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  • Writer's pictureSilvana

Honey-glazed crispy duck

My son Fabio requested a feast including crispy duck pancakes for his 19th birthday lunch this week. It takes 24 hours to prepare the duck but the hands-on time isn’t too demanding, though you will need to take a shelf out of your fridge to fit the duck in upright, which is a bit of a faff. It’s all worth it, I promise.


The main effort goes into making the skin as crispy as possible. You’ll need to loosen the skin from the flesh either by carefully sliding in your hands or inflating it with an electric bike pump or my preferred method, using a whipped cream dispenser. I find it easier to blanch the duck in a large pan rather than attempt to ladle the hot water over.


Before you start, find a vessel that will fit into the cavity and hold the duck upright - (snipping off the parsons nose will help it balance but I think it spoils the final appearance) a beer can is often used for this but I find a tall empty jar does the job well too.


Prepare: 24 hours

Cook: 90 minutes

Serves 6 as a starter


1.8 - 2kg duck

2 tsp salt

1 ½ tsp five spice powder

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp dark soy sauce

1 tsp dark brown sugar

To serve

18 - 24 Chinese pancakes

2 bunches spring onions, shredded

1 cucumber, cut into batons

Hoisin sauce


1 Begin the day before you plan to serve the duck. Find a pan large enough to hold the duck and fill with water, add 1 teaspoon each of salt and five spice and bring to the boil.


2 Meanwhile, mix the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of five spice with the honey, soy sauce and brown sugar. Microwave for 30 seconds, then stir well.


3 Place your holding can or jar in a small baking dish. Loosen the skin from the duck (see intro above) then blanch in the seasoned water for 1 minute. Pat the duck dry with kitchen paper then position over the can or jar so the duck is upright. Brush all over with the honey glaze then place in the fridge.


4 Continue to baste throughout the day using the glaze collected in the base of the dish. Give it one last baste before bed then leave it to dry overnight.


5 Preheat the oven to 160C and roast on a rack for 1 ½ hours until crisp and deeply browned. Leave to sit for 10 minutes before carving and shredding. Serve with pancakes and trimmings.


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