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It starts here on Christmas Day with the hatching of 5 new Muscovy ducklings by two attentive Maman Ducks. Wrapped up in the gentle peeping, the warning hissing, and the sweet fluffy down, I wasn’t prepared for my two ace mother ducks to start laying again, so soon. This time I decided to practice birth control for my feathered girls and collect the fresh eggs as they lay them, one or two a day. Like clockwork. The results this last week have been a bounty of golden pound cakes, creamy cheese cakes and delicious crêpes to share with my newly returned Team Polska as they work on the Barn works renovation.  A happy remedy for all.

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Duck egg shells are thick and difficult to crack. The yolks are deep orange; the whites are dense and more viscous than the hens eggs. They weigh between 60-80 grams each. I can easily make a pound cake with 3-4 of them, a flan or cheesecake with 2, or just enjoy a last minute omelette-for-one at lunch with one big duck egg.

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The simple recipe for a classic French pound cake-a quatre-quatre– is made with equal parts egg, butter, flour and sugar. Weigh the eggs, then using that as your measure, weigh each of the other three ingredients. I added a teaspoon of baking powder… and a shot of armagnac. Was it delicious? IMG_8658Oui!

You can make one yourself with good fresh farm hens eggs, too. I’d start with 6 hen eggs to get enough batter to fill the pan. I whisked the eggs and sugar, slightly melted the butter until soft enough for me to beat it in by hand, then mixed in the flour and baking powder. I stirred the armagnac in at the end after I tried it to make sure it was still good. It was.
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I baked it in a moderate oven at 160’C or about 325’F for as long as it needed, I set the timer for 30 minutes, then another 15, and another. I just kept looking and testing it until it was done. My oven is pretty good, but it’s probably different from yours, so learn to watch, pay attention and test your food when baking. All in all, a pound cake usually takes an hour to an hour-and-a-half to cook. You can test it with a knife, skewer or broom straw. When it comes out clean, it is done. And the house smells amazing!

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The winter days are good for a lot of slow things. Thinking. Reading. Writing. Making big plans!  And baking. Today I added another twist on my standard cheesecake- apples and the duck eggs, of course. Tomorrow, maybe some dumplings for a cabbage soup. You don’t have too work to hard when the raw materials you have are this good. To make these recipes, start with a couple ducks I think I’ll just rename Camont- the House of the Golden Yolk.

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