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Duck pie with pomegranate and walnuts

A Persian-inspired dish of braised duck with walnuts and pomegranate forms the filling for this ultra-comforting fillo pie.

By Greg Malouf
  • Serves 6
  • 40 mins preparation
  • 2 hrs 15 mins cooking plus soaking
Duck pie with pomergranate and walnuts

"This dish takes two roads," says Malouf. "The filling is based on fesenjan, a Persian dish of duck cooked slowly with pomegranate and walnuts. The pie, meanwhile, is inspired by b'stilla, made with a fillo-like pastry. A Lebanese white cabbage salad dressed with lemon, olive oil, garlic and dried mint is a good match."

Ingredients

  • 50 ml olive oil, plus extra if needed
  • 8 duck Marylands (about 2kg)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 100 gm (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
  • ½ cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup (loosely packed) coriander leaves, thinly sliced
  • 9 fillo pastry sheets
  • 150 gm melted clarified butter (see note)
  • 30 gm pure icing sugar, sifted with 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

  • 1
    Heat oil in a flameproof casserole over medium-high 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 casserole. Return all duck to casserole with onion, garlic, walnuts, ginger, saffron, cinnamon and cumin, stir to coat well, add stock and pomegranate molasses, then bring to the boil, cover and simmer over low heat until duck can be easily pulled off the bone (1¼-1½ hours). Strain, reserving stock and duck mixture separately, until duck is cool enough to handle. Skim off excess fat from stock (place paper towels on the surface, then remove and discard).
  • 2
    Coarsely shred duck meat (discard skin and bones). Bring stock to the boil in large saucepan and reduce by two-thirds to about 400ml (20-25 minutes). Transfer half the reduced stock to a bowl and whisk in egg yolks. Return to saucepan with remaining reduced stock and stir over low heat until creamy and nearly set, as you would for an egg custard (5-7 minutes). Stir in parsley and coriander, season to taste and set aside to cool completely. Fold duck meat into egg mixture (refrigerate if not using immediately).
  • 3
    Lay one fillo sheet on a work surface (keep remaining fillo covered with a slightly damp tea towel) and brush with melted butter. Repeat with another fillo 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 fillo. Line a 27cm-diameter deep-sided non-stick frying pan with the fillo circle, pushing it into the sides. Add duck filling, spreading evenly, and brush surrounding fillo with melted butter. Brush remaining 3 fillo sheets with butter, fold in half, and place on top of filling to cover. Bring pastry sides over fillo on top to enclose and brush with butter.
  • 4
    Preheat oven to 180°C. Place pie (in pan) in the centre of the oven and bake until golden brown (30-35 minutes). Remove from oven and carefully place a large plate upside-down over pie and invert onto plate. Wipe excess butter from fillo and sift icing sugar mixture over pie. Place a metal skewer on a naked flame and heat until red-hot (hold with a tea towel). Burn a trellis pattern into fillo, reheating skewer as necessary, and serve.

Notes

To clarify butter, cook it over low heat until the fat and the milk solids separate. Strain off the clear butter and discard the milk solids. You will lose about 20 per cent of the volume in milk solids.Drink suggestion: The ultimate dish for your best pinot noir. Drink suggestion by Max Allen.

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  • Author: Greg Malouf