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 soufflés. 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!
[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.
Tagged with Cake