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2000s Recipes + Menus

Savory Duck Fat Doughnuts

  • Active time:35 min
  • Start to finish:2 3/4 hr
August 2009
We tried to imagine a duck fat recipe to end all duck fat recipes, and who knows—maybe these spectacular doughnuts will kick off a future craze. Because duck fat is used in a number of different ways here, you might expect the doughnuts to bombard your senses, but they’re actually extremely light and delicate. The dough­—based on bomboloni, with duck fat subbing for butter—is soft as a baby’s bottom and a dream to work with. Tender shreds of duck confit, mixed with a dab of sour cherry compote for sweetness, comprise the filling. Finally, the doughnuts are fried in duck fat, which bestows a crispness and an extra hint of gamy savor. Fabulous.
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • Scant 1/2 cup warm whole milk (105-115°F)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus additional for dusting
  • 1 large egg
  • About 4 cups rendered duck fat, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 confit duck leg
  • 2 tablespoons sour cherry or red currant preserves plus additional for serving
  • Equipment:

    a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment; a deep-fat thermometer
  • Stir together yeast and warm milk in mixer bowl and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, start over with new yeast.) Mix in 3/4 cup flour at low speed until combined. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled and bubbles appear on surface, about 1 hour.
  • At low speed, mix in egg, 2 Tbsp duck fat, sugar, salt, and remaining 3/4 cup flour until combined, then beat at medium speed until smooth and elastic, 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape dough into center of bowl and dust lightly with additional flour. Cover bowl with kitchen towel and let dough rise at warm room temperature until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Discard skin and bones from duck confit, then shred meat. Stir together meat and preserves.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper and lightly dust with flour. Punch down dough (it will be soft) and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut into 16 equal pieces. With lightly floured hands, flatten 1 piece of dough and put a heaping tsp duck confit mixture in center. Gather dough up and around filling and pinch to enclose. Roll into a ball and transfer to baking sheet. Make 15 more balls, arranging 1 inch apart on sheet.
  • Heat 2 inches duck fat in a 2-qt heavy saucepan over medium heat to 350°F. Fry doughnuts in batches of 4, turning frequently, until puffed and golden, about 2 minutes per batch. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Return oil to 350°F between batches. Serve doughnuts hot, with additional preserves.