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:


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