Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Duck & Cherry Pastries

Here's my savoury recipe for the season, you know that I don't get the urge to bake anything without sugar very often. But I have had these duck & morello cherry pastries on my mind for a long time. I got swept up by this idea of making duck pies, and I couldn't let it go. Finally, I decided to get off my lazy behind and make these. They might not be the prettiest pastries you've ever seen, but they are mouth-wateringly delicious.
I decided to try using Bourke St Bakery's savoury shortcrust pastry, since I had so much success with their sweet shortcrust in the past. And though it definitely did not disappoint in flavour, it didn't hold it's shape as much as I had hoped, probably because it is quite a flaky pastry with big streaks of butter through it. But it tasted so rich and divine that I didn't really care how it looked. I tried to do some parcels with nicely pleated edges (we call them pasties here), but gave up halfway and made other half as little gallettes, and in the end the pasties didn't even hold their shape so the gallettes looked much better. The main thing that stopped me from doing this recipe sooner was the fact that I needed an extra day's preparation, and it's very hard to find the free time to do that when you work fulltime. But it turned out to be quite stress-free and it was easily completed on two weeknights. You could even complete it all in one day if you have the motivation, the only thing that makes this recipe long is the time you need to leave for the pastry to chill.
These definitely aren't going to make the healthiest dinner of the week, but when it's miserably cold you crave a bit of indulgence. The combination of the strong flavour from the duck meat and the crisp, buttery pastry is gorgeous, and then there is the added sweetness from the cherries. I cheated a little bit and bought half a roast duck from the local Chinese BBQ store, rather than cooking the duck meat myself, but I think that it saves a lot of time while still tasting great. I always use store bought roast ducks when I make red duck curry, it is a bit of a pain to peel the meat off the bones but no where near as much effort as cooking it yourself. Plus then the meat is already infused with so much flavour from the sauce and spices. Try to chose a red wine that is not too sweet when cooking the filling, as there is already a lot of sweetness from the cherries, orange zest and carrots. And don't be scared off by the prep time needed, you can make the pastry dough and the filling the night before and then roll, fill and bake them for dinner the next day. They are so worth it!
Duck & Cherry Pastries
(You will need to start this recipe a day ahead, shortcrust Pastry from the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook, makes 14 medium pastries)
For the pastry:
300g cold unsalted butter, cut into 1.5cm cubes
600g plain flour, chilled
1 tsp (5g) salt
3 tsp (15ml) white vinegar, chilled
170ml (2/3 cup) water, chilled
Eggwash, to brush

For the filling:
1/2 cooked duck, meat removed from bones and shredded (I bought a 1/2 roast duck from a Chinese bbq store)
1 brown onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup jarred morello cherries or fresh pitted cherries
Zest of 1/2 an orange
1 sprig of fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper to season
Prepare the pastry dough; Remove the butter from the fridge 10 mins before starting, so that it has softened a little but is still very cold. Place butter, flour and salt in the food processor and pulse 3-4 times in 1 sec bursts to partly combine. (If no food processor available, use your fingertips to rub dry ingredients partly into butter) Empty out on to a clean surface and gather together. Combine water and vinegar and carefully sprinkle over the flour mixture. Using the palm of your hand, smear the mixture away from you on the bench. Gather dough together and repeat smearing process a few more times to bring it together. You should still be able to see streaks of butter through the dough. Divide into two flat disks, wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
To make the filling, sweat onions and carrot on medium heat with a bit of olive oil. When carrots and onions are tender, add wine and simmer until the liquid has reduced. Add duck, thyme and orange zest and simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Generously season with salt and pepper to taste. Gently fold in cherries, trying to keep them intact. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. Can be stored overnight in the fridge.
When ready to assemble pastries, remove dough from fridge 20 mins before starting. Also take duck out of fridge if it has been chilling. Sprinkle a light dusting of flour on a clean workbench and flour your rolling pin. Roll out the dough until it is 3mm thick, then using a 14-15cm diameter bowl/plate/cutter as a guide, cut out circles of dough. Alternatively, separate the two disks into 14 equal balls of dough and roll them out into circles individually. Place on lined baking sheets and chill for at least an hour to allow the gluten in the dough to relax.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Split duck mixture into 14 even portions, about 1/4 cup of filling for each pastry. Place filling in the middle of the pastry, then brush egg wash around the edge of the dough. To make the parcels, bring edges together at the top of the pastry and pinch together firmly to form a crinkled edge. To make galettes, simply fold all the edges in over the filling.
Place on lined baking tray and bake for around 20 mins, or until pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks, serve warm. Can be stored in the fridge for several nights and reheated in the oven.


  1. YUM. Seriously. YUM. That's all I have to say...

    ...except, make me some!

  2. Oh niceeee..... love duck with cherries, not to mention wrapped in flakey pastry! I agree with Karen, make me some! Yuletide dinner, hint hint.. nudge.. nudge... ;)

  3. I have yet to try making bsb pastry. It seriously looks flaky and I can only think of butter! Roast duck fr Chinese BBQ store always cones in handy. These pasties are making me hungry.

  4. Omg, these would be delicious in my belly right now. its old & they'd warm me up.

  5. Yum I like the sound of duck pastries! Anything with buttery pastry and duck has got to be delicious :)

  6. These look very tasty. The pastry looks uber flaky too. I might have to try the BSB recipe next time I'm up for a pastry treat.

  7. They look sooo good! Can't wait to try this, duck and cherries sounds absolutely delicious!

  8. You know what they remind me of? The pie that they made in masterchef - the one of Maggie Beer which I have been dying to make.. not sure why but... anyway great combination of duck and cherry - so classic and to wrap it in pastry - very inspired!

  9. Duck and cherries has got to be one of my favourite sweet/savoury combinations. Love the idea of baking it into pies, because that means they're portable, and portable means picnic!

  10. oooh flakey pastry with juicy duck innards sounds like win mmm tasty win

  11. Oh these look and sound so delicious. Homemade pastry always tastes so much better doesn't it?

  12. I've never tried this combination with duck before! Sounds soo yummy :) The gallettes are so cute, I'll take two please ;)

  13. They look delicious! The flavour comb sounds mouthwatering and I like th savoury change of pace.

  14. OOHHHH I love the sound and look of this flavour combo! Even though this is a savoury dish, I think it leans to the sweeter side of savoury :P hee hee

  15. Great recipe and beautiful presentation!

  16. I love pies. The pastry especially. The combo of duck and cherry has me curious, but I am sure it is a match made in heaven. Nice one Steph : )

  17. Awww...the pleated pasties are so neat and cute! Too bad their shape didn't hold up well coz the pleated part is always lovely and crunchy.

  18. Stellar pies Steph! Normally I'm not into eating duck... but I know I'd loooove these.

  19. Karen @ Citrus and Candy - :D Thanks babe! Haha I will have to make you some!

    billy @ a table for two - LOL if I have time I will make some mini ones maybe ;)

    Ellie (Almost Bourdain) - Try it Ellie! It's so gooood!

    Laura - It is so cold! They were a very rich, but very welcome warm dinner :)

    Jacq - I liked the taste of them haha! Exactly :D

    Mark @ Cafe Campana - It was very flaky, thanks to all those streaks of butter!

    Lisa - :) Thank you!! Duck and cherries is the best combo!

    Trissa - Really? I thought that was a pheasant pie...Thanks!

    Isabelle - Same here! Ooh yes these would be great for a picnic!!!

    chocolatesuze - Hehe it tastes like win :D Thanks!

    Helen (Grab Your Fork) - Homemade definitely does taste better! Totally worth the effort!

    Betty @ The Hungry Girl - Try it, it's so goooood! Haha coming right up :P

    Forager - Thanks so much! I like squeezing in a savoury recipe every now and then to balance out all the sugar hehe

    FFichiban - Haha yeah it is on the sweeter side, but I love mixing sweet and savoury!

    The Food Addicts - Thanks very much!

    Amy @ cookbookmaniac - Thanks! I love pies too :)

    mademoiselle délicieuse - Hehe thanks! I was bummed that they lost their shape cos i spent so long pleating them :(

    Patty - Thanks! You can always replace it with another meat if you're not a duck fan :)

  20. Most healthy? Well no, maybe not, but totally delicious(!!!) and worth the little splurge, especially in winter! Maybe it wouldn't be so bad to be obese right now. I might be warmer :(

  21. Haha definitely not healthy in any way, shape or form. Haha yeah, we need a winter coat right???


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