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Which came first the duck or the egg?

In the United States, the chicken egg reigns supreme, but there are many other types of eggs that we are missing out on. Though they may not be as readily available as the chicken egg, customers are flocking (pun intended) to their farmers’ and specialty markets to purchase quail, goose, and duck eggs.

If you are hesitant about eating a non-chicken egg, a good place to start is with a duck egg.   They taste very similar to chicken eggs, and before you know it, you’ll be chowing down turkey and ostrich eggs, without giving the chicken a second thought.

Chicken vs Duck

Duck eggs are a bit larger than chicken eggs and have a bigger yolk-to-white ratio, making them higher in protein (yay!), but also higher in cholesterol (Boo! Just use caution).

The duck egg’s shell is thicker, making them harder to crack open; not much harder, but if you’re not careful you’ll be left looking foolish with an uncracked egg and a confused look on your face. True story.

A benefit to the harder shell is that the duck egg has a longer shelf life than the chicken egg. After some Internet research, it turns out that duck eggs should last for up to 6 weeks in the refrigerator.

It’s unwise to put all your eggs in one basket.

I’d never really cooked with a non-chicken egg, so when I purchased my duck eggs from Six Chicks and a JBird Farms at the Madison Country Farmers’ Market, I felt a lot of pressure to cook something worthy of the experiment.

I finally decided on an egg-heavy dessert, cream puffs, which require at least 10 eggs! I had made cream puffs with chicken eggs before, which were good, but the duck element made the dessert richer and creamier. I tested the dessert on family and friends and got rave reviews. Though cream puffs have a lot of steps, they are not particularly hard to make, so don’t be intimidated.

This recipe is developed by ultra talented chef and food stylist Victoria Cox.  I’ve worked with her often and she is amazing.  Enjoy!

Duck Egg Cream Puffs

Recipe by Victoria Cox

Filling:

2 ½ cups whole milk

2/3 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 vanilla bean, split or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

5 large duck egg yolks

1/3 cup cornstarch

 

Pate A Choux:

½ cup whole milk

½ cup water

½ cup unsalted butter

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 large duck eggs, lightly beaten, at room temperature 

1 egg, lightly beaten

 

Glaze:

½ cup whipping cream

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

 

Directions:

  1. To make the filling, in a medium saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, butter, and vanilla bean (scraping seeds and adding to the pot), if using. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks and cornstarch. Bring milk mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Gradually whisk hot milk mixture in a small stream into the egg yolk mixture. Slowly whisk egg mixture back into the pan. Cook, whisking constantly, over medium-high heat 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat; discard vanilla bean if using or whisk in vanilla extract if not using vanilla bean. Pour into a bowl; place plastic wrap over top. Chill 2 hours or until cold.
  2. Heat oven to 350F. In a medium saucepan, bring milk, water, butter, sugar, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a heavy-duty stand-mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment. On low speed, add egg a little at a time, beating until all egg is completely absorbed before adding more. Dough should be smooth and glossy and slowly fall off the mixing blade and form a point (like a bird’s beak) when it is ready. All of the beaten egg may not be needed.
  3. Spoon mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a round piping tip (about 1 inch wide). Pipe balls of dough (and about ½ inch wide) onto baking sheets lined with parchment. Allow 2 inches of space between dough as it will expand when baking. Brush with beaten egg. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and dry. Cool completely.
  4. Place filling in a pastry bag fitted with a medium-sized round tip. Insert tip into bottom of each cream puff and gently squeeze piping bag to fill cavity (do not stuff full).
  5. Heat whipping cream on stovetop or microwave on high 30-60 seconds until boiling; pour over chopped chocolate. Stir until smooth. Dip tops of éclairs into chocolate, letting excess drip off. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sarah Belanger

Sarah works as a photographer and writer in North Alabama and has photographed for numerous national brands including Southern Living and Cooking Light. She also writes for several local magazines including No’Ala Magazine and Huntsville Event Magazine. See more of her work at S. Belanger Photography and keep up with her adventures at The Jealous Crumpet.