Maple Butternut Squash Duck Tart

Amaze your dinner party guests with Danny Boome's innovative tart composed of layers of caramelised onions, butternut squash, roast duck, maple syrup glaze, and goat's cheese
By Danny Boome
Maple Butternut Squash Duck Tart
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes (combining stages)
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes plus resting time for pastry
  • Effort: hard



  • 1 duck breast, (2 fillets) deboned
  • salt, and freshly ground black pepper
  • 50 g goats' cheese

For the pastry:

  • 190 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 150 g chilled unsalted butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3-5 tbsp ice cold water
  • 1 tsp melted butter

For the maple butternut squash purée:

  • 350 g butternut squash, cut in half and deseeded
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 30 g butter
  • 1 tbsp marjoram, chopped
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • salt, and freshly ground black pepper

For the caramelized onions:

  • 30 g butter
  • 2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar, or balsamic vinegar

For the glaze:

  • 60 ml maple syrup
  • 2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp ice wine, or sweet wine
  • 1 tsp butter

Tips and Suggestions

he various stages of this recipe can be made simultaneously; alternatively, prepare everything except the duck well ahead and heat through as necessary.


1. Combine the flour and salt in a food processor. Mix for a few seconds, add the butter and blend briefly until the butter is the size of peas. Add the egg yolks and process for another few seconds. Slowly add the water to the mixture, one tablespoon at a time, and process until the dough forms a ball and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Remove and wrap the dough in cling film. Chill for 20 minutes.

2. Grease and flour-dust six tartlet tins.

3. Dust the worktop with a little flour. Either divide the chilled pastry into six, or roll out the whole to a size large enough to fit the six tart tins. Begin rolling the pastry from the centre outwards, rotating the dough occasionally. The diameter of each section of dough should be 2cm larger than that of each tart tin. Gently place the dough in the tart tins, then press firmly into the bottom and sides of the tins. Prick with a fork and chill for 20 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas 5.

5. Blind bake the tart shells for 15 minutes, remove the beans and continue to cook for another 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and cool.

6. Season the squash with salt and pepper, and drizzle with oil. Place on a baking sheet or shallow roasting pan, skin side up. Roast at 190°/gas 5 until tender, about 20-30 minutes.

7. While the squash is still warm, scrape out the flesh and place in a food processor with the butter, marjoram and maple syrup. Puree until smooth. Season to taste. Leave to cool to room temperature.

8. Put the butter into a heavy-based frying pan and turn the heat to medium high. Once the butter has melted add the onions and cook for 20-30 minutes or until they brown. Keep the pan covered and stir occasionally. Add the vinegar and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.

9. In a small saucepan reduce the maple syrup and black pepper over medium high heat until thickened. Add the sherry vinegar and the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Beat in the butter and season with salt. Set aside.

10. Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas 3.

11. Score the duck breast and season with salt and pepper.

12. Set an ovenproof, heavy-based frying pan or skillet over medium high heat, and sear the duck breasts skin side down until the skin is crisp, about 8-10 minutes. Drain the fat that is being rendered.

13. Transfer the duck to the oven and roast until medium rare, about 5-7 minutes.

14. Slice the duck fairly thinly.

15. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4.

16. To assemble the tarts, first coat the bottom of each shell with the caramelised onion. Spread the squash purée over the onions, and heat the tarts in the oven until warmed through.

17. Arrange the duck slices on top of the purée in concentric circles.

18. Brush the duck with warm glaze.

19. Crumble goat's cheese on top and serve at once.

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