Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Tale of Two Eggs

Now, you just might be wondering if there's something wrong with that egg on the left. Rest assured it's perfectly normal.

Perfectly normal for a duck egg. You can certainly see where the term duck egg blue evolved from.

I am always excited to see duck eggs - especially ones as fresh as these free range wonders.

What excites me is that they are a bakers dream. With these you can produce cakes to die for.

It's their differences that really set them apart and make them special. They are higher in fat, the yolks are a rich golden colour and the whites are extremely gelatinous. When used in baking you'll find the items will have an intense yellow colour and also be more sturdy and resilient. You'll also find that there's an increased richness to the taste - it's slightly decadent.

While duck eggs are perfect for use in pasta, custards and cakes, they are unsuitable for meringues and souffl├ęs. This is due to the absence of globulin, a necessary protein in the formation of foam.

One other thing I should note is that duck egg shells are thicker than chicken eggs. Cracking them takes a little more effort and it's useful to use the blunt side of the knife to help break through the shell - a few raps to the shell should create a tidy crack.

If you've never tried duck eggs I can't help but urge you to seek them out - the proof of their quality is in the pudding, or in this case the sponge!


Sponge Cake
[Makes 2 x 20cm/8inch diameter cakes]

6 duck eggs
¾ cup caster sugar
1¼ cups plain flour
60 grams melted butter, cooled

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
Butter and flour two 20cm/8 inch shallow cake tins (about 5cm/2inch in height) - line the bases with baking paper cut to size - this will make removal easier.

Break the duck eggs into the bowl of a stand mixer - add the sugar and beat until thick and fluffy and tripled in volume. Since this is made using duck eggs, you'll notice the mixture won't be pale, it will retain a deep yellow colouring. The beating will take around 10 minutes.

While you are waiting, triple sift the flour. Also try to incorporate as much as air as possible while sifting, so sift from a good height above the bowl. Triple sifting is a fairly standard procedure when making sponge - the whole purpose in each step is to maximise the aeration.

When the eggs are ready it's time to add the flour - sift the flour over the bowl. Begin folding this through using a metal spoon and the figure eight cutting motion. When it's almost totally incorporated, drizzle in the cooled melted butter and continue to fold until just mixed.

Divide the mixture evenly into the two cake tins and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until golden and the cakes are still springy to the touch.

Cool slightly in the tins before turning out onto wire racks to cool.


To make this filled sponge:
I used Gippsland Organic Pure Cream (40% fat) and my Rhubarb, Apple & Vanilla Jam - naturally enough, you can fill this with your favourite cream and jam.

I've whipped the cream until firm - pure cream is my preference as it doesn't contain any other ingredients other than the jersey cream itself, there's no gums or thickening agents. It takes slightly longer to whip but you'll find that it actually has a better hold. Taste-wise, it can't be beat and if you've gone to the trouble to find the duck eggs, why take a short cut on the cream.

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  1. ok, I'll definitely keep my eyes open from now on! Thanks!

  2. I had no idea that duck eggs were so different! I don't know if I've ever eaten them before, I've certainly never cooked with them - but shall have to give them a go :)

  3. Hi Ilva - they really do make a big difference when baking

    Hi Ellie - it's interesting to see how different eggs are - do keep an eye out for them!

  4. I had no idea - I've been buying a dozen each month at the good living grower's markets and adore them for their clean, slightly richer flavour - I simply fry them and love the lighter yellow yokes. But I will make note to use them in baking which I never do but you just never know!

  5. Hi Julia - it's good to see that there are duck egg buyers out there!

  6. Hi Haalo,

    This is going to be one of my next challenges, finding duck eggs.

    Hopefully, I'll find some so that I can attempt your gorgeous sponge.

  7. Hi CB - I hope you find some, they are well worth it. I find mine at farmers markets, that might be a place to look?

  8. Hmmmm...we don't have too many farmer's markets here. I did hear about a Saturday morning one in the city... I'll have to check it out.

  9. Well I still haven't been abl;e to buy any duck eggs. So yesterday I went to see what a new organic produc shop had in the way of eggs. I bought 6 just for this recipe.
    They had the most beautiful rich orange yolks. I came home whipped up this sponge and between my son and myself there is about a two serve slice left today. It was the most beautiful light sponge I'd made in quite a while. I used the last of my rhubarb & apple jam and fresh whipped cream as the filling and just a dust of icing sugar over the top.

    It's well worth finding good quality eggs just for this sponge.

  10. Hi Karen - it's amazing what good eggs will do for any recipe. You'll have to get a dozen next time! This sponge does have good keeping qualities, though it usually gets eaten quite quickly ;)

  11. Actually my son said he liked it better today than yesterday because he thought it was more moist.

    I was surprised that it kept so well, if only we had given it a chance:):)

  12. Ahh that's why you make two sponges, one for today and one for tomorrow ;)

  13. If you are in the u.k they sell free to roam organic duck eggs in tesco.

  14. That's really handy, Emeraldgreen.

  15. Hi Haalo - I whip my duck egg whites into almost stiff peaks - it just takes about twice as long. I have done this a few times for buttercream frostings. I can get them just a bit firmer than soft peak but not quite as stiff as chicken eggs. I was going to try to add a little cold water in this next time but maybe that's irrelevant?
    Julia- I'm surprised that you say duck eggs have lighter yellow yolks. That makes me think you're getting either old eggs or the layers aren't being well fed. They should be quite golden - marigold color - to intense orange. EVen in the deep of winter, my flock produces bright marigold eggs as long as they get good feed and some kitchen scraps, e.g. orange peels and lettuce and veggie trimmings. - smalltownslackermom

  16. Thanks STSM for the information about duck eggs. I really don't think you'll be able to whip them up anymore that you've managed too due to their innate structure.

  17. Hi!

    I've been eating duck eggs for over 10 years now. I have allergies to chicken and chicken eggs. I not only fell in love with the rich lushus taste of duck eggs, but I also stared raising ducks 10 years ago.

    I've done a variety of cooking with duck eggs and never found anything I couldn't do better with them. But, I haven't tried whipping the whites. Thank you for your information!

    Now I am so hooked on using duck eggs, I have help others to find the eggs and/or raise their own ducks. For the past 5 years I have been selling duck eggs over the internet for eating and hatching.

    I raise a breed of duck called a Khaki Campbell, it was first developed in England, and it lays more eggs then any other duck or chicken. I carry only a pedigreed line of English Khaki Campbell Duck, from Holderread who is a renouned duck breeder. Some ducks in this line have been recorded laying over 340 eggs a year.

    Please, contact me if you would like to raise ducks for eggs. Or, if you are having touble finding a source of eating duck eggs.


  18. I adore poached duck eggs, but I've never thought to try them in a pastry. I find that unlike chicken eggs, which seem to leave a filmy residue on the tongue, duck eggs are texturally silky and just melt in your mouth. Divine. I'll be sure to try out this sponge the next chance i get!

  19. Hi,
    If anyone is still seeking duck eggs,free range ones can be obtained from Waitrose if you are in the UK.

  20. AnonymousMay 14, 2012

    I wish I knew that the egg white's weren't suitable for whipping before this afternoon.. I was going to make french macarons in lieu of mother's day and no matter how much cream of tartar or how long they were beaten for - they never whipped :(


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