A delightful French dish of roasted duck breast and cream sauce served in a golden toasted bread box, garnished with poached apples.


  • 4 duck breasts

  • 4 small Apples granny smith or similar

  • 455 ml cider dry vintage type

  • 140 ml crème fraiche

  • sandwich loaf

  • Olive Oil for frying

  • 28 g Flour preferably sauce flour

  • 28 g Butter

  • Lemon Juice


  • 1.

    Peel and core the apples, leaving them whole, and coat with lemon juice to stop the browning.

  • 2.

    Carefully remove the skin from the duck using a sharp knife, but replace the now detached skin on the breasts.

  • 3.

    Put them in a roasting dish and season (under the skin).

  • 4.

    Cut all crust from the loaf, leaving a neat rectangular block.

  • 5.

    You are now going to cut out the interior crumb leaving a box without a lid, with walls 6mm thick.

  • 6.

    Using the bread knife, carefully cut along one of the long sides, leaving a 6mm wall, and judging how deep you need to go (6mm from bottom).

  • 7.

    Do this on all four sides, making sure the corners meet neatly.

  • 8.

    Remove the crumb, at first with your fingers, and then finishing off with a spoon to level off the bottom.

  • 9.

    Roast the duck breasts for about 25 minutes in a medium oven.

  • 10.

    The detached skins will baste and protect the breasts during cooking.

  • 11.

    Bring the cider to simmering point and gently poach the apples until tender but still al dente (about 5 minutes - do not overcook).

  • 12.

    Keep them warm on the serving dish.

  • 13.

    Make a roux by melting the butter in a thick saucepan and stirring in the flour, cook gently for about 5 minutes but do not allow to start browning.

  • 14.

    Add any liquor from the duck (but only a very little fat, of which there will be plenty) to the cider.

  • 15.

    Add the hot cider little by little until you have a good coating sauce.

  • 16.

    Keep warm.

  • 17.

    In a frying pan, shallow fry the bread box one side at a time in slightly smoking hot oil, gently splashing oil into the interior so that it cooks as well.

  • 18.

    Fry until a good golden brown (this can be done 1 hour in advance and than reheated for a few times in the oven if necessary).

  • 19.

    Put in the centre of an oval serving dish and arrange the apples around the outside.

  • 20.

    Place the duck breasts on end inside the box discarding the skins.

  • 21.

    Finish the sauce with the crème fraiche, then pour the sauce into the box until it is full.

  • 22.

    Hand remaining sauce in a separate jug.

  • 23.

    When serving you will need to display the complete dish first, then cut up the box.

  • 24.

    One loaf will do up to about 8 portions.

  • 25.

    Delicious with new or mashed potatoes and a green vegetable.

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