Pastry Chefs Secret Ingredient — Duck Eggs

Pastured Duck Eggs

Located in the foothills of Watsonville, Mello-Dy Ranch is home to over 400 Khaki Campbells, a heritage breed of ducks. This five-generation family also grows apples, berries, squash, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, apricots, beans, lemons, persimmons, pears, along with pasture raised chickens, ducks and quail.

What’s the Difference Between a Chicken Egg and a Duck Egg?
If you’ve never tried duck eggs, you may be wondering how they differ from chicken eggs. Duck eggs are larger than some chicken eggs, but not by much. They are about the size of a jumbo chicken egg, slightly more oblong in shape, and have harder, off-white or grayish shells. The yolks are a deeper shade of orange gold than chicken eggs.

Some people taste no difference between duck eggs and chicken eggs and others claim to detect a ‘gamey’ taste or that the eggs taste ‘eggier’ and creamier. Another plus for duck eggs is that people who have an allergy to chicken eggs may be able to tolerate duck eggs. Pastured, free-range duck eggs have more than twice the nutritional value of chicken eggs and are much higher in Omega 3 fatty acids.

Pastry Chef Secrets
However, where duck eggs surpass chicken eggs is in ice cream, baked goods and pastries. Duck eggs are coveted by pastry chefs who claim that duck eggs are superior to chicken eggs when making cream and custard fillings. According to Darlene of Mello-Dy Ranch, the higher fat content in the yolks and higher protein in the whites make cakes, muffins, quick breads, and other baked goods richer and fluffier. Darlene says, “I love using duck eggs in all my baking. Duck eggs have a beautiful yolk, and are full of flavor.”

Another way to use duck eggs is in lemon curd and hollandaise sauce — the rich duck yolks enhance the texture, flavor, and color of these lemon based condiments. And, you can easily replace the chicken eggs with duck eggs in quiche, frittata or strata recipes.

And for gluten-free baking, duck eggs are excellent. The added protein in the albumin (whites) binds the gluten free ingredients better and improves the texture considerably.

You can substitute one duck egg for one chicken egg in recipes if your duck eggs are not much bigger than chicken eggs. The official substitution ratio is two duck eggs for every three chicken eggs.

Duck eggs store longer than chicken eggs due to their thicker shell and will stay fresh up to six weeks in the fridge.

Pick up pasture-raised duck, chicken or quail eggs from Mello-Dy Ranch at the Aptos Farmers Market at Cabrillo College or the Monterey Farmers Market at MPC.

RECIPES: Dulce Le Leche Ice Cream  Lemon Curd, Hollandaise Sauce, Copper Mountain Spinach Mushroom Quiche

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