Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Duck eggs

Swapping baking notes with a colleague recently, she mentioned that she has ducks on her lifestyle block and prefers to use their eggs for baking instead of chicken eggs. Apparently they produce light, fluffy cakes and have a richer flavour when substituted for regular chicken eggs. She commented that her eleven ducks are "laying like machine guns" at the moment - so much so that she and her husband can't keep up with eating all the eggs they find each day and they also have chooks. Would I like to try baking with some duck eggs? You bet I would!

Yesterday, a tray of twelve duck eggs arrived on my desk along with some baking advice. They're a lot larger than chicken eggs, weighing around 80 grams in the shell as opposed to a standard large chicken egg weighing 59 grams. There are two options for using them: either measure out the same quantities of unshelled eggs until they weigh the same, or substitute them 1-1. Duck eggs will simply enrich and add bulk to a recipe. Although the yolk to white ratio is a little higher (and the whites are a really clear white), I've been assured that they make the lightest of meringues, which I find intriguing as I imagined more yolk would make recipes heavier.

It was time to put the theory into practice. I made hot water sponge cake today from the Gran's Sweet Pantry cookbook and substituted the eggs 1-1. The recipe certainly turned out bigger and the eggs whipped into a pale yellow colour. It rose beautifully (and evenly) in the oven and cooked and cooled perfectly ... but how did it taste?

Well, we all demolished the sponge tonight, which I had filled with lemon butter and whipped cream. I am thrilled to have had my first taste of sponge baking success and can't wait to use the other nine duck eggs when baking. I'm hoping that my duck egg supply will be ongoing ... unless we find a way to create our own duck pond in the back yard instead.

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