- In a metal baking dish, bring about 2.5-cm (1-inch) of water to a boil. Add a rack large enough to rest on the sides of the dish.
- Prick the duck skin in the fattest parts. Remove any visible fat.
- Stuff the duck with the anise, ginger, celery and garlic. Do not tie the duck legs.
- Place the duck on the rack and cover with a double thickness of aluminum foil. Enclose the duck as tightly as possible. Reduce the heat, the water should only simmer.
- Steam the duck for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the thigh shows that the duck is cooked throughout. After 1 hour, check the water level. Add more as needed, but it is rarely the case.
- Combine the glaze ingredients. Let the duck cool for ten minutes on the rack. Gently pat the duck’s skin dry, which is now very unappetizing.
- Preheat the oven to 200 °C (400 °F). Wash the bottom metal baking dish and line with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Remove the duck for the rack.
- Brush the skin with the glaze. Let dry for 10 minutes. Brush again with the glaze. Bake for about 40 minutes, basting occasionally.
- The duck will be a shiny and beautiful dark brown. Remove from the oven and rack.
- Most of the skin should be crisp.
- To serve, remove the skin and cut into strips. Remove the duck meat and break into pieces. Set aside.
- While cooking the duck or at the last minute, prepare the pancakes.
- In a bowl, combine the flour and salt and make a well in the centre. Add the boiling water and oil. Blend with a wooden spoon. Knead with your hands for at least 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth. Form a cylinder and let stand for 5 minutes. Form a cylinder and let rest for 30 minutes. Cut the cylinder into 20 small balls. Flatten and roll out as thinly as possible, doing so without using any excess flour.
- In a non-stick skillet, cook the pancakes over medium-low heat for about one minute on each side. Set aside in aluminum foil to prevent them from drying out. Serve immediately with the duck and the toppings.
- If you prepare the pancakes in advance, place them on a plate lined with a square of parchment paper. Then, separate each pancake with parchment paper of the same size. Keep the plate well covered with aluminum foil at all times, because the pancakes dry out quickly. Set aside. Just before serving, warm the pancakes in the oven.
- On the table, place the duck meat and skin into individual dishes along side the green onions, cucumber, pancakes and hoisin sauce. Each guest can cover a pancake with hoisin sauce on which he can place a little duck, cucumber and green onion. Just roll the pancake and eat with the fingers.
If you don’t want to make the pancakes, you can use small fresh tortillas.
This is an easy version of the Peking duck or Beijing duck, which is long and tedious to prepare. I tried to facilitate an easy preparation which is still very pleasant tasting. For those who have the advantage of living near a Chinatown, they can buy the already-cooked and lacquered duck in Chinese groceries. And to go the simplest route, the pancakes could be replaced by small tortillas. Reheat as suggested in the recipe. To dry the duck to my taste, when glazed, I leave my fan on to dry the glaze faster. I know it's a little extreme in the winter, but oh!, the lengths we travel for the sake of authenticity!