This epic holiday dish comes from Chef Don Drake of Magnolias Restaurant in Charleston, S.C.
Tip: make your batter the night before
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Combine the flour, salt, vanilla extract, Cheerwine syrup, eggs and milk in a high-speed blender. Blend on high until completely smoothed for about 1 minute.
Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat. Pour clarified butter or duck fat into the skillet and use a pastry brush to grease the sides of the pan. Heat the pan just until it starts to smoke. Sprinkle your apple slices into the pan and fry quickly for about 20 seconds. Carefully and quickly pour the batter into the hot skillet with the apples.
Place the skillet into the preheated oven on the center rack and cook for 20-25 minutes or until browned and nicely puffed. Carefully remove from the oven and brush the top with apple butter and lemon juice. Keep warm.
Prepare the rub: In a small hot skillet, quickly roast the spices — everything but the salt — until fragrant for about two minutes. Place the toasted spices in a spice grinder pulse a few times. Add the salt and mix well. Take the duck breasts and lay them out on a flat surface. Carefully cut a crisscross pattern on the skin side making sure to not cut too deep that it penetrates the breast meat. Rub each breast evenly with the spice rub on both sides. Put the breast on a flat rack and let sit in the refrigerator overnight uncovered. Bring to room temperature before cooking.
In a heavy-bottomed skillet large enough to comfortably hold the four-duck breast, place the duck breast fat-side down in the skillet. Over medium-low heat, cook the duck breast until the skin is well browned and crisp for about 15 minutes. Pour off the excess fat frequently and reserve for later use. Turn the duck breast over and continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer reads 125 degrees F. Remove the breast from the pan and allow to rest about 5 minutes before slicing.
To prepare the syrup, remove the Dutch Baby from the skillet and cut into 4 equal pieces and place on individual plates or bowls while keeping warm. Place the skillet back on the stove over medium heat, add 1½ tablespoons of duck fat and the shallots and sauté until softened for about 2 minutes. Whisk in the remaining ingredients and check for seasoning; keep warm.
To prepare the over-easy eggs, use the same pan and quickly wipe the pan with a paper towel to clean. Add 2 teaspoons of duck fat and quickly cook your eggs one per person.
To assemble the dish, toss the winter greens together, mixing well. Place a generous helping of salad on top of the Dutch baby. Place a sliced duck breast on top of your winter greens then top with an over-easy egg and drizzle with your spiced syrup to finish the dish.
Tip: Make your Dutch Baby batter and dry rub the duck breast the night before. The dish comes together quickly with that step complete.