with duck rather than the fennel/pastis version)…

How many whole cooked chestnuts would you suggest…and quantity of cognac…how long to soak them?…Here in Lyon…cuisses de canard confites are very easy to find at the boucher…or in the store!…and I would just have to “fork-shred” them…My husband would be utterly thrilled to have this deliciousness in his sarrasin (buckwheat) galette! I usually just do the classic “complete” with ham…this makes it a veritable gastronomic experience!!

Merci bien!

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Jenn February 22, 2014 at 7:49 pm

I actually bought them that way, stored in cognac… if I can find them en Suisse then I’m sure you can in Lyon :) I’m not sure how long to soak them, but to just make sure that there is an excess… for time maybe a few days?

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Donna February 23, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Thanks for the great tip! I’ll do a “home-soak” if my little “tour” for these gems proves less-than-fruitful!…For many of the épicerie here…it seems to be more of a “fête” offering…but we MUST make these and very soon…Fabulous tutorial and background…Very happy to have stumbled upon your culinary blog and prowess!

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