Sticky duck, date and potato cake

Serves: 6
Course: Main Course
Cooking Time: 1 hr 40 mins
  • For the filling:
  • 50g butter
  • A little residual fat from the duck legs
  • Four onions, peeled and sliced
  • One sprig thyme
  • 1 tsp ras el hanout spice blend
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp golden brown sugar
  • Four confit duck legs, skin removed and the meat shredded
  • Eight dates, chopped
  • Salt and black pepper
  • For the potato mixture:
  • 1.2 kg floury potatoes, peeled
  • 150ml milk
  • 100g butter, plus more for brushing
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and white pepper
  • Four eggs and one egg yolk, beaten
  • 100g panko breadcrumbs (or stale breadcrumbs)

1 Put the butter, duck fat and onions and thyme into a pan. Cover and cook for 10 minutes over a gentle heat.

2 When the onions soften, add the spices and sugar, then continue to cook uncovered for another 10 minutes until they start to get sticky.

3 Add the duck and the dates and let the mixture come together over a gentle heat for another five minutes until the mixture becomes almost jammy. Season, remove the thyme and set aside.

4 Meanwhile, boil, strain and mash the potatoes with the milk, butter, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

5 Fold in the egg mixture, it should resemble a thick lumpy batter.

6 Take a large springform cake tin and brush all around with butter, then dust with the panko breadcrumbs. Put half the potato mixture in the tin, then top with the duck mixture but do not take it right to the edge, leave a 2cm space.

7 Cover the duck with the remaining potato, smooth the top and dust with more breadcrumbs.

8 Drizzle a little butter over the top of the cake for colour and crunch and it is ready for the oven.

9 Cook for 45 minutes in an oven preheated to 190 degrees, until golden and bubbling.

10 Leave it stand for 15 minutes before running a knife around the edge, unhinging the spring from the side then serving immediately.

Paul Flynn

Paul Flynn

Paul Flynn is a chef, restaurateur and contributor to The Irish Times. He and his wife, Máire, run the Tannery restaurant and cookery school in Dungarvan, Co Waterford