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Chicken Egg Brème Brûlée versus Duck Egg Crème Brûlée

I have heard there was no comparison between the two, so had to do my own tasting!

Vanja and I had our regular Tuesday night dinner guest over for Thanksgiving leftovers awhile back. We also invited Maria and Jeff. Yes, there was pumpkin pie. And left over “sex-in-a-pan”! Have you ever had that? the guys are crazy over it. This time, however, when I opened the fridge to get it, it fell upside down on the floor. That wasn’t going to stop them! When it was time for dessert, V asked for some “unprotected sex-in-a-pan”. We rolled with laughter. I served it. He ate it. And, yes, it had fallen on the floor… but, I managed to scoop up a good portion to save!

The dessert was a focused tasting, though! No sex until the verdict is in!

Each person, or couple, got one of each: in the oval dish, duck egg crème brûlée and in the round dish, chicken egg crème brûlée.

Immediately there was a visual difference. The chicken egg brûlée was much more yellow. The egg yolks were a lovely orange colour and they definitely defined the presentation of this dish. But, not the taste. Honestly, the results surprised us all. No one. Not one of the five of us. Not one, could determine a difference in taste. There was absolutely no difference in the taste whatsoever. I am completely convinced of this because I ate many dishes to compare and did a blind tasting with my husband assisting, and I did determine one difference, but only the next day.

Below, the yellow in the chicken egg crème brûlée is not as evident as it was off of the computer screen. There was a significant difference in colour. Look at the texture on the spoon, below. Do you see a difference? There actually is one, but it is subtle.

We were so focused on taste that first tasting, and so shocked by the result, that we did not focus on anything else: like mouth feel. There is a difference. You can actually see it above. Can you see it now?

The chicken egg crème brûlée was looser. It did not hold in the mouth or on the tongue like the duck egg crème brûlée did. The sensation of velvety cream was definitely there with both; however, the duck egg brûlée held it just a tad longer. Just a bit. It is definitely not something most would notice. But, it is significant. I was right every time with the blind tasting regarding which crème brûlée I was given to taste in my mouth after determining the difference in mouth feel.

I know when I make zabaglione the major difference is that the duck egg zabaglione holds for much longer; it does not break down as a chicken egg one does (fast!).

Here’s a question to ponder: would I be able to tell what egg a crème brûlée is made from now, without a direct comparison? The answer: maybe. I am not sure. I think so… only because I had an incredibly thorough tasting experience (hearty laugh)! We shall see!

Recipe for either is here.

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About Valerie Lugonja

Educator, Writer, Gardener and Traveler who believes in buying and eating locally, and most importantly cooking at home!

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  1. How interesting! I’ve never had a duck egg creme brulee but you sure can see the difference in how they hold up in your photos. What a lovely test to have to “endure” :-)

  2. I need to sign up for one of your taste tests! I would be willing to try it again and again…
    :)

  3. I like the color of the creme brulee made with duck eggs. I bet it tastes richer too.

    Nisrine

    • Did you read the tasting comments, Nisrine? There was no difference in the taste, whatsoever, but there was a difference in the texture.
      :)
      Valerie

      • Lindsey Schofield says:

        Hi Valerie I came across your post for creme brulee while looking for recipes to use my geese eggs on, today i thought i would trial this recipe using my geese eggs and i have just sat down to test it OMG this is just the best beautiful golden yellow soooooo creamy and as my torch besided to die as i needed it i used an idea i also found online which you heat a metal ladel up over the gas jets and then press onto sugary top of the creme brulee which produced a reasonably crunchy top but not as good as the blow torch creates but because the creme brulee was so awsome this seemed a minor drawback i took some photos for the proof and doubt whether the others made are going to last long enough for my family to try so the photos will be proof to them how lovely they looked

        • Valerie Lugonja says:

          Lindsey,
          How wonderful to hear that you experienced the same pleasure I did while eating this!
          Isn’t it just so yummy? Thank you ever so much for letting me know.
          Sincerely appreciated,
          Valerie

  4. Most chefs who try duck eggs for creme brulee are now using duck eggs. They just hold up better and taste creamier.
    Thanks for testing them!

    • That must be a local thing, thanks to your wonderful duck eggs, Mary Ellen, as I have never seen duck egg brûlée on a menu anywhere else!
      :)
      Valerie

  5. Your inquiring mind wanted to know Valerie and now you do:D

  6. This was great. Nice experiment.

  7. I’m not sure that I would be able to tell the difference if tasted blindly but I’m sure my six year old daughter could. She tried duck eggs this summer and loved them so much she now refuses to eat regular chicken eggs, saying they are just not the same. And she does have an incredible palate.

  8. hi Valerie,

    ok i have to ask, what the heck is sex in a pan? or did i miss a joke somewhere? i don’t think i’ve ever had sex in a pan. that didn’t sound right to say that…lol.

    i’ve never tried duck eggs creme brulee before. if they both tasted the same, was there one that you liked better? i’m guessing the duck, as it was a tad bit more velvety?

    • LQ: Sex-in-a-pan is a retro dish from the 70’s that is layered and creamy. You did not miss a joke! I definitely preferred the mouth feel of the duck brulee!
      :)

      • ah, thank you. always learning from you. this time a little sex ed? teehee.

        • LQ: Sex-in-a-pan was introduced to my mom in the 1970’s by a very dear neighbourhood friend, Glorie Moore. It was the giggle and the favourite of that very tight Red Deer neighbourhood for years and years. Mom still makes it often as dad loves it, and now, Vanja is also crazy over it. I don’t make it as well as mom (apparently) and it was probably created by the Jello Instant pudding company. Let me do a little research and I will get back to you here. I could not find the origin, but there are a truck load of recipes for it online. Mom’s, of course, would be the best. E-mail me if you want it. In brief: it is a layer of cookie-like crsut made with pecans, butter, flour and confectioners sugar, baked and topped with cream cheese mixed with whipped cream, then layered with instant chocolate and vanilla puddings, topped with chocolate shavings or crushed chocolate cookies or just more whipped cream. Some versions have cherries (and that of course would be a virgin sex in a pan). The one we served, as you know, was “unprotected” sex in a pan, as it fell on the floor before I served it to my still willing guest, V.!
          XOXXO

          I recall having it at a party once – it was pretty darned tasty.

          • That was a rhetorical question, but thank you for answering so thoroughly. Your first answer was good enough for me. Dang! Now I know why it’s called sex in a pan. Talk about foodgasm…lol.

  9. my sister loves to use duck egg in certain recipes, i shall let her check this post out. looks really good. thank you for sharing this

  10. I wonder if I can taste the difference if both are equally delicious.

  11. oh goodness, I would love to try both, oh goodness “sex in a pan” hilarious

    sweetlife

  12. What a fun experiment! I have never used duck eggs, but I do love creme brulee.

  13. I’ve been a reader of your blog since the summer and I quite enjoy it! I thought I would be a “lurker” no more… Interesting post. I love creme brulee but have never tried one with duck eggs. Keep up the good work :)

    • Jade: Thank you! Thank you for reading and for no longer “lurking”! I have met many lurkers and am so surprised every single time. Not because I don’t know people are reading my site. I do know that, and am grateful daily for that. But because they sometimes introduce themselves to me, as Christan did, and it is such an honour to meet a reader! Maybe one day in “real life”, but thank you. Tastings are such fun and really teach me a lot about the food, my own palate and my own vocabulary! :) :) I love tastings!

  14. Creme brule I have never done (I would be more likely to feed chickens and gather eggs than to be in the kitchen), however, sex in the pan mm mmmm mmmmm. One of my friends had a beYOND conservative mom-in-law, who one day came over for dinner and, in front of the elementary grade grandkids, loudly whispered (?) “I brought … sex in a p-a-n!”

    • Hilarious, Candace! Yes, we have had more than our fair share of giggles over the title, but the best was the night we dropped it on the floor… and you read what happened. So glad you have tried it! I thought more knew what it was!
      :)
      Valerie

  15. I will die for both Zabaglione and creme brulee. I would love to be able to make Zabaglione someday. I make creme bruelee with chicken eggs but never tried with duck eggs. Looks like you had lots of fun for the tasting:D

    • Hi, Quay!
      I must confess, I make both in my Thermomix. I can do the brulee by hand, but not the zabaglione! Only in my machine… that is why I sing its praises all too often!
      :)
      valerie

  16. hey Valerie,

    i’m back cause your comment on my blog reminded me to come back and find out what sex in a pan was….teehee. but more importantly, i wanted to drop by and say thank you so much for your kind and so very warm words on my last post. its so true though, your recipes and posts blow my mind away. i learn so much but yet am so intimidated to try. that’s why you’re so inspiring to me…you’re not afraid to learn and try. i do have a simple recipe to ask you for though. if you eat brussels sprouts, how do you make yours? i recently tried an olive oil and balsamic vinegar roasted brussels sprouts recipe and am now hooked on brussels sprouts. oh, that’s another thing about you that i love. you take simple recipes and know how to turn them into magical perfection. so brussels sprouts…any good recipe. please keep it simple…remember, it’s me you’re talking to…lol.

    • ps
      for some reason your comment went into my spam folder…i wonder why. YOU definitely do not belong in my spam folder.

      • LQ again: I find that too often my email from my @acanadianfoodie.com account finds its way into people’s junk mail or spam file. Grrr..!!

    • My dearest LQ!
      I often roast them with root vegetables… well, not often, but I love them like that. But, I do keep them so simple, you may not be so enthralled. I steam them until tender and eat with salt and pepper. That is truly it! Didn’t I see a recipe on Stella’s blog this week that had a comment: “If you have Brussels Sprouts you will love these!” I think it was her. I love them bright green and really fresh! Did you know there are purple ones, too? Do you know how they grow? Google images of them, and you will see. It is so interesting and they sell them like that at City Market in the summer.
      XO
      Valerie

      • Thanks so much for your recipe, Valerie! Yup yup, I saw Stella’s recipe, but I wanted to see what you do with them. You’re like a wizard in the kitchen and I have the highest respect for your cooking, that’s why I wanted to ask you. I want to know EVERY brussels sprouts recipe…teehee. Yup, I’m that obsessed. So cool about the purple ones! Must google now! Thank you again, dear! Hope you and Vanja are having a great week :-D. Hugs. By the way, are you feeling much better now?

        • LQ: We have to stop meeting this way!! I am not better. Might as well make it public. :) But, I believe in “will”, and I will myself to do everything that I must do and want to do every day. I WILL get it done!
          XO

  17. What a fun comparison. We love creme brulee and serve it often at dinner parties. If our guests haven’t had too much wine, we let them torch their own.

    I’ve never seen duck eggs at our supermarket, but I don’t live in a metropolitan area or near a gourmet shop. I guess I’m glad you couldn’t tell a big difference or my husband would be hunting for duck eggs everywhere.
    Sam

  18. Glad you did this. I’m not surprised the flavor is the same, and completely agree that the difference with duck eggs is a textural one – and with a dish like this where texture is key, yay for duck eggs.

  19. sounds like you had a blast at this party! well for me texture is important so I will prefer the duck eggs one. I wanted to buy duck eggs once so I asked the Thai lady at the Thai grocery store about the. ; she told me there was a baby duck inside and it had to be boiled and all kinds of gory details needless to say, I left the duck eggs with her. Curious about them now though.

    • Joumana: that sound like balut… not regular duck eggs… duck eggs are just like chicken eggs inside, except they are more gelatinous and come from a duck …. and are also twice the size.
      :)
      Valerie

  20. I love that you did this, Valerie because I LOVE duck eggs so much and find them so much creamier and just, well, richer than chicken eggs. What a surprise that no one could tell the differnce in the perfect dessert test, creme brulee. However, when I mentioned ‘creamier’ and ‘richer’ that does have more to do with feel than flavor, soooo, duck eggs ‘hold’ a bit longer in custardy preps. Kind of good news since duck eggs are more $$$ :) Thank you for doing this, Val!!

  21. I love creme brulee and have never thought to make it with duck eggs. I laughed at your sex a the pan jokes – I can’t help but make jokes everytime I make or eat sex in a pan too, and while reading I thought, well that sounds like some dirty sex in a pan (not to imply that your floor is dirty ;-)

    • Hey, Court!
      How are you?!! You got me laughing all over again! Yes, it is too bad that concoction is so good, isn’t it? Dirty, unprotected sex!!!
      :)
      Valerie

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