Whether or not you celebrate Candlemas, today is obviously the D-day for eating pancakes ! That’s why I carry on with another recipe related to pancakes : once again, it’s not a traditional recipe that I wanted to share with you but a savoury one. It’s adapted from a crepe I used to order in a creperie (that is a pancake house) that me and my fiancé frequented some years ago. Buckwheat (which isn’t yet related to wheat nor to cereals) has been some of an acquired taste for me, but I have to say that its particular flavour is exploited in a very interesting way by this kind of pancakes. These are actually a specialty of Brittany, but we may find them in every creperie in France beside sweet crepes. However, the filling here is quite unusual (the more traditional ones being ham and cheese or eggs), but don’t be afraid of the sweet and savoury assiociation : though I don’t really like sweet and savoury dishes, I find this one well-thought-out. The apples and the thick crème fraîche balance the saltiness of the cured duck meat, and the calvados (that is a Norman-French apple brandy) in which the apples are flambéed helps binding the flavours. The resulting crepe is quite refined yet nourishing. Concerning the cured fillet of duck breast, it may be found in supermarkets here in France ; since I do not know the way things are elsewhere, I will provide you next time my recipe for homemade cured duck breast. I think this is definitely something to try out – even if not for this recipe – especially if you like the other kinds of cooked meats. So stay tuned !
Ingredients (4 servings) :
For the buckwheat crepes (4 big-sized ones or 8 smaller ones)
- 150g buckwheat flour
- half a beaten egg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 37 cl water
- oil for the pan
For the filling
- 175g cured fillet of duck breast (or subsitute some other cooked meat to your liking)
- approximately 60g butter
- 4 medium-sized apples (Golden Delicious for me), not too ripe
- 6 tbsp apple brandy (or substitute some classic brandy, like cognac or armagnac)
- 8 tbsp thick crème fraîche
- salt and pepper (optional)
Method for the buckwheat crepes :
Note : this recipe is a foolproof one for this kind of pancakes, and the fillings are endless so don’t hesitate to play around with it !
Put the flour in a large bowl and blend in the egg, trying to distribute it as evenly as possible. Add the salt, then pour in the water gradually, whisking well. The buckwheat flour has a far different consistency than wheat flour when wet (it turns kind of slimy), so don’t go too fast, to allow a good absorption. Your batter is then ready : you don’t even have to let it rest.
Heat a large pan (ideally a 34cm crepe pan) on medium-high heat, then grease it slightly. Drop a little bit of the batter to check if it is heated enough : it should set immediately.
Ladle in the batter, adjusting the amount to the size of your pan in order to make the crepes as thin as possible, and turn the pan to distribute it evenly.
As the sides of the crepe start to lift away from the pan (look at picture 3), about 2 minutes later, flip it on the other side using a spatula. Be careful : buckwheat flour being gluten-free, these pancakes are more fragile than wheat flour ones.
Let it cook half to one minute more, until it’s cooked through, then rest it on a plate. Continue doing the same with the remaining batter.
Once the crepes have cooled down, you may rest them in the fridge overnight, wrapped in cling film. The next day, the dish would then be ready in a jiffy !
Method for the filling and assembly :
Slice the cured duck breast not too finely (about 5mm), then cut the slices in strips (about 1cm of width).
Peel, core and dice the apples.
On medium-high heat, melt 25g butter in a pan in order to make brown butter. Sauté the diced apples until they turn tender. Off the heat, pour in the apple brandy and flambe it, stirring constantly to allow the flambéed brandy to flavour evenly the apples. Once it is no longer burning, add in the strips of duck breast and 4 tbsp of crème fraîche. Add salt and pepper if necessary (but the cured duck breast is already quite salty, and mine was seasoned with pepper, so I didn’t need any of them). Mix well, then divide into as many parts as the number of crepes you made.
In the same pan in which you cooked the pancakes, or in 2 pans at the same time (in order to go faster), melt approximately 10g of butter per crepe on high heat. Put in the buckwheat pancakes (first side cooked down), then top with a part of the filling and an additional tbsp of crème fraîche per crepe. Fold up as shown in the pictures, then brown the crepe on both sides until they turn crispy. Repeat with the remaining crepes and filling, keeping the prepared ones warm in a preheated oven if necessary.
Dress on plates and serve with a light salad and cider !