On so many levels, this Middle Eastern pie is as amazing as it is unique.
Starting with the most obvious: it’s a duck pie! Duck pies are made of duck which means they are automatically amazing.
They’re also rare so this is a treat. (I’ve only typed up one other duck pie at the time of writing this one up.)
You’re cooking with Pomegranate Molasses, something I am confident you’ve never cooked with. It is also amazing.
You make a custard with the rich, reduced stock that you’ve spent the previous 2 hours infusing with saffron, walnuts and duck.
You’re shredding the moorish meat of 8 duck Marylands. The same cut you use in Duck Confit. Amazing right?!
And you’re cooking the pie in buttered filo.
This technique behind this pie is unique and definitely feels Middle Eastern.
Though the effect is awesome.
It is just beautiful and served as part of a Middle Eastern feast, this is luxury.
Not cheap, not quick, though like any duck dish, spend the time and eat like the Kings that no doubt ate this pie 400 years ago.
50ml olive oil, plus extra if needed
8 duck Marylands (about 2kg)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 cup roasted walnuts, rubbed in a cloth to remove skins, coarsely chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
A pinch of saffron threads, lightly toasted and crushed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1.2 litres chicken stock
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup coriander leaves, thinly sliced
9 filo pastry sheets
150gm melted clarified butter
30gm pure icing sugar, sifted with 1tsp ground cinnamon
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy casserole over a medium heat. Season duck and fry in two batches, skin side down first (6 – 8 minutes), then on the other side until golden (2 – 3 minutes). Drain fat leaving 2 tbsp in the casserole.
- Return all the duck to the casserole together with the onion, garlic, walnuts, ginger, saffron, cinnamon and cumin, stir to coat well, then adding the stock and pomegranate molasses. Bring to the boil, cover and then simmer over a low heat for around 1 1/2 hours and when the duck can easily be pulled off the bone.
- Strain, reserving the stock and duck mixture separately. Set the duck aside to cool.
- Skim off the excess fat from the stock (place paper towels on the surface, then remove and discard).
- Coarsely shred the duck meat, discarding the skin and bones. Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan and reduce by two-thirds to about 400ml. Transfer half the reduced stock to a bowl and whisk in egg yolks. Return to the saucepan with the remaining reduced stock and stir over a low heat until creamy and nearly set, as you would for an egg custard (5 – 7 minutes).
- Stir in the parsley and coriander, season to taste and set aside to cool completely. Fold the duck meat into the cooled mixture, refrigerating if not using immediately.
- Lay one filo sheet on a work surface, (covering the remaining filo pastry sheets with a slightly damp tea towel) and brush with melted butter. Repeat with another filo sheet laying it on top of the first to form a cross. Repeat with another 4 sheets, laying them at varying angles to form a circle of filo.
- Line a 27cm-diameter deep-sided non-stick frying pan with the filo circle, pushing it into the sides. Add duck filling, spreading evenly and brush surrounding filo with melted butter. Brush remaining 3 filo sheets with butter, fold in half and place on top of filling to cover. Bring pastry sides over filo on top to enclose and brush with butter.
- Preheat the oven to 180c. Place the pie in the oven and bake until golden brown (30 – 35 minutes). Remove from the oven and carefully place a large plate upside-down over pie and invert onto the plate.
- Wipe the excess butter from the filo and sift icing sugar mixture over the pie. Place a metal skewer on a naked flame until red-hot, holding the skewer with a tea towel. Burn a trellis pattern into the filo. Serve.