The sauce for this succulent and crispy duck recipe is from The New York Times, January 19, 2005, but the method of cooking the duck comes from my own experimentation based on conversations with chefs on cruises we've taken. Since most of the work is done well before serving, this is perfect for an impressive dinner party.
Yield: 4 generous servings The ducks can be readied for roasting and the sauce can be prepared up to 24 hours before serving.
Quarter the ducks, remove any excess fat, and rub with a mixture of the shallot/pepper mixture, garlic, and ginger in a 1::1::1 ratio. Place the duck, skin side up, on a rack in a roasting pan (you'll probably need two pans for the eight quarters). Cover them with plastic wrap, sealing tightly, and put into the refrigerator until three hours before serving.
Peel, quarter, and core the apple. Put the onion and the apple in a food processor and finely chop. Put them into a saucepan with the blueberries, sugars, star anise, zests, and vinegar. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer until pulpy and beginning to thicken, about 30 minutes. After 20 minutes, the mixture will appear quite liquid, but after 30 minutes it will begin to thicken. When cool, it will be more of a sauce. Discard any whole star anise, pour the sauce into a sterilized jar, and cover tightly. If you are serving the duck within 24 hours, leave the sauce at room temperature; otherwise refrigerate.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Approximately 2 1/2 hours before serving, put the duck into the preheated oven. Keep an eye on the pans; you might need to empty some of the fat to avoid spillage. A half hour before serving, raise the temperature to 450°F. The duck should be crispy and tender when done. Serve each quarter with about 1/4 cup of sauce poured over. Serve extra sauce on the side. If you wish, you can remove the rib bones from the duck before serving.