• Ingredients for the fig compote:
  • 150 grams (5 oz.) dried figs
  • do not use dried figs that were harvested in biblical times and are hard!
  • 2 tablespoons chopped (at least quartered) walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons of fine crystal sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of orange blossom honey
  • 4 tablespoons of Armagnac - do not worry, the alcohol will entirely evaporate in the process!
  • actually, I think you should worry!
  • if you live in an uncivilized part of the world and don't have Armagnac in your liquor cabinet, you may commit sacrilege, and use Cognac.
  • Optional: "duck" also goes well with "orange", so sometimes I add orange flavor by using 50/50 Armagnac and Grand Marnier liqueur
  • pinch of salt

You guessed it: figs!

(Turkish, to be precise)

  • Ingredients for the duck:
  • 4 pieces of duck breast (magret de canard), 200-250 gram (7-8+ ounces) each, including the skin
  • Chilled in fridge to make it easy to remove the fat
  • 4 slices (a good tablespoon each) of duck liver (foie gras de canard)
  • Use mi-cuit, not fresh liver; do not use "pâté" or other pet food
  • Want to make your own foie gras from fresh duck liver: check my terrine recipe.
  •  fresh zest from 2 large oranges
  • Use untreated oranges if you can; either way: wash them well.
  • salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry dough (round or rectangular, at least 30 cm / 10 inch wide or across)


The cleaned duck breast filets


  • Zester (to make fresh orange zest)
  • Baking sheet / oven tray
  • Brush (for putting the egg wash on the puff pastry)
  • Frying pan or skillet
  • Paper kitchen towel
  • Sharp paring knife
  • Meat/food thermometer


There are two steps. First the fig compote is made. This can be done a day or more ahead.

  • Instructions for the fig compote:
  • remove the stems from the figs
  • quarter the figs
  • put all compote ingredients in a sauce pan
  • add water such that the ingredients are well covered
  • bring to a slow simmer, while stirring regularly
  • continue until reduced to a very thick consistency is obtained and the fig skins are soft; then remove from heat, and cool to room temperature.
  • this should take at least 45 minutes; if it becomes very thick before that time, add some water.
  • when cooled off, the compote should be hard to "cut" with a spoon! So, don't even try and use fig jam or store bought fig compote: your Duck Wellington will be a disaster!
  • The compote can be kept in the refrigerator, but must be at room temperature when used!

  • Instructions for the duck:
  • Pre-heat the oven to 220 °C (425 °F)
  • Put the baking sheet in the oven (to ensure bottom of puff pastry gets baked)
  • Remove the fat from the duck breast (very easy when the meat has been chilled first); retain 2 tablespoons of the fat
  • Melt the duck fat in the frying pan
  • When the pan is really hot, quickly sear the meat on all sides (3-4 minutes total)
  • Let cool for several minutes
  • Pat the meat dry with paper kitchen towel
  • Sprinkle the fresh orange zest, salt, and fresh ground pepper on all sides of the meat, and push it into the meat
  • Make an incision in the top of each piece of meat, to create a pocket
  • First cut down and across, then horizontally in both directions
  • Be careful not to cut all the way through!
  • Insert a tablespoon of foie gras in each pocket
  • Note: make sure it doesn't stick out above the meat (otherwise it will run out and prevent dough at bottom from baking)
  • Cover each piece of meat with 2 tablespoons of compote
  • Cut out two 4 to 5 inch (10-13 cm) diameter circles of pastry dough
  • Drape a pastry dough circle over each piece of meat, stretch the the dough all the way to underneath the meat, and pinch the edges in four or five places to keep the meat enclosed
  • Blend the egg and milk, brush this glaze over the pastry
  • If desired, decorate the tops with cutouts made from pastry trimming
  • Transfer to the hot (!) baking sheet.
  • Bake 10 minutes for medium-rare - actual time depends on the size of the meat pieces
  • The temperature at the core of the meat should be 55-60 °C (130-140 °F)
  • Done more than "medium rare" is a complete waste of good meat.


  • Serve with a slice of foie gras, some fig compote (or fancy figs in wine glaze), some coarse sea salt next to it, and vegetables such as steamed baby asparagus.

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©2003-2016 F. Dörenberg, unless stated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be used without permission from the author.