Apples are ubiquitous but that doesn’t mean cooking with them needs to be boring. Contrary to popular belief, there’s a lot more to this delicious fruit than pies and crumbles. With the game season fast approaching, it’s worth remembering that they marry particularly well with rich-tasting birds such as partridge, pheasant and wild duck.
Every autumn, the celebrated Somerset cider and cider brandy producer Julian Temperley marks this king among fruit with Apple Day at his Burrow Hill farm (on 22 October this year). A popular tipple once more, cider is increasingly finding favour as a great match with the right dishes.
Try switching wine for good cider with your dinner – you won’t be disappointed.
ROAST DUCK WITH APPLE AND CIDER BRANDY
Roast duck served with apples and flaming cider brandy makes for a stunning and showy centrepiece to a meal. The Somerset Cider Brandy Company produces various vintages, including the 15-year-old Somerset Alchemy. ciderbrandy.co.uk
- Salt and freshly ground
- Black pepper
- 2 good-quality (or wild) oven-ready ducks, about 1.5kg each
- 2–3 apples, core removed, each cut into 6 wedges
- 100ml Somerset Cider Brandy (3 or 5 years old)
1 | Preheat the oven to 220oC/ gas mark 7. Heat a roasting tray in the oven for 10 mins.
2 | Season the ducks. Place in the tray with the breasts down and roast for 30 mins, draining off any fat as they are cooking (you can keep this for your potatoes).
3 | Turn the oven down to 200oC/gas mark 6 and cook the duck for another 30 mins. Add the apples after 45 mins and baste the duck and apples as they are cooking.
4 | Insert a skewer into a leg joint and when the juices run clear the ducks are cooked: if not, return to the oven for another 15 mins or so. To serve, drain off any excess fat and transfer the duck and apples to an oven-proof table dish. Return to the oven for 10mins, or heat on the stove top.
5 | Heat the cider brandy in a small saucepan, take it to the table with the duck, set light to the alcohol with amatchandthenpourover the duck. Leave the flames to settle, then joint and carve the duck.