Well, folks, you’ve asked for it, so here it is — Duff!
I have not had Duff in years! My step-grandmother, whom everyone affectionately calls “Aunt Betty,” is the only person I know who makes Duff. I’ve been wanting to post this recipe for some time but I wanted to get her exact instructions, and she was traveling for awhile. So I had to wait!
I watched Aunt Betty make Duff once when I was about 10 years old. I loved it some much that I even wanted to learn how to make it from way back then! Of course, I couldn’t remember anything from what she showed me, but I did remember that there was something special in the way she cooked the dough. I’ve seen other recipes that say to boil the dough, but that wasn’t the way I remembered her making it.
So, I waited for her to get back from the US and then visited her for an interview. Here is a picture of Aunt Betty that I took during my course in Duff-making.
Of course, most islanders don’t measure their ingredients, so I didn’t get the exact numbers from her. But luckily for me, my cousin Robin, who is also a lover of Duff, had already taken the time to write down Aunt Betty’s recipe years ago. She promised to “WhatsApp” it to me later in the day.
So here is our little collaboration and tribute to Aunt Betty and her Duff!
They say: “good things come to those who wait” and this was certainly worth the wait. It was every bit as delicious as I remember it!
Steps in Making Duff
First, locate your cooking vessels for the dough. You’ll need a large pot, a heat-resistant mixing bowl, and an aluminum can. The pot needs to be deep enough and wide enough to fit the height and diameter of your mixing bowl plus the height of the aluminum can. The pot I used was 9-1/2 inches deep x 10 inches in diameter. The stainless steel mixing bowl was 5 inches deep by 7-1/2 inches in diameter. And I used a can of sweetened-condensed-milk to rest the mixing bowl on. Keep reading and watch the video to see how.
Make the Dough
Mix flour, sugar, yeast, and salt then add oil and water. Knead by hand and shape to fit into the mixing bowl. Grease the mixing bowl, place the dough, and let rise for one hour.
The bowl has to be sprayed with cooking spray or buttered because this is what the dough will be cooked in as well.
Fill the pot about 1/3 of the way with water, then place the can in the center and bring the water to a boil. Once the dough has risen, place it in the pot and rest on top of the can. Then, cover and let cook for 45-minutes. Set a timer and DO NOT LIFT THE COVER until it’s done!
Now Make the Sauce
In a sauce pan, mix water, milk, evaporated milk, sweetened-condensed milk, and vanilla. Then bring these to a boil.
In a separate bowl beat three eggs, butter, and sugar.
Once the milk mixture is hot, pour very slowly into the egg-sugar-butter mixture while consistently whisking. This will gradually raise the temperature of the eggs and cook them without scrambling them.
After the dough is finished cooking, remove it from the mixing bowl and set aside to cool. Then, once the dough is cool enough to handle, slice it into squares and add to the warm sauce.
And here it is. Old-time Bay Island Duff!
See Recipe Video for Making Duff
Classic Duff recipe from the Bay Islands of Honduras.
- 4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 3 Tbs. Sugar
- 1 Tsp. Salt
- 1 Tbs. Oil Crisco
- 1-1/4 Tbs. Yeast
- 1 Cup Water Add as needed
- 14 0z Evaporated Milk
- 13.5 oz Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1.5 Cups Water
- 1 Cup Milk
- 2 Tsp. Vanilla
- 3 Eggs
- 2 Tbs. Butter
- 1 Cup Sugar
- Mix dry ingredients together.
- Add water and oil then knead them together.
- Grease the mixing bowl that you will cook the dough in.
- Place dough in the bowl and let rise for one hour.
- Prepare a pot with water and place a can in the center of the pot.
- Bring water to a boil.
- Once the dough has risen, place the mixing bowl with the dough on top of the can.
- Cover with a lid and cook the dough for 45 minutes.
- Prepare sauce:
- Mix water, evaporated milk, condensed milk, milk, and vanilla.
- Bring to a boil.
- In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, and butter.
- Very slowly add the hot milk mixture to the eggs or in other words temper the eggs.
- Once the dough is finished cooking set aside to cool.
- Slice into the desired shape and add to sauce.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
Don't open the lid on the pot until the dough is finished cooking. When making the sauce, pour the hot liquid slowly to temper the eggs. (Cooking them without scrambling them.) Duff is best when served warm!