I have been wanting to make this recipe for a very long time. I researched it also for a long time, as it is not a recipe I could just throw things together!
I came up with many variations on recipes I researched, and combined them to work out which one would be best.
It took many hours to make, and when I finally sat down to eat these paper thin pancakes wrapped around crispy duck skin, spring onions, cucumber, and hoisin sauce, I did not mind all the work I had done, as they were just so very good.
However, to make this you do need a lot of patience and like creating food. It even took me an hour of driving round as I wanted a fresh duck and not one that had been frozen.
This is possibly one of the most time consuming dishes I have ever made, however well worth the effort. I had previously eaten 5 pancakes for $20 at a restaurant and by making it myself, I got the whole duck for around $16 and 22 pancakes, plus the rest of the succulent duck meat. You then also have the gravy which makes the best roast potatoes, and duck is a poultry that can be re heated without it drying out.
Preparation Time: Almost 2 hours plus 24 hours in fridge
Cooking Time: 90 minutes
Makes: About 22 pancakes
Ingredients For the duck 1 fresh duck - if frozen, will need 2 days to defrost in fridge
¼ cup Maltose -available at Asian stores
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp salt
For the pancakes**
2 cups plain flour
2/3 cup boiling water
For the extra filling**
1 Lebanese cucumber
Bunch of spring onions
Method For the duck
Thoroughly clean the duck inside and out.
Pour boiling water over it - the easiest way to do this is over the sink but be careful not to burn yourself. Put the duck on a rack and pour the boiling water on both sides do not let it soak -this is just to shrink the skin.
Dry thoroughly inside and out.
Separate the skin from the rest of the meat by putting your fingers under the skin and then using a long wooden or metal spoon to get as much skin as possible away from the meat - this will make the skin crispier.
Be careful not to break the skin
Mix the maltose, soy sauce and a tsp of water -you may have to heat it in the microwave for a short time, as maltose is sticky and hard.
If you cannot get maltose use honey though this will make it a bit sweeter
Spread this mixture all over the duck.
Combine the salt and baking powder in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly all over the duck.
Put it on a rack in the fridge for at least 24 hours, uncovered. This will dry out the skin and it should look "leathery" after this. If possible, hang it upright, however I did not have a shelf high enough to do this.
Preheat the oven to 160° fan forced, and place the duck either upright on a soft drink can (with water in it), or, as I did, on two racks, one flat and a smaller one at an angle so that the duck is partly upright and the juices will run down and away from contact with the duck.
Cover the wings and feet with foil to prevent burning
Cook for about 30 minutes and then turn the duck over.
Cook for another 45 minutes approximately or until the skin is a deep colour and until fat stops dripping from the inside of the duck.
Take the duck out of the oven and allow to rest for about 10 minutes.
Cut the spring onions, deseed and cut the cucumber, and keep till needed at the end.
For the pancakes
While the duck is cooking, with about an hour to go, start on the pancakes as these are the slowest part.
Mix the flour and boiling water in a bowl and stir until it resembles crumbs. Put on some baking paper with a bit of flour and knead until the dough is not sticky any more, and is quite elastic. This will take at least five minutes.
Let the dough sit for about five minutes, and then cut it up into about 22 balls of even sizes.
Keep these covered with damp paper or towel while you work with them
Put a bit more flour on the surface and roll with a wooden rolling pin, into a circle of about 7 or 8 cms. It does not matter if they are not totally round. Do this to two pancakes, and then put sesame oil on the top of one.
Do this with your fingers as a brush puts too much on
Place another pancakes on top so that this layer of sesame oil is in between the two, and then roll them together with the rolling pin, as thin as you can possibly make them -they should now be paper thin. This dough does not break so keep rolling till they are bigger in size, or about 20 cms.
Continue this way until all the pancakes are done and covered.
Heat a heavy frypan and with no oil, place a pair of pancakes in, and cook for about 1 minute.
Turn over for about 25 seconds or until they puff very slightly and start to get brown spots -you do not want many of these spots.
Peel them apart and keep these warm in a tea towel folded over them, and repeat until all the pancakes are cooked.
Now carve all the skin off the duck - you could place them under the grill for a few minutes to keep them crispy at this stage.
Spread the spring onions and cucumber on in the middle of each pancake.
Add about 1 tsp of Hoisin sauce spread on top, and then top with some of the crisp duck skin.
You could also put a bit of duck meat in as well
Roll pancakes up and eat.
Eating with fingers is a MUST!
You now have another meal or two with the duck meat!