A way with mayo: Cookbook uses Duke’s for recipes including stunning sweets

Duke's Confetti Cake was created for the classic condiment's 100th birthday, in 2017. Duke's mayonnaise is the invention of Eugenia Thomas Duke, a Columbus, Ga., native who used the sauce to make sandwiches for World War I soldiers. STYLING BY WENDELL BROCK / CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

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Duke's Confetti Cake was created for the classic condiment's 100th birthday, in 2017. Duke's mayonnaise is the invention of Eugenia Thomas Duke, a Columbus, Ga., native who used the sauce to make sandwiches for World War I soldiers. STYLING BY WENDELL BROCK / CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Duke’s mayonnaise is having a moment. Some might say it has been for some time.

A tangy condiment with a cult following, Duke’s was invented in 1917 by Columbus, Georgia, native Eugenia Duke. By then married and living in Greenville, South Carolina, the entrepreneurial home cook slathered her sauce onto sandwiches she sold to World War I soldiers training nearby. It wasn’t long before Duke’s smooth, luscious mayo eclipsed her pimento-cheese, egg-salad, and chicken-salad sandwiches in popularity — causing her to turn her coveted condiment into a separate business, which she sold to Richmond, Virginia-based C.F. Sauer Co. in 1929.

Today, Duke’s mayo is a super-condiment: It wears its red “smooth & creamy” ribbon on its label like a cape. It’s sold in 42 states, beloved by James Beard Award-winning chefs and everyday spreaders. Squishy white bread, juicy tomatoes, a hefty dab of Duke’s: It’s the holy trinity of the summertime tomato-sandwich.

Everybody has a favorite brand of mayo, be it Hellmann’s, Miracle Whip, Kraft. Legions are fanatical about Duke’s. One of them just wrote a cookbook on it.

“We stand firmly by our jar of Duke’s,” Ashley Strickland Freeman says of her region’s pride in Duke’s. Originally from Savannah, now a Charleston dweller, Freeman is the author of “The Duke’s Mayonnaise Cookbook: 75 Recipes Celebrating the Perfect Condiment,” newly out from Grand Central Publishing ($28).

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Ashley Strickland Freeman’s “The Duke’s Mayonnaise Cookbook” (Grand Central Publishing, $28) finds new uses for a condiment that's been around for more than 100 years.

Credit: Contributed

Ashley Strickland Freeman’s “The Duke’s Mayonnaise Cookbook” (Grand Central Publishing, $28) finds new uses for a condiment that's been around for more than 100 years.

Credit: Contributed

Combined ShapeCaption
Ashley Strickland Freeman’s “The Duke’s Mayonnaise Cookbook” (Grand Central Publishing, $28) finds new uses for a condiment that's been around for more than 100 years.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

In her love letter to a sauce, Freeman, 38, puts a personal twist on many of the usual savory suspects: BLTs; chicken salad; deviled eggs; tomato pie. Not surprisingly, Duke’s appears in many of her salads (German Potato Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette; Israeli Couscous and Broccoli Salad; New-School Waldorf Salad) and sandwiches (Buffalo Chicken Sliders with Blue Cheese Sauce; Pork Banh Mi with Spicy Mayo; Oyster Po’Boys with Creole Remoulade).

In what may come as a surprise to some, Freeman also makes the case that Duke’s is a smooth operator in waffles, crepes, and breakfast baked goods (Blueberry Streusel Muffins; Earl Grey Scones; Bananas Foster Bread With Browned Butter-Rum Glaze). And a dandy stand-in for butter or oil in fussier Sticky Toffee Puddings; Strawberry-Rhubarb Layer Cake; and Mom’s Apple Pie.

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Charleston-based Ashley Strickland Freeman is the author of “The Duke’s Mayonnaise Cookbook” (Grand Central Publishing, $28).

Credit: Contributed

Charleston-based Ashley Strickland Freeman is the author of “The Duke’s Mayonnaise Cookbook” (Grand Central Publishing, $28).

Credit: Contributed

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Charleston-based Ashley Strickland Freeman is the author of “The Duke’s Mayonnaise Cookbook” (Grand Central Publishing, $28).

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

“I love using it in baking,” Freeman said, praising Duke’s ability to ensure superior pie crusts in particular. “Duke’s is kind of like my buffer: It keeps the moisture in. It makes the crumb super tender.”

In her Blackberry and Peach Crisp (which can be modified to incorporate most any fruit), she summons Duke’s to bind the topping. While butter melts in the oven, Duke’s is just the thing to hold flour, brown sugar, oats and cinnamon in bite-size clumps. I tried it, and it’s a stellar crisp.

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In "The Duke's Mayonnaise Cookbook" (Grand Central Publishing, $28), Georgia native Ashley Strickland Freeman crafts a summer crisp from peaches and blackberries. "So many fruits would work in place of the peaches and blackberries here if they're in season," Freeman writes. "You can also use thawed frozen fruit if you'd like." We chose peaches and blueberries. Duke's mayo is used to bind the brown sugar-oatmeal topping. STYLING BY WENDELL BROCK / CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Credit: Chris Hunt

In "The Duke's Mayonnaise Cookbook" (Grand Central Publishing, $28), Georgia native Ashley Strickland Freeman crafts a summer crisp from peaches and blackberries. "So many fruits would work in place of the peaches and blackberries here if they're in season," Freeman writes. "You can also use thawed frozen fruit if you'd like." We chose peaches and blueberries. Duke's mayo is used to bind the brown sugar-oatmeal topping. STYLING BY WENDELL BROCK / CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Credit: Chris Hunt

Combined ShapeCaption
In "The Duke's Mayonnaise Cookbook" (Grand Central Publishing, $28), Georgia native Ashley Strickland Freeman crafts a summer crisp from peaches and blackberries. "So many fruits would work in place of the peaches and blackberries here if they're in season," Freeman writes. "You can also use thawed frozen fruit if you'd like." We chose peaches and blueberries. Duke's mayo is used to bind the brown sugar-oatmeal topping. STYLING BY WENDELL BROCK / CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

I have to admit I grew up thinking mayo was suitable only for cold foods. When somebody told me to try it in mashed potatoes, I blanched. Hot mayo? I don’t think so. Slather it on the outside of grilled cheese? No way.

In fact, boiled potatoes will only absorb so much milk and butter. After that, a dollop or two of utilitarian mayo is ideal for pulling the spuds together. When griddling sandwiches, butter can burn quickly. Mayo, on the other hand, has longevity in the skillet, evincing a wonderful golden-brown sheen that’s not too greasy to the touch.

Atlanta chef Todd Ginsberg — who relies on Duke’s for innumerable dishes at the General Muir, Fred’s Meat & Bread, and Wood’s Chapel BBQ — says the brand is as much about emotion as flavor. “I want to taste the same thing that people have been tasting on their tomato and white bread sandwiches for decades,” he says. “It’s got a really, really solid good flavor, and it’s just nostalgia, part of representing yourself in the South.”

RECIPES

Here are three sweet treats to make with mayo: doughnuts, an easy fruit crisp and a show-stopping confetti cake. If you’re looking for savory applications, Ashley Strickland Freeman’s “The Duke’s Mayonnaise Cookbook” is a terrific resource, as is the recipe database on the Duke’s website.

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In "The Duke's Mayonnaise Cookbook" (Grand Central Publishing, $28), Georgia native Ashley Strickland Freeman crafts a summer crisp from peaches and blackberries, but she's flexible about which fruits you can use. We chose peaches and blueberries. Duke's mayo is used to bind the brown sugar-oatmeal topping. STYLING BY WENDELL BROCK / CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Credit: Chris Hunt

In "The Duke's Mayonnaise Cookbook" (Grand Central Publishing, $28), Georgia native Ashley Strickland Freeman crafts a summer crisp from peaches and blackberries, but she's flexible about which fruits you can use. We chose peaches and blueberries. Duke's mayo is used to bind the brown sugar-oatmeal topping. STYLING BY WENDELL BROCK / CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Credit: Chris Hunt

Combined ShapeCaption
In "The Duke's Mayonnaise Cookbook" (Grand Central Publishing, $28), Georgia native Ashley Strickland Freeman crafts a summer crisp from peaches and blackberries, but she's flexible about which fruits you can use. We chose peaches and blueberries. Duke's mayo is used to bind the brown sugar-oatmeal topping. STYLING BY WENDELL BROCK / CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Blackberry and Peach Crisp

“A lot of my friends who don’t cook have made this, and they love it,” says author Ashley Strickland Freeman. Feel free to improvise on the fruit; we paired Georgia peaches and blueberries. As Freeman points out, you may also use thawed frozen fruit.

Blackberry and Peach Crisp
  • For the topping:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup Duke’s mayonnaise (or other mayo of choice)
  • For the filling:
  • 3 cups fresh blackberries (I used blueberries)
  • 3 large peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Vanilla ice cream (optional)
  • To make the topping: Stir together the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and mayo in a medium bowl. Squeeze the mixture to create large clumps.
  • To make the crisp: Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Toss together the berries, peaches, lemon juice, sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Transfer to a large ovenproof skillet or 2-quart baking dish. Spread topping (leaving in clumps) evenly over the fruit.
  • Bake the crisp at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until the topping is browned and the fruit mixture is bubbly. Serve warm with ice cream, if desired. Serves 6-8.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving, based on 6: 382 calories (percent of calories from fat, 18), 6 grams protein, 75 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams fiber, 8 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 6 milligrams cholesterol, 201 milligrams sodium.

Adapted from “The Duke’s Mayonnaise Cookbook: 75 Recipes Celebrating the Perfect Condiment” by Ashley Strickland Freeman (Grand Central Publishing, $28)

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Duke's Confetti Cake was created for the classic condiment's 100th birthday, in 2017, but you can whip it up for any occasion that could use a colorful touch. STYLING BY WENDELL BROCK / CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Credit: Chris Hunt

Duke's Confetti Cake was created for the classic condiment's 100th birthday, in 2017, but you can whip it up for any occasion that could use a colorful touch. STYLING BY WENDELL BROCK / CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Credit: Chris Hunt

Combined ShapeCaption
Duke's Confetti Cake was created for the classic condiment's 100th birthday, in 2017, but you can whip it up for any occasion that could use a colorful touch. STYLING BY WENDELL BROCK / CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Duke’s 100th Birthday Confetti Cake

This festive, two-layer cake was created for the classic condiment’s centennial, in 2017. It makes for a marvelous special occasion show-stopper, especially if you top if off with scads of sparkly sprinkles. That said, the rich creamy frosting is very good without the sugary crunch.

Duke’s 100th Birthday Confetti Cake
  • For the cake:
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup Duke’s mayonnaise (or other mayo of choice)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles, plus more for (optional) garnish
  • For the frosting:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 6-8 tablespoons milk or cream
  • To make the cake: Grease and flour 2 round cake pans.
  • Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl; set aside.
  • Beat sugar, mayonnaise, eggs and vanilla together in a large bowl until thoroughly blended. While beating on low, add half the flour mixture, then half the milk, repeating until completely combined. Gently stir in sprinkles by hand.
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Divide batter evenly into prepared pans.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and continue to cool completely before frosting.
  • To make the frosting: Beat together butter, shortening, vanilla and sugar. Add milk slowly, continuing to beat until desired texture is reached. Place a layer on a plate or cake stand. Spread with frosting. Top with another layer, and frost the cake completely. Decorate the cake with additional sprinkles if desired. Serves 10-12.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving, based on 10: 718 calories (percent of calories from fat, 32), 5 grams protein, 117 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 26 grams total fat (10 grams saturated), 68 milligrams cholesterol, 538 milligrams sodium.

Adapted from Duke’s website.

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Ashley Strickland Freeman's Old-Fashioned Doughnuts with Mixed-Berry Glaze require mayo for the batter. These are soft and crumbly cake doughnuts, not the light and puffy yeast version, a wonderful treat with coffee. The recipe is included in Freeman's "The Duke's Mayonnaise Cookbook" (Grand Central Publishing, $28). STYLING BY WENDELL BROCK / CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Credit: Chris Hunt

Ashley Strickland Freeman's Old-Fashioned Doughnuts with Mixed-Berry Glaze require mayo for the batter. These are soft and crumbly cake doughnuts, not the light and puffy yeast version, a wonderful treat with coffee. The recipe is included in Freeman's "The Duke's Mayonnaise Cookbook" (Grand Central Publishing, $28). STYLING BY WENDELL BROCK / CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Credit: Chris Hunt

Combined ShapeCaption
Ashley Strickland Freeman's Old-Fashioned Doughnuts with Mixed-Berry Glaze require mayo for the batter. These are soft and crumbly cake doughnuts, not the light and puffy yeast version, a wonderful treat with coffee. The recipe is included in Freeman's "The Duke's Mayonnaise Cookbook" (Grand Central Publishing, $28). STYLING BY WENDELL BROCK / CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS HUNT PHOTOGRAPHY

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Old-Fashioned Doughnuts with Mixed-Berry Glaze

Mayo gives cakes a soft, tender crumb, so why not use it in homey cake doughnuts? These sugar bombs are a delight with a cup of coffee or glass of milk.

Old-Fashioned Doughnuts with Mixed-Berry Glaze
  • For the glaze:
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup salted butter, melted
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • For the doughnuts:
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup Duke’s mayonnaise
  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Sprinkles (optional)
  • To make the glaze: Bring the berries, lemon juice and granulated sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Simmer for 5-8 minutes, until the berries release their juices and the mixture becomes syrupy. Strain the berries to remove seeds if desired, pressing the berries with the back of a spoon to release as much juice as possible.
  • Add the butter and enough powdered sugar to make the glaze a good dipping consistency, stirring until smooth. (Depending on how much berry syrup you end up with, you may need to add a little water to dilute the powdered sugar.)
  • To make the doughnuts: Beat the egg, granulated sugar and mayonnaise in the bowl of a heavy stand mixer until creamy.
  • Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat in the vanilla.
  • Pour oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches in a large Dutch oven.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Dust the dough with flour and roll out to a 1/2-inch thickness. Using a floured 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter, cut the dough into doughnuts and doughnut holes, coating the cutter with flour after each cut and rerolling the dough as needed. (If you don’t have a doughnut cutter, use a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut out rounds, then use a 1-inch biscuit cutter to cut holes out of the centers.)
  • Heat oil to 350 degrees over medium-high heat. Fry the doughnuts and holes, in batches, for 2 to 3 minutes, turning occasionally to brown evenly. Drain on paper towels. Dip in the glaze, sprinkle with sprinkles, if desired, and let harden on a wire rack. Makes about 14 doughnuts and doughnut holes.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per doughnut: 289 calories (percent of calories from fat, 31), 3 grams protein, 47 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 10 grams total fat (3 grams saturated), 19 milligrams cholesterol, 120 milligrams sodium.

Adapted from “The Duke’s Mayonnaise Cookbook: 75 Recipes Celebrating the Perfect Condiment” by Ashley Strickland Freeman (Grand Central Publishing, $28).

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